My name is Danielle and I am a *recovering* hoarder.
My instincts tell me to keep everything.
I wish I were exaggerating. Really, I do. But my mind is a weird place where everything could possibly be used in a future craft project or something along those lines. I save magazines I’ll probably never read, clothes with broken zippers that I have convinced myself I’ll eventually fix (when we all know I will never get around to it) and boxes of old photos I’ll never look through. I have a bin of things ‘to sell on ebay’ that I’ve been meaning to list for years but probably never will, a bin of things that will *maybe* be future gifts for people, a bin of old Halloween costumes that will never fit me again. Why do I have this massive collection of junk? Because I’m terrified that as soon as I throw something away, I’ll need it.
I’ve joked with my mother that it stems from growing up ‘poor’.
We always wanted more things and when we couldn’t have them, we had to learn to use our imagination. We turned trash into projects. An old Band-Aid tin wrapped in construction paper was now Barbie’s hamper. That little white doodad that comes in a pizza box to stop the lid from touching the cheese became her nightstand (after being washed of course). That ripped shirt became Barbie’s blanket. Okay, I admit it- I was clearly OBSESSED with Barbies! Well, actually, I was obsessed with Theresa, Barbie’s brunette friend, but I digress.
The point is, if my siblings and I wanted a new toy or decoration or anything, my mom helped us figure out ways to make it or something like it. We got crafty and reused everything! So it’s half that repurposing mentality and half just wanting more than I have. That’s what leads me to hold onto everything, convinced that having it will make me feel better and that throwing it away will fill me with regret.
Do you want to know what the reality of the situation is? Chaos.
I have so much crap, that I don’t even know what I have. That’s another side affect of being a hoarder: confusion. Half of the time, I’ll want to do a craft and not remember if I saved that item or not and won’t have the slightest idea of where to look for it. I have a big house and yet no space, because there are knickknacks and collected things everywhere. I’ve even tried to convince myself if I just get a bunch of bins to put it all in, that it will be okay. That mirage of organization will make it better. Really, it’s just a different kind of mess that will sit for years because I won’t know which bin to look in. I’m left feeling overwhelmed and stressed each day and I never get around to finishing those ‘projects’.
This is no way to run a business or a home.
It’s no way to run your life. I recently sat through a seminar where it was explained that when your home or office or space is messy or cluttered, so is your brain. I found it fascinating and started doing some additional reading and pretty much everything I found told me the same thing: your mental health is 100% affected by your surroundings. We already have so much to deal with; why add on unnecessary negativity?
I’m going to challenge you to do something.
Don’t worry- I’m going to be challenging myself with this too and hopefully it won’t be too hard. Stop being a hoarder and throw some shit out. Yep, that’s it. So simple, but it will make a huge impact on your life! I started this little challenge about a month ago. I picked a room, realized that was too broad, and narrowed it down to a corner of that room. Then I pull out a big black trash bag and a box marked ‘donate’, and I got to work. I’ve started doing this at least once a week, switching to a new corner and then eventually a new room each time.
One day, I found a box I had never unpacked when we moved. It sat there for over a year and a half, never opened. Clearly, I didn’t need what was inside because I buried it and never noticed. I threw the whole damn thing away and I felt lighter. I found another small box filled with about 50 heavy metal pens that DID. NOT. WORK. Why did I have these? I honestly have no idea! But that box has been taking up room in my workspace for the last three houses I’ve lived in which is actually insane, so into the trash it went. The donate box rarely gets used, but I always fill those trash bags.
I’ve been getting rid of so much lately and I don’t find myself missing any of it.
From clothes to bottles and boxes and notebooks, photos and frames and old paintings that have been in a pile against the wall… Did I really need an entire cabinet full of vases when I rarely even have flowers in my house? Did we really need to have over twenty mugs when it’s just two of us and a baby? No. Not at all. But did we? Yes! Because I have always wanted ALL OF THE THINGS.
But having more didn’t bring me joy.
It brought me more things to collect dust. More things to take up room in my already cluttered house. When your space is messy, your brain is messy. And so, I’m challenging you to clean up the mess. Put on a fun playlist, get yourself a trash bag and fill it up. Put that crap out on the curb where it belongs and then do a little dance to celebrate, because you deserve it for taking the initiative to make your life a little easier.
Oh, and the stuff you are keeping? Organize it! No more shoving it in the closet or under the bed so that you don’t have to look at it or think about it. No more piles of things to get to eventually. Everything should have a place and if it isn’t serving a purpose, then that place is in the trash. When you’ve had a long day and you finally get to sit on the couch and relax, you don’t want to be staring at a mess or thinking about that pile of junk mail on the counter or wondering where the remote is.
A clean space means less anxiety, more room to breathe and allows you to feel at peace.
You get to take control of your space and focus on what’s important to you. When things are organized instead of cluttered, you can find things and clean up quicker which means more time for you to relax or spend time with your family or whatever else you’d rather be doing! You also get a small boost of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment and pride as a bonus!
It might sound like a bunch of hooey, but give it a try. I’ve only just started and I really do feel so much better. I am so excited to keep going and make my home somewhere that I really love being.
So join me- let’s take out the trash!
I mentioned that everything should have a place. Boxes, bags and labels help! I just got some boxes from IKEA (I’m not affiliated in any way, they were just on sale so I grabbed them) but I’m sure different boxes will work for different people. These are cute, stackable and have a spot for labels! I also use zipper bags for things that are more of a grab-and-go. For instance, a travel first-aid kit and a pencil case for on-the-go journaling. I also have one stashed in my bathroom closet that has a spare toothbrush for each of us, travel size deodorant, dry shampoo, toothpaste and floss for when we’re spending the night out. In my opinion, things should be easy and this way I don’t have to take the time to pack this stuff before going out. I make my own bags because I enjoy making them and the fun prints I get to use. I liked the bags so much that I started selling them on my etsy. Check them out here!