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Friday, February 12, 2010

Hoarders, part 2

So there I was, stewing in my own self-conscious guilt about why I have never been able to get rid of useless junk like a normal person, and not able to come up with any insights. All this stuff had been floating around in my head for many months. At least since Kristy made her teaser post about organizing last September.

Meanwhile, one of my friends on Facebook was posting about making her packrat husband throw out all his old love letters from his ex-girlfriend. And I thought, "But you're not supposed to throw away old letters!"

Why do I think this way???

I was pretty sure that someone, somewhere had the answer. Written down. I didn't care if I had to trudge my way through a psych textbook to find it. I needed it, and I was GOING TO find it.

In desperation, I poked around the Hoarders website, and ended up at's Understanding Hoarding page. It had lots of links and was pretty overwhelming, (I am really starting to think that the older I get, the worse my ADD-like tendencies get. Especially since FB. But that is another rant for another day.) but I did notice there was a short book list. I got on Amazon and looked for those books and added them to my cart. Then, like the good little money-conscious wifey that I would like to be, I ignored the cart and looked for them in my library's online catalog.

I found a few - not the one I most wanted to read, but decided that was OK (this is big. The old me would have gone back to the Amazon tab and ordered it on the spot!) and hoped the others would still be helpful. While I was waiting for the books to arrive I saw the 40 Trash Bag Challenge on Sue's Blog and thought, "How timely!" A few days later I saw it again in a link Danielle Bean posted on Facebook. I loved the idea, but didn't start it. The problem, again, lies in actually being able to make the decision to put things IN the bag.

"Why, oh why, can't I do this?!?!?!?!?! What in the world is wrong with me?!?!?!"


Ashleigh said...

Read this. I don't think God expects us to keep all the things He gives to us.

And I'm aware no one else wants your old love letters & such, but starting with the things others NEED may help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mathochist,

I am Darcee, from SimplyCatholic ... i.e. the 40 trash bag person. I can relate so closely to what you have posted. My husband and I are both pack-rats -- we watch Hoarders online with the mix of amazement that people live like that an horror realizing that our ADD and OCD tendencies are setting us up for such a future. As testament for the reality of this we have done the 40 trash bag thing every spring for the past three years... I have no doubt we will be able to do it this year as well.

In the past I have done the 40 trash bad thing as part of spring-cleaning, but it worked so much better to make it a Lenten exercise. The accumulation of excess things isn't good for the soul, it isn't good for my soul. My treasure should be things that last, things that matter, faith, love and joy. I dread the idea of being 70 and surrounded by stuff that doesn't bring me any joy -- so I pray and I purge and I manage to fill those 40 bags.

I would love for you to give it a try. Ash Wednesday is just a few days away. You could start off Lent with a gift. Grab a trash bag and go through your closet and pull out anything that doesn't fit or you haven't worn in a year. Don't think about the thing, who gave it to you or why you have it. Just ask if you can fit into it today or if you have worn it for a year. If the answer is no ask God to grant you the grace to give it up and put it in the bag.

Then on the way to Mass for Ash Wednesday drop the bag off at goodwill or your parishes clothing for the poor box. (just a suggestion of course - this is what I plan to do this year for the first bag.)

Good Luck on your efforts to let go of things. God Bless you.