Several years ago, when one of the local stores still had layaway, I decided to get organized. They had a tremendous sale on 18 gallon totes. You know the kind. For storage. Because when you have a lot of stuff, you need to be able to store said crap...er...stuff. Anyway, these totes were something like $3.50 each. I'd never seen them so affordable. The cheapest they'd been to this point was $5 each, so we stocked up. We got some to use right then, and we put a load of them on layaway. I can't remember the exact number we got, but I want to say it was close to 50. They didn't have enough in stock at the store, of course, so we got a raincheck on them, so we'd get the sale price and promptly stuck them on layaway when they came in.
They were great for storing holiday decorations. I didn't have to worry about boxes crumbling and falling apart. They stack so nicely, that I didn't have to worry about an avalanche when I was getting the Christmas decorations every year. They were just...handy. So I used them to pack the baby clothes I was keeping for the girls and for my maternity clothes. You know....just in case. They came in handy for storing all sorts of things. But I think they maybe hid part of my hoarding problem from me. With them being stacked so neatly, I could forget that there were things in the tubs I really didn't need.
Fast forward to yesterday when Frank was here. Not only did he cut down a huge number of trees, but he lugged tubs for me to go through, too. I am so grateful for his help, because I'd never have gotten as much done as I did, if he hadn't been there to do the heavy lifting for me. All told, I was able to go through 5 of the 18 gallon totes and 1 1/2 that are at least 3 times the size and have hinged lids.
I emptied 4 of the smaller tubs and 1 of the larger ones completely. And parts of it were really hard. I went through my maternity clothes, some baby clothes, clothes that used to fit me when I was several pounds lighter than I am now, shoes, and toys. I filled a trash can with stuff I tossed. I filled another bag with shoes to go up on Craigslist. I filled a huge black trash bag with maternity clothes and baby clothes and toddler clothes that will also go up on Craigslist. I would drop them off at a thrift store, but they have a musty smell from being in storage so many years, and I don't have time to wash them. If I put them up on Craigslist, I'll explain that, and if someone still wants then, they'll come and get them.
There were some things I wasn't able to get rid of. At least not now. Maybe never. Remember I said I sorted through 5 tubs, but I only emptied 4. The fifth one holds those things that I'm not ready to part with just yet. The lid doesn't quite close on it, but I couldn't bring myself to put it in 2 tubs. I am hoping everything will all fit, if I repack it, because I just sort of threw it in there as I was sorting. I'm afraid, if I start a second tub that I'll look for things to fill it up. I know I have plenty to fill a second one, and I eventually will. For now, I want to savor the fact that we have empty tubs.
Wonder how long we can keep them that way.
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.