Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Good Decisions and All.

For years the back porch has been filled to overflowing. In fact, there have been varying degrees of full since we bought the house 18 years ago. It has seen many things come and go over the years, but it's always been pretty packed . At one point we actually tried to tarp it off, so the things on it wouldn't be ruined by the weather, and so it wasn't as much of an eyesore for the neighbors, but the wind and the sun destroyed the tarps, and we had a mess. 

A few years ago when we started working on cleaning up the backyard, we actually had the entire porch cleaned off. Ok. Maybe not completely, but it was close. We still had a stack of chairs, and a big metal footlocker that Hubster had used in his work truck for years, but for the most part it was clean. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way. It didn't take long for it to be filled with overflow when we tried to clean out the garage. (I did, however, get rid of the stack of chairs several months ago, and the footlocker went a few weeks ago. Yay me!)

I'd hired a neighbor kid to help me with it, but it was more than he could handle. Heck, I couldn't even handle things. Frank has helped me with it here and there, but he really isn't into working much, so it's been very hit and miss. Awhile back, I asked Atticus, if he was interested in earning some money and helping me to dehoard. He's between jobs, so it was a good fit. He also grew up with hoarding parents, so he's familiar with the mindset, and he's been a huge encouragement without pushing me to make decisions I'm not quite ready to  make. As a result, we've made huge progress! 

We finished cleaning the back porch off completely a few weeks ago. It's since been somewhat filled with other things, but it's because we're using it as a staging area. In one area, I've got the things I'm selling, in another there are things I'm keeping, and in another area I keep the stuff that's being donated. It's been nice, because as I go through things in the garage, Atticus can take them to the appropriate place on the porch, and I can deal with it further from there. 

I've sold a few things and donated a bit, but by and large I've either given things away or thrown them out with the trash each week. I've been able to get rid of things that I've hung onto for years with relative ease, and when I struggle to get rid of something and finally  make the choice, Atticus chimes in with, "Good decision!" It's encouraging. 

One of the big decisions I made last week was to get rid of papers I've held onto since I was in high school close to 40 years ago. I took classes in architecture and drafting back then. I liked it well enough, but I wasn't quite suited to it. I struggled to get the perspective perfect in spite of the tools I had at my disposal to draw them correctly. I just couldn't get it quite right. In a weak moment my junior year of high school, I cheated. I took another student's drawing, (with his permission), and I turned it in as my own. I was found out, and I ended up with a poor grade. I don't recall, if I got an incomplete in the class, or if I only got an F on that paper. It's been a long time ago, and a lot has happened in my life since then, so the details are blurry, but it has hung like a millstone around my neck all these years. 

I'm ashamed that I was so weak as to think that cheating was an option just because I was overwhelmed and I had a looming deadline. I'm not proud of myself for that. I think it's one of the reasons I've hung onto the blueprints all these years. I wanted to punish myself for my failure, because I didn't deserve to forgive myself. How could I forgive myself for such a moral failure? As a result, I've paid for that single moment of cheating many, many times over the years. 

Last week, I went page by page through the blueprints, as I told the story to Atticus. As hard as it was to admit, it was so freeing. I was able to forgive myself, to put the past in the past, and to move in to the future. 

Good decisions. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Relentless.

I've never been great at making New Year's resolutions. I mean I've had good intentions and thought about making them, but it just didn't make sense for me to make resolutions for specific goals I had in mind. Life in our house isn't necessarily conducive to keeping a list of  individual goals in the forefront of my mind. Too many things/illnesses/surgeries/doctors' appointments/etc. eventually nudge out any thought of resolutions, and things go back to they way they always are before too long. While I do consider what I would like to change the following year, I don't write it down and don't make a commitment that I can't keep. I don't need the extra pressure. I've got enough pressure without adding an extra helping, because it's tradition.

Last week, a friend asked me, if I'd ever chosen a word to represent a year instead of resolutions. I hadn't , but I was intrigued. My thoughts over the last several days have continually drifted to her question. I really like the concept of a single word to represent the whole year to call on for motivation. It's a lot easier to remember a single word than it is a long list of things you want to change. I like that I can have one word represent how I want to tackle things in my life. 

So for 2019, I've chosen the word 'Relentless'. 

I will be relentless in my quest to tackle the hoard and continue to make good decisions to get rid of things. I will be relentless in my pursuit of personal growth. I will be relentlessly loving my family. 

These I can do. They might not look like a specific goal on a piece of paper, but I will accomplish much, and I will be able to motivate myself with a single word. 

I. Will. Be. Relentless.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place.

A few years ago, we got a new shed to use as a workshop for when we're doing outdoor projects, and so we'd have a place to store garden stuff, Christmas decorations, and the like. But as is the case with hoarding, it got filled. It wasn't packed to the gills, but it was too full of stuff that we weren't sure where to put. But we want to actually use the shed for its intended purposes.

Enter Atticus.

He came over both yesterday and today and worked in the shed for us. We need to get the shed organized, so we can put things away where they need to go, as we empty out the garage and clean off the porch. It may seem silly that we're starting with the porch in order to finish the garage, but I firmly believe that this is going to make the whole process easier.

The shed is 10x12, and it has 3 metal storage cabinets When we had it built, we'd put all 3 of them in a line along the long side of the shed, but I realized that we'd have more space, if we put them at the back of the shed along the short wall, but in order to do it, Atticus had to empty the shed. He didn't have to take everything out of the cabinets or off the workbench, but he did need to remove everything from the floor, so he'd have the space to rearrange the cabinets. Sure enough, moving the cabinets around gave us more usable floor space, and it's going to make quite the difference.

Once he'd moved things around, he got the Christmas lawn ornaments out of the shed and spent a couple of hours helping to put the Nativity on the lawn. It's such a relief to have the decorations up already. I mean we usually try to put them up the day after Thanksgiving, but we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. We had to delay our celebration due to illness, but I still needed to try to get some things done. And getting the decorations out is huge. It takes way more time than it seems like it should, but the girls are alway so happy once it's up! I'm incredibly thankful for the help!

When Atticus came by again today, I worked out in the shed for a couple of hours with him. We got a lot accomplished. I got rid of roughly 20 gallon buckets of paint, three 2 gallon buckets, about 18 quarts, at least 2 dozen cans of spray paint along with several bottles of automotive chemicals and a chainsaw. Not only did I make a lot of space in the shed, but I was able to clear my head. I was able to release all the unfinished projects that the paint and chainsaw represented, and instead of feeling a loss, I felt nothing but peace.

I'm anxious to get the shed fully organized, so as I run across tools in the garage, they'll each have their own place.

Their. Own. Place.

Music to my ears.