Going through things and getting rid of them is not easy when you tend to lean more towards the packrat side of the spectrum. Every now and then I watch an episode of Hoarders, and I’m grateful my packrattiness is not that serious. I usually also have a desire to clean and get rid of things afterward.
However, my childhood inner-self does not like to get rid of things. It ties the memories to the objects. Every time I try, it’s pretty much like this:
Wow, that yellow was bright. It did not look that bright when I was drawing it. But you get the idea. And no, I do not plan on getting rid of my Sorry or Jenga games. I did that once and just recently went out and got a new set. I forgot how much fun they are. My nieces and I love playing them.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh yes. So cleaning is this ginormous battle with my childhood self where every object no matter how small or seemingly insignificant becomes the Most Prized Possession the instant I think about getting rid of it.
There are several reasons I end up feeling this way. You see, I know that these things are gifts from people I care about and who care about me. In some instances, they are the only connections I have left of those people. It always feels like a slap in the face to them if I get rid of things they’ve gifted me. But I hate having all this stuff, and I’m starting to believe they’ll understand if I get rid of things I no longer have use for and let someone else enjoy them. Or so I hope.
In other cases, I feel guilty because I know they paid good money to give me these things and I am throwing it away. And then, lastly, I feel guilty that the things will go to the landfill and I will further the problem of too much garbage.
Thankfully, someone invented resell and thrift shops, which helps with the latter of my dilemmas at least. Another benefit is that I apparently take remarkable care of things. My old childhood desk was ten years old, but it still looked brand new, a sentiment everyone in my family had to tell me too before I got rid of it. Not making things any easier here, guys.
But I did it, and it felt wonderful. I imagined some child would see it and their parents would buy it for him or her. The desk would then be loved by someone new and everything would be glitter and rainbows and happiness. I have no idea if that’s what happens, but at least I tried to find it a new home, right?
Not long after, I gave away more things. It was exciting. I think I’ve reached the point where I almost want to start over. I want to rid myself of everything I don’t use so that I can better organize the things I do use. Plus, it’ll make cleaning and putting things away easier if there is less stuff. There’s always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind though that says, “You’re going to need this later.”
Yes, it’s true. I cannot predict the future. I might have to buy those things again, or I might find another way to make do without them. Or I might not even miss them at all.
So all in all, I’ve gotten better at ignoring this childhood self. Or rather, I acknowledge the attachment and sentiment I have to the object, which is namely that it reminds me of someone. I am thankful for the memories and remind myself that I’m giving it away to a new family. I think of Woody and Buzz Lightyear and imagine my toys find a loving home like Bonnie’s and not something like Sid’s house. And then I imagine a living space where things are in their place, and I don’t have to spend all my time reorganizing and trying to find a place for everything.
It’s been interesting, that’s for sure. I found a lot of things I forgot about, and if I didn’t remember even having it, it seems likely I don’t need it at all, regardless of what that childhood inner-self of mine claims.
Are you a minimalist or a packrat? How organized is your home? Could you have visitors over at the drop of a hat, or do you suffer from CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Any cleaning/decluttering tips?