It seems that I, uh, have a lot of stuff. It is hard for me to see this as a problem since I can get rid of things – I certainly don’t need 3 VCRs. (Though if you come for my remaining long floral skirt from 1996 I may bite. That is off limits.) I live alone in a 2 bedroom duplex with a storage room in the garage. I have space and am not living among piles of garbage or hoarding animals. If I was moving overseas or downsizing to a studio, there is a lot that would need to go.
Maybe I am too close to the trees to see the whole forest, but it has been brought to my attention several times across Twitter that my belongings could be labeled as excessive. I hold onto things. If I get a new pair of mittens, I do not toss my old, still usable pair. This is how I end up with 10 pairs of mittens. Do you know what has been the biggest kick in my ass regarding this? Seeing it through the eyes of someone new. Someone who took one look at my spare bedroom (granted at the time full of piles from cleaning out my Grandma’s condo and bags full of purchased Christmas presents) and said I had a lot of stuff. I do. I own a ridiculous number of DVDs (though contained to 1 bookcase and alphabetized), I still enjoy owning physical copies of music that I purchase at a record store, (say it with me) and beloved paper books will always be superior to my kindle. My mail is often piled up, and recycling can have a tendency to form a balancing pyramid until I stop being so lazy.
At the time of this astute observation, I had yet to see where he was coming from (3 cheers for a guy who took on the 30-minute commute for every date for weeks on end.) Despite a 3-bedroom house, owning 25+ pairs of jeans, and having a VCR in the closet, he really has minimal possessions in comparison. I also have far cheaper/warped particle board/open storage for all my media and knick-knacks, whereas he has solid wood (ahem, adult) furniture with drawers and doors further adding to the illusion of minimalism. (though certainly something to be said about easier dusting that way) What really hit me in the gut about all this is that he made a joke about calling a hoarding TV show for me when he had never seen what I do consider shameful: my garage storage.
My garage storage room is about 6×10 feet and is filled with rubbermaid bins. Most are opaque yet I can tell you what is in every single one. Holiday decorations, old towels, canning supplies, sports equipment, and electrical cords and such. Normal storage stuff. This is where the shame begins.
- Bins with computer stuff. Like a desktop computer and 2 laptops. Non-functioning, obsolete ones. Mostly built by my brother, who died in 2009.
- Camping/yardwork clothes, despite not camping once this summer (nor am I responsible for any yard work at my current house), I still have a bin of clothes that I don’t care about (or are quick-dry/adventure clothes from backpacking days), just in case.
- A bin of sentimental t-shirts, with hopes of someday making a quilt (6 years and counting, no quilt has been started.)
- College textbooks, mostly early childhood development.
- Awesome rolling litter box for brother’s cat that hasn’t lived with me for 4 years (my old house setup needed 2 litter boxes, one was sent on with the cat, one remains, WHY? I held onto it in the beginning thinking there was a good chance the cat would end up back with me.)
- Shower games for bridal and baby showers – seems there was a 5-year period where I feel like I did the games for showers every couple months so I have lots of supplies that feel like an investment. Clipboards and folders and such would serve a better purpose being USED somewhere else.
- Childhood stuffed animals. I know that having them in a bin does not give them importance/love. I have parted with 3/4ths of them, but about a few special ones remain. Is this why people have children so that they can justify holding on to such things? Almost seems worth it. (or maybe every one else gets to keep these things at their parents’ houses?)
I know there is more (several bins more since I didn’t even touch on all my kitchen stuff that doesn’t fit in my kitchen) and that it is unnecessary to keep all this stuff. I think what really makes me hang my head and admit I struggle to let things go is that I moved all this stuff to this place. I have joked for years that I would fly Jen out as a lifecoach to help me if I ever had to move again. I’m not really joking. Well unless I get to live somewhere with a big enough kitchen for all my delightful tupperware and baking supplies. Then all bets are off.