Something I am just getting the courage to share from the other night. . .I really, really struggled with getting rid of two things when I was cleaning off the countertop in the kitchen.
We had a tin that was in the shape of a Christmas tree that one of us got as a gift for Christmas a few months ago. It had been filled with chocolates, but they've been long gone. I've been trying to make a decision as to what I was going to do with that tin from the moment I laid eyes on it. So I've had this in the back of my mind for 3 months at this point. However, decision time had finally come, because it was on the kitchen counter, and I needed to do something with it.
I kept moving it from one part of the counter to the other until I finally confronted it full on. I thought of putting it in the donation box, but I realized that they'd likely throw it away anyway. Our oldest daughter didn't want it. I asked. And as neat a shape as it was, I couldn't figure out what I'd do with it. It had raised ornaments on the tree and a raised brand name, so other than the shape it was rather ugly. After much contemplation, I threw it in the trash.
The other thing was a cylindrical tin can that had held some of those stick-shaped cookies. It was in great shape, and there was nothing embossed or raised on it, and I just knew I could use it for something. It made its appearance in our household about a year ago. And I've hung onto it this whole time, because I just knew I'd use it for something. I reluctantly confronted it and threw it back into the trash. Yes. I said it. "Back into the trash." I'd thrown it away once already. I'd thrown it on Sunday and then took it back out of the garbage bag. I wasn't ready to let it go.
I get that it sounds stupid. I do. I know in my mind, in my heart of hearts, that it's not logical.
After I'd thrown them, I thought of everything that I could use them for that I hadn't already contemplated. I'd already considered decoupaging the tins with either paper or fabric and making little gift boxes out of them. But after I discarded them, I thought of how, "they'd be perfect to store my polymer clay! :::Gasp!::: Better yet!! I could cover them with polymer clay, and they'd be adorable gift boxes. I mean, think of how cute a Christmas tree shaped, polymer clay covered and decorated gift box would be!! Oh my goodness! I need to get them out of the trash! Now!"
At this point, I started getting physical symptoms as I thought of retrieving them from the trash. I was shocked that I could feel a physical pull to go get them. My pulse was racing. My breath grew more quick. And my anxiousness was palpable. It felt as though I had to command myself to stay where I was. That if I didn't think very hard about staying there that my legs would start moving on their own, and I'd be at the trash can ready to rummage. It was a very odd and somewhat scary sensation.
About that time, my husband finally made it home, and I was telling him about it. I told him I felt what would seem like withdrawal symptoms. That I had to make myself not go get them. He assured me that I don't need them right now, that I won't be able to do anything with them anytime soon, and that we will indeed find really cute tin boxes in the future that I can cover with polymer clay when the time is right.
I thanked him and then asked him to please get the trash taken out as soon as possible, because I was concerned I'd get them out anyway. Plus, if they were outside, I wouldn't go out in the snow to get them, and trash pickup was in the morning. Once the trash was picked up, it would be out of my hands.
I talked before about how sometimes creativity can be a curse. It's incredibly hard for me to discard something in which I can see such great potential. However, I have to limit what I keep. If my house didn't look like it does, if I didn't already have 10,000 projects waiting for me, if I hadn't gone almost 18 months without having a clear kitchen counter, I may have felt okay keeping the tins. And while the thought of little polymer clay covered gift boxes sounds so wonderful, a clean, dehoarded house sounds better.
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.