Expunge and Purge

Hoarder-Room

This is not a picture of my home but it looked close to this. Not quite this bad. I didn’t keep garbage of any type. It was just a lot of things that I thought had value. I was also different from other hoarders because I did keep my home sanitary. It was dusty.

Since I am not able to do much housework I am going through drawers and cupboards and closets and getting rid of crap. As a recovering (recovered?) hoarder I really have to keep in top of what I bring into my home. I do not speak lightly when I say that I used to hoard. When I lived in my condo (it was just under 1000 feet) there was a time when I could not go into my living room for a year and my kids and I had to sleep in the master bedroom because the second bedroom was full of shit. There were two bathrooms but we could only use one because the other was full. It was a dark and lonely time in my life. At one point I didn’t have anyone over from over 3 years. There were trails to and from the beds. Down the hall, etc. I never, ever opened the blinds. There was a long recovery in there. A lot of depression but I worked my way out of the chaos of both my inner and outer life. All I started with was a box by the back door and as I came across things I knew I could get rid of I put in in the box then took it away when it was full. There were times when my dad came over with his truck for the times I was feeling especially keen and he would help. The thing with living as a hoarder in a condo is the other tenants watch you and if you take too much to the garbage bin at one time or put too many boxes in your car you get noticed and a notice. It was really hard. That was about 13 years ago and I am pretty much the opposite now. I rarely buy stuff. I do have a problem with books but I keep them managed to two large bookcases, about 400 books. My wardrobe is very small and if I bring in a new item I get rid of an item.

Today I was feeling especially antsy and I had been looking for a hairbrush that I thought my daughter had taken. She insisted that she had not taken it so I looked under the bathroom counter and there is was. I also pulled out old expired toiletries and lotions. And used toothbrushes and tubes of this and that. From there I went to the hall closet and got rid more crap. Then under the kitchen counter. Not a whole lot there but I did organize and added three bottles of dish soap into one. Then I looked in my dresser and gave away a nightie and two barely used bathing suits to charity. And since I was on a roll I checked and purged a small cabinet in the bedroom. I tried to do a shelf in the closet but can’t reach above my head yet. Then I cleaned out my nightstand and put aside some old medications to take to the pharmacy to dispose of. In all I probably got rid of 75 small items. Some garbage. A lot of paper and recyclables. The biggest item was the bathing suits so it wasn’t a lot of volume, just bits of this and that. For me, it can become unmanageable really fast.

I really have to watch but I don’t think I will ever start hoarding again but I know I am at risk. I love “things”.  The thing with things is they don’t bring any happiness for more than a few days. Most of the time these trinkets and bits and bobbles just sit and get dusty. Not that I am thing-free. I still have treasures that I love! I have this silly ceramic frog by my kitchen sink that is used for scrubbers. It has eyelashes and was made by my auntie. I have lots of little gifts that were given in love. (It isn’t often I get rid of gifts. Thank goodness I don’t get a lot of them! Gifts from bloggers are some of my favourites. I have shells and hand made cards and magnets and a hand painted pillow covering to name a few.)  I also keep trinkets that my kids made when they were little and gifts that they have given me now that they are older. My husband, brother and sister have given me some of my choicest possessions. And I do come across things that I simply must have! So I am not without things around me to feed my soul. I just guard carefully my heart from wanting things that don’t serve a purpose. There was a time when I would go into thrift stores (a hoarder heaven!) and just buy things all willy-nilly. Now I only go if I actually need something that I don’t want to pay full price for.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a recovering hoarder post. I was just rambling about what I did today and it turned into that.

Oh. And  I did two loads of laundry that are now hanging on the line because I forgot to bring them in. No matter, I can’t lift the baskets anyone. My husband will do it in the morning.

14 thoughts on “Expunge and Purge

  1. For someone who is off work unwell and in pain you did a LOT.
    Well done.
    And I really, really need to do a more concentrated purge here.
    And I am not going to admit how many book cases and books I have.

  2. Shouldn’t you be taking it easy? I guess you have to do something to keep sane but dang girl you are putting me to shame. I have no excuse and I only managed to get rid of a fan we don’t like, a box for the iron and a couple of my daughter’s old pants. It all went out the door though so I guess that’s good. I need to get rid of way more stuff and your post inspired me to do some more tomorrow. The bathroom is next and I’m getting rid of all those sample size things we never use.

  3. I grew up in a too-small house so too many things has always made me feel crowded and cramped and claustrophobic. I occasionally watch Hoarders and it literally makes me clean closets the next day. I like space.
    You are a Memory Keeper. My MIL was too, she treasured gifts and never threw anything out, but she also liked space, so she just built bigger houses.

  4. Kudos to you for getting your hoarding in hand and for the bits you’re able to do now. I hope you are feeling better day by day. I work at keeping things down to a minimum in my house, too, though for different reasons and I’ve had several gifts from bloggers that I treasure as well.

  5. Purging feels great!
    I find that physical tasks are easier than mental ones when I’m depressed. And the clearing stuff or lawn mowing or whatever improves my mood.

  6. I am amazed that you have come so far in hoarder recovery! You never hear of anyone actually doing that! You’re just an amazing person, Birdie. You really are. I hope you know that.

  7. David took three large black trash bags full of my old clothes and shoes I only wore once because I can’t wear heels anymore. (falling problems with my MS) I have yet to go through the closet shelves of things that are still in there that his ex-wife never took with her and that he doesn’t want to touch. There is so much crap in our closets! Hope you aren’t over-doing it darlin. Please don’t hurt yourself worse than you are now.

  8. I would probably suffocate in a house with too many things. I grew up in a very tiny home (there were five of us) and I feel like I can’t breathe when there is an overload of stuff around. I do regular cleanups to get rid of things, most of which goes to charity. My claustrophobic reaction to clutter has probably furnished many homes 🙂 As a matter of fact, a truck showed up this morning to pick up two garbage bags and 8 boxes full of things. I will sleep soundly tonight!

  9. Oh Birdie, I can relate to this. I am a border line hoarder. My husband was as well. At least his hoarding was done outside but mine is inside. I have managed to avoid yard sales and garage sales and my sweet daughter reduces any clutter any time she visits. I pray it never gets out of my reach but the day it will is just a hairs breath away. I am so proud of what you have been able to do on your own.

  10. Good for you, I’ve never hoarded but I do consider myself to have “packrat” in my blood 🙂 Keep feeling better 🙂

  11. Cool beans on getting stuff sorted. And congrats on all the work you did to not hoard anymore. That is remarkable. Good on you.

    PS: I laughed at the holes in the coffin.

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