I had a come-to-Jesus sort of thing happen this week… I was all hyped up on coffee drank too late in the day trying to wind down from a fabulous visit with my parents flipping channels when I saw “Hoarders” on the channel guide and remembered one of my new blogging friends talking about it on Facebook. I decided to check it out. An hour later – after 1:00 AM – I tore myself away and looked around at my house… with disgust.
Now before you go and picture my place being as bad as anything you might see on the show, stop. Am I a neat freak? No. (That’s my hubby’s job!) But I am sentimental with a touch of pack rat. My mind always thinks “what if I need that someday” or “I’ll want to look back on that someday” when it comes to throwing things out. Plus, (and probably fundamentally more importantly) I’m a recycling fanatic who thinks our society is driven far too much by our obsessive need to consume. Which means I like to be smart about what I put in the landfill or toss away just because it is inconvenient to store it until the next time I need to use it. I am also a realist who works a full-time job, has an eight-year-old who doesn’t know how to pick up after herself (we’re working on that!) and doesn’t think it is a bad thing to have a house that reflects that we actually – you know – LIVE in it.
So basically there’s clutter…
That is all going to change because of ONE episode I saw of Hoarders! Yesterday I barely touched my computer, neglected Facebook (probably should do that more often anyway!) and started to de-clutter. I am an NPR supporter and my local radio station gives free magazine subscriptions when you become a supporting member. I’ve been getting Newsweek for a couple of years now… on top of Sunset and Good Housekeeping and Real Estate magazines and HP’s Connections… you get the idea. I had all these great visions about how well-read on current affairs I would be with Newsweek but the reality is that I barely have time to read books outside of book club or the magazines I get because they relate to my jobs let alone a weekly magazine! But, did I throw them out? No, they accumulate in a pile in a corner of my living room. Once in a while the pile gets really huge and I go through them and if the cover is really old news I throw them out. Yesterday I threw them ALL out including the ones I rarely ever read for work! Okay, I saved about four because there were articles I actually wanted to read. It was liberating! (And by throw them out I mean I put them in the recycle bin for pickup, of course.)
I look around and everywhere I find something that really could be tossed… like how long has it been since I did any scrapbooking so why am I saving all the movie ticket stubs in that one drawer? Let it be known we watch a TON of movies and leave it at that. In twenty years who will care what the exact date was that we took our eight-year old to see Percy Jackson (the first one) or that it was the first movie ever for our newborn? Yep, no one! And after three years of school for my daughter have I once ever wanted to go back and look at the daily school work and mounds of paper that I sentimentally have saved? Nope! So recycle bin here we come! And that basket of spent batteries I can’t bring myself to just throw in the garbage headed for the landfill so there can be more mercury in our soil and water supplies? Either I will find a place that will recycle them or I’ll just toss them. Well… I’ll hint to the hubby that they need to be tossed and let nature take it’s course is more accurate.
I don’t know how long this might last before I run out of steam but when I do I’ll just watch another episode and start all over again!