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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carpe Diem

I've been doing a deep spring cleaning in the kitchen the last few days. I've slowly been surely been organizing things, cleaning out cupboards and finding permanent, easily accessible homes for things I've never known quite where to store. I've been dehoarding as I go along, as well, and I've learned a lot about myself once again.

Several years ago, maybe 20?, I came across some spare Tupperware lids for bowls that I didn't have. They were old when I got them, although I'm not sure how old. I don't remember where I picked them up, but I came to the conclusion I don't need them. I think at the time I acquired them I thought they were hanging onto, because they had a lifetime warranty. It made them worth something. If I were to donate them, they would likely go in the trash, so I just tossed them and saved someone else the work. I did keep a couple of the newer ones, because I think I still have a bowl or two to go with the ones I saved. If I never come across the bowls, I'll throw the lids at some point in the future.

I came across several things that I realized I'd never used, because I attached some sort of special meaning to them, and they seemed too special to use. None of them felt so special that I would have grabbed any of them to save, if there had been a fire. But there was thought put into picking them out for the girls or for us, and I set them aside to use at a special time, so I would remember them. Instead, they ended up in the trash.

One thing was a gingerbread cookie Mom had gotten for the girls. For some reason, we never used it while she was down here. It was over a year old, and there's no way it would have tasted good after all this time, in spite of the fact I'd had it in the refrigerator until a week ago. I pitched it.

Then a few years ago, Hubster picked up some adorable marshmallow treats that are made like Peeps, although I don't recall, if they were made by the same company. They were shaped like Veggie Tales, and they were adorable. But the girls don't care too much for that sort of thing. I put them up thinking I'd let the girls use them in a cup of cocoa, but I just kept setting them aside over and over again. I needed the space in the cupboard more than we needed to keep them, and I know Hubster will understand. They went in the trash, too.

The other thing that comes to mind that I came across was given to us several years ago for Christmas. My friend had given us a little jam jar of vanilla sugar she'd fixed up for us to use in teas or on toast with a bit of butter. She put little red and green sprinkles in it. It was really cute and such a thoughtful gift. We did use it several times, but I think I stopped using it, because I wanted the feeling it invoked to last. The jar was only about half-full, but I knew there was no way it was good anymore. I dumped the contents in the trash and washed the jar. If I don't find anything to put in the jar in the next few days, I'll throw it in the trash as well.

It was a great reminder for me to live in the moment and not for moments in the future. I've done this my entire life. I've saved the girls' special clothes, so they wouldn't ruin them, and they ended up outgrowing them instead of wearing them. Fun food I've picked up to do something special with the girls has gone bad, because I've put off using it until the circumstances were 'just right'.

I've got to learn to give myself permission to use things, even special things, every day. I have to learn that 'special' doesn't mean 'too good to ever use' or 'too good for me to use'. It means that someone thought enough of us to give us something they thought we would enjoy. They didn't give it to us to put on a shelf or in a box and never see it again or to have to throw it away, because it went bad. 

I am going to have to remind myself that using and enjoying gifts shows my appreciation and love for the person who gave it much more than just putting it up to keep it safe. My friends and family mean more to me than that. I know they want more for me than what I've allowed myself, and I'm going to do my best to seize the day...

each and every day.


  1. I understand! We received some really lovely wine glasses that I had registered for way back when for our wedding. Back in 1981 they were $13 each. I actually remember the price! I never used them because I was afraid of breaking them. Well I started using them about two years ago, 28 years after we were married, and I LOVE them! Who cares if I break one? At least I've used them.

  2. I struggle with some of the same issues . I think that one of the issues that many hoarders shows neglect is that some of us have experienced life long or sporadic poverty . Besides making it difficult to throw away things that you may not be able to afford to buy when you might need them .

    I actually don't like owning expensive things because if I do break, stain, rip it then I feel horrible . Foolish perhaps but very deeply ingrained and makes it difficult to enjoy "nice things" .


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