This is probably going to be a rambling post. I have had so many thoughts about hoarding over the last few months. Thoughts that I wanted to write down and post. Somehow, tho, I couldn’t force myself to actually take the time to sit down and actually do it.
That seems to be pretty symptomatic of my life. I think of all kinds of wonderful things that I need to do. But I never do it. Or if I do, I will get it started with all the best intentions in the world. But I never finish.
Well, here are some of the thoughts that I have had in the last few months…
First off, a few weeks ago, I was sweeping the “path” through the living room. As I was picking through the pile of trash to see what really wasn’t trash, I came across two hot gun glue sticks. Now, these glue sticks were filthy. They had stuff stuck to them. One of them was bent, and probably wouldn’t fit into a glue gun. So what was my internal conversation?
“I use glue sticks. I should save these.” (Really? These are dirty.)
“I could wash those off and clean them up and use them!” (Really? What about that bent one?)
“I have a glue pot that I could use with the bent one!” (Really? Do you even know where it is? And if you did know, could you get to it?”)
“But they are still useful!”
“Melinda, you have an unopened bag of glue sticks. It is stupid to keep them! Throw those away!”
And I did throw them away. Such a tiny little thing. And so very big.
* * * *
Another thought I had was on encouragement and belief. That plays a huge role in my battle against hoarding, in a lot of different ways, some good, some not so good.
I have had family members tell me that I am a very strong woman, and they don’t understand why I can’t clean my house. They tell me this, and I think “I’m not strong, I’m broken. How can they tell me that I am strong?” Being told that I am a strong woman doesn’t help me when I live in the middle of the proof of my weakness.
I have had someone, someone who I cared a great deal about, someone who professed to love me, tell me that they didn’t believe I would ever overcome my hoarding issues. He did not believe that I would ever be able to declutter my house and keep it decluttered. He said that he wasn’t the kind of man who could deal with my hoarding, and furthermore, that he didn’t believe I would ever find anyone who could deal with my hoarding issues. One of the components of hoarding is emotional loss. This was a huge emotional loss, to know that someone that I loved did not believe in me. And my emotional reaction to that stopped a lot of the progress that I had been making. It took awhile before I got to the point of being able to work on my house again. I managed it, eventually, but I still hear those words in my mind.
But a few days ago, a friend told me something very simple. We were talking about my hoarding. He offered to light a match or drive a bulldozer through my house. But before he left, he hugged me and he told me that I could do it.
“A little bit at a time. You can do this.”
He believes in me. He believes that, eventually, I can lick this. And you know what? Maybe not everyday since he said that to me, but almost everyday, I have done something on my house. I have thrown away more stuff, put away more stuff, taken more boxes of things away from my house in the few days since he said that, than I have in several months.
My son came over the day before Christmas. We spent several hours working on my stuff – he directed, pointed me to the next thing, and kept me from feeling overwhelmed, but I had to make all the decisions. He told me what box to get next, I had to get it, pull the items out one at a time, and decide if it was a keeper, a throw away, or a give away. We did so much together, it was wonderful. I cried over some of the things I threw away. My son hugged me and told me he was proud of me. But all through that, in the back of my mind were the words spoken to me by my friend.
“A little bit at a time. You can do this.”
The right kind of encouragement, even simple words, can mean so much.
So, the new year.
I titled this “Another Year, Another Bag of Trash…” For the last several years, I have had a simple New Year’s resolution. It has worked for me for a while. The resolution is to do more. Simple. To do More.
In the last year, I have come to a greater understanding. I fulfilled an item on my bucket list, to have a book published. (Meditations of a Hoarder, available on Amazon and from Yard Dog Press) I have thrown away things that I have kept for years. I have done more. It is a good resolution, and the one resolution that I have been able to keep.
So this year, I resolve…to do more.
Have a great 2016.