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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hoarding and Unhoarding

Okay, so I guess I'll admit it: James and I are sort of hoarders (though not "compulsive hoarders" like you see on TV). We are both highly sentimental, hate wasting, have trouble throwing things away, like collecting different things, etc.

But we are not compulsive because junk does not fill very much of our house, and it gets less every year. Every year we get a little better at organizing and utilizing some things and parting with others. Over the summer, my parents came to help us, and my Dad and James cleaned out a LOT of stuff out of the garage and basement, and organized everything that we kept. Our attic is fairly clear, some of our closets are fairly clear (or at least, well organized), and all of our living areas are clear. Our house is generally messy, but not unusually so, and it definitely gets cleaned on a regular basis.

Basically, we moved into this house the summer before we got married--the summer of 2006, and it took us a LONG time (like two or three years) to get totally unpacked--there were several rooms--at least one upstairs and our dining room downstairs--that were filled with half-open boxes and things that had been unpacked and thrown aside willy-nilly, probably in the search for something specific.

Several of these rooms were still an issue when I got pregnant, and one of my goals during the pregnancy was to resolve these things, and I was pretty darn successful. I cleaned and organized every room in the house, save one bedroom upstairs. Part of the reason I was able to clean was that anything I wasn't sure what to do with (or was part of a serious organizational process), I stuck in this one bedroom. This enabled me to stay focused and clean the rest of the rooms.

But over the last couple months, some junk got piled in our library, and it was the tough kind--like years worth of paperwork that needed to be gone through and filed. So this has been James' project, and this weekend he really did a great job and the library is nearly clean again.

But our real progress happened on Saturday. I just got motivated. I went into the junk room and pulled out several boxes of old clothes that had previously been put aside because it didn't fit or was not often worn, and donated most of it to Salvation Army, with a few things pulled out with specific people in mind who might want them.

I also pulled four old computers out of that room (the big ole tower kind) to recycle, and a box of old notebooks from college to recycle as well.

Another great unloading was that we finally found a place to recycle our bottles. James and most of our friends tend to drink these really obsolete beers, and every time I would go to the bottle redemption center, I would come home with at least half of the bottles that I went there with--so they've just been piling up. But we found a place in a neighboring town that will take pretty much everything. So we went there and got 10 dollars for all our bottles!

It was a really productive "unhoarding" day--but not without its struggles. James lamented the computers and worried about people getting personal info off of them--but we worked through it. He set aside a pile of clothes, originally intending to keep them--but I convinced him to donate most of the things. I had trouble parting with an old mini-backpack that was my purse for 2 years in college, so James suggested that we take a picture of me with it (one technique that helps with sentimentalism).

So we loaded up our car on Saturday with all of these things and we returned home with it empty. Furthermore, we "threw away" very few things--we mostly recycled them or donated them.

The lesson here is that we are slowly learning how to improve our house and get better. Even though James was totally dragging his feet during the decision making process, he was ELATED when we returned home. It is very freeing to say goodbye to a bunch of junk that you aren't using!

I hope more "unhoarding" days are in our future!

4 comments:

Ella said...

WTG guys!! This is not an easy thing to do - I commend you for it!!

mariclare said...

aww, i remember that backpack.

justadrienne said...

Haha MC, it was hard to throw away, let me tell you!

A said...

I remember that backpack too! I like the idea of taking a picture of the things you still love/are attached to but no longer use. I definitely have some unhoarding of myself to do. Good work, the Chinese believe it's important to clean before the New Year so it sounds like you guys did a great job!

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