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.

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.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

So This Hoarding Thing.

It's complicated. 

There are few things that hold great meaning to me. Perhaps there is a larger number of things that hold meaning for me compared to other people, but very few that hold great meaning. I could honestly take or leave the rest. I'm finally to the point once again that I'm making some great choices about differentiating between those things that actually mean something to me and those that don't. 

Yesterday was downright balmy compared to today, so I worked in the garage for a few hours on my own. Atticus, (a young man who grew up down the street from us when our girls were all little), was going to come and help me out wasn't able to after all, but I refused to let the change in plans derail me. I worked in the garage on my own for almost 3 hours. 

I was able to get rid of a lot of things. Well, technically, some of the things are still in the garage, but I've found homes for them, so it's just a matter of getting out there again to get them loaded up once it gets warm again. On Thursday of this week, 4 new interior doors, 4 used sliding closet doors, and a large air compressor on a cart will all leave the garage for sure. Knowing where each of these things is going has already freed up mental space. It's nice.

I loaded up a garden wagon with pieces of an old pressboard cabinet for the trash. We'd torn apart the cabinet years ago and used the pieces as a floor in the attic but left it up there when cleaned the attic out last summer. The time has come that neither of us can physically make the trek up to the attic and back down safely, so we emptied it out, However, we hadn't removed the 'floor'. When we had the insulation in the attic blown in this summer, the workers took it all down. Since we're not going to be using the attic for storage anyway, off to the trash it goes, along with two extra large black trash bags that I filled to the top.

I know I've still got a long way to go, but I'm happy with the progress I've made up to this point. I was able to toss a couple of things in the trash instead of washing them to donate. I realized that the 50 cents the thrift store might get for each of the things would take me 15 minutes to get cleaned up and sterilized in order to donate just wasn't worth it. In fact, there was a good chance they'd just go in the trash once they were donated, anyway, so yeah, I chucked them. 

Yay me. 

I'm getting there. It's taking time, but I *am* getting there. 

One uncomfortable decision at a time.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

If Some Day Never Comes

The girls are sick again, which will limit the amount of time I can work in the garage until they're feeling better. Thankfully, I was still able to get out there today and get a bit done. I filled two large black trash bags full of stuff for trash pickup this week.

A few of the things had been hard for me to let go of in the past, but I had no problem with getting rid of them today. One thing was a small dog bed. When we first got our puppy a few years ago, she had a tendency to chew the stuffing out of her dog beds. Literally. And for whatever reason, I felt the obligation to keep them for Some Day, as though it were a holiday to be held in high esteem. The day that I would get my sewing machine, (or glue, hammer and nails, cleaning products, or whatever else my project seemed to need at the time to be redeemed to it's (almost) former glory), and sit down and fix it.

I was finally able to part with a mat for the front door, too. It was one of those nice and heavy ones, but the picture on it was fading. In the mind of who I used to be, it was worth saving for Some Day. I'd go ahead and paint a new scene on it, so it would look nice. After all, it was a nice mat. It stayed in place fairly well, and it had some weight to it. Something about it's weight made me think it was a quality mat, and you shouldn't just throw quality things away. Right? I patted my former self on the back and tossed it in the bag. 

There were several other things I tossed, but one of my favorite things to get rid of was the packing popcorn that had spent most of its life in the attic. I could not seem to rid myself of it in the past no matter how hard I tried. Bubble wrap, plastic bags, peanuts, and boxes have always hung me up a bit. I'm sure it's because I always wanted to make sure that whatever I sold on eBay was packaged well. But who's kidding who? I don't know, if I'll ever sell anything on eBay again. The bag of plastic bags made me pause, but for only a millisecond. Into the trash they went. 

There was one thing that made me pause a bit longer. It was a great big yellow foam cowboy hat that my parents got me in highschool decades ago. I'd taken great pride in wearing it to school events at different times. It was silly and goofy and fun. I took it out of the bag that I'd neatly stored it in years ago. Years ago I'd folded the brim of it neatly and slid it into the bucket of the hat. The foam was still the bright yellow of yesteryear. It hadn't aged like normal foam - maybe because I'd kept good care of it? I started toward the trash bag but immediately started to back as I bent down to place it inside. Memories started to overwhelm me, and then I pictured Mom and Daddy. When they bought me the hat for my birthday, they certainly didn't think I'd have it for the rest of my life! They not only wouldn't expect it, they'd feel guilty, if they'd known how hard it was for me all these years to get rid of it.

I slid it in the bag and smiled. 

Some Day has finally arrived, but I realized that it's not a special day to set aside to mend things. 

It's time to mend me.