Years ago, I was at a friend's house. We were talking as she was vacuuming the kids' bedroom. I was shocked as she vacuumed up loose change, Legos, other small toys, and trash with a canister vac. Ok. The fact she was vacuuming up trash didn't shock me at all, but the fact that she vacuumed up things of value did. The difference was that those things had value to me, but not to her. I still have a really hard time vacuuming up little things - even rubber bands and paperclips.
I see the value in minute things. Things that most others see as trash I see as what I can turn it into. In many ways, it's been good, because it's saved us money over the years - money we didn't have, because I couldn't work outside the home due to our children's health issues. In other ways, it's been nothing less than disastrous.
It's obvious that my creativity is in overdrive whenever I see a situation that needs a solution. Here's an example that happened today:
Our daughter came home from school. Her coat had ripped out when she tried to unzip it. I'm not sure how it happened, but she's stronger than the average girl, and I think she got frustrated and put a little too much strength into it. At any rate, she tore the seam in the lining, and the innards were showing.
She was quite upset, so the first thing I did was told her where to find the other coat just like it. It still had the tags on it. I'd gotten it for 75% off a couple of years ago several months after we bought the one she's been wearing. I was going to sell it on eBay, but I was very thankful I hadn't taken the time to put it up for auction yet. So she was very relieved when she knew she'd have a coat for school tomorrow, and we wouldn't have to go out to buy one tonight!
Next, I took a look at the damaged coat to see, if it could be mended. It could. Normally, I would not have tried to mend it immediately. I would have put it off, but I am really wanting to change things, so I mended it with some fusible tape, and I had her try it on again. The mending was fine on it, but the zipper was shot. At this point, I had a decision to make.
I know most people would just automatically toss it in the trash, but I'm not most people. I had to weigh the options. Because I can use a sewing machine fairly well, I knew I could replace the zipper, if I wanted. I also knew that I'd likely never get around to it, as can my mending pile from over 20 years ago attest! Yes. I still have some mending from over 20 years ago. I don't know where it is, but I have it. I couldn't bring myself to throw out something that was perfectly usable, if I only took the time to fix it. Somehow, I thought I'd have more time than I do.
Next, I thought about how I could make a pillow out of it for her. She really would love it, and it would be soft, plus it would have her team's logo on it. I got stuck here in this thought process for awhile. I mean..she really would like a pillow made out of it. No doubt about it! It would be very easy to do. I could give myself a time by which to have it sewn, and get it done, but I know me. If I didn't have it sewn by the deadline, I'd probably extend the time limit I'd given myself, and it would live somewhere in our house for several years.
A couple of weeks ago, I'd have probably saved the coat to make a pillow. But would I actually make it? I don't want to see it days, weeks, years from now calling my name and making me feel guilty. "Hey Judy! Didn't you promise to make me into something usable? Why do you go back on your word like that? Why are you so worthless? You always make promises to yourself you can't keep! What a loser!!"
I have a lot of things calling my name. A lot of things calling me "loser".
I'm done. I'm worth more than the junk I have accumulated in my house.
I threw the coat away.
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.