Well, I have had so many thoughts that I wanted to write about in the last few weeks. Have I? No. Just thought about it. I have been a roller coaster of emotion and frustration since I agreed to do that interview. It was rough. There were things in the article that I never said, but from the placement, it seemed as if I had said them. The pictures were horrible. I cried again when I read it.
But…I learned a few things. For example, evidently there is only one therapist in all of Arkansas who specializes in Hoarding behavior. Or at least, there was only one that the reporter was able to find, and the therapist in question said as far as she knew, she was the only one.
There are no physical support groups for hoarding in Arkansas. There are some on-line support groups, and there is a facebook support group for hoarders, also.
And – The reporter told me that after the day the story came out, five different people came to her and said that they had family members with hoarding issues. I had friend requests on face book from people I had never heard of before. (one of them worked at the newspaper) One person even looked up my phone number, called me, and said they wanted to help me organize.
But between my emotional state after this article was published, being in a very fun but highly exhausting temporary job, and some family medical issues, I had pretty much given up doing anything with the house. At least for a little bit. It doesn’t help that my water has gone out, yet again.
But I have gotten very tired of looking at my junk. My hoard. My treasured trash. And while I am usually pretty good at putting empty cans and food wrappers in the trash, that is where a lot of the things that I keep will eventually end up. In the trash.
So the rain today cancelled my work. I had gotten up early, and really should have gone back to bed for some extra rest, but I chose instead to play on my computer, take care of some on-line business, set up my new uverse account, and otherwise waste the day away.
However…I set my timer. 15 minutes worth of decluttering on my kitchen table. And some more playing around. And another 15 minutes of decluttering. And then a little more. Now, my table is so filled with STUFF that 45 minutes or so of decluttering on it has resulted in me being able to see one small corner. Admittedly not all of that 45 minutes was done on the table. But at least 30 of it was. And I can only see one small corner that is more or less clear, with other parts of the table still covered. The piles are not as high. But still covered. And I went from a trash can with a half full garbage bag to a trash can with a full garbage bag, now ready to go out.
Maybe it sounds like I didn’t do very much. But I can claim a small but important victory. You see, one of the things on the table was a headset – headphones and microphone combo, that I used with my computer. But the mike went out. Quit working. So I replaced it. But I never threw the old one away. Now, the mike on this headset quit working months and months ago. In fact, I just bought a replacement to the replacement, since the replacement is no longer stereo.
So, Why haven’t I thrown that set of headphones away long ago? Because even tho the mike didn’t work, the headphones did. That made it still “useful” and thus worthy of saving. Even though I wasn’t using them, and hadn’t for months. I still couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. After all, the new set might go out, and I could use the old one again – or at least, the still working headphones part of it.
Well, today, I claim a victory. Those headphones, despite the fact that they are still “useful”, are in the trash. GASP!!!! I THREW AWAY SOMETHING THAT WAS STILL PARTIALLY USEFUL!!! But I realized that I would never use it again. And no one else would want it. So it has left my table, left my sight, is bagged up in the trash, and will leave my house when I take the trash out for pick-up. VICTORY!
Every time I overcome that impulse to hoard, to hang on to things that I don’t need, won’t use, and no longer make me smile or spark joy – it gets just a tiny bit easier to toss the next thing.
So – did I waste my day? Some people would say yes. They would look at everything that I didn’t do, while I was reading Facebook or playing a computer game. Maybe they are right.
But I have a corner of a table that I can see for the first time in over a year. And something that a few months ago I had to keep, could not allow myself to throw away, because it was still “useful” – is now out of my life.
It is a baby step. But for someone like me, throwing that one item away is as much of an accomplishment as for a non-hoarder to clean an entire room.
Today, I decluttered. I filled a trash can. I can see a small result.
Today, I claim victory.