I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hoarder …

… but I do admit I hang on to too much ‘stuff’.  I don’t know why really, because my mother wasn’t like that at all.  She was ruthless about getting rid of anythingtrash and everything she no longer needed, wanted or used.  Or fit into, for that matter.

Maybe this is nothing more than an act of rebellion on my part.  I’ve never thought of it in quite that way before.  Or maybe I just take after my father.  My mother used to crack the whip on both of us.

My closets and drawers are not a thing of organized beauty.  Neither is my desk.  Or my bookcase.  Or just about any surface you can find in my apartment.  My handbag’s the same.  A royal mess.  I can never find anything in there, because it’s crammed full of crumpled receipts, pieces of paper, empty mint wrappers, pens long out of ink — you get the picture. My office, when I worked full time, was the same.

The funny part of it is, I always know exactly where everything is.  I also know whenever anything’s been moved.  Like when my cleaning lady’s been at my place.  It takes me hours, sometimes,to figure out where she’s put something.  Drives me insane, but I guess I drive her nuts, too.

HaHa!  I know I drive her nuts.  She tells me.  That’s why I always disappear and hide when she’s coming.  If I didn’t she’d give me chores to do.  Like going through it all, and disposing of it.  She means business, that one!  HaHa!

Caron Eastgate Dann writes a blog I follow.  She and her husband are moving and last week she wrote about all the purging and packing she’s been doing.  Maybe her story’s on my mind today and that’s why I’m writing this, particular blog at this, particular time.  Don’t know.

What I do know is, I have been going through things for a while now, albeit slowly.  I’ve got several different piles:

  • Confidential papers for shredding (old tax returns, paid bills, client information etc.)
  • Re-cycling
  • Garbage
  • Charity
  • Potential money-makers (clothing and accessories, in good shape, I can take to re-sale shops and, hopefully, sell and make a few bucks)

You’re dying to know how I’m doing, aren’t you?

Think about it, would I be writing this if it was all done?

Right.

Here are my challenges:

  • I hang on to the client stuff until projects are complete, billed and paid.  Could I file them away?  Of course, but I hate filing.  And it all just mounts up.
  • I continue to hope one day, I’ll fit into that dress or sweater or pants or shirt again.  Yeah, I know, when Hell freezes over — by which time the items will be completely out of style.  I tell myself hanging on to them is a great incentive to exercise more and eat less bread.  Oh come on, does it work for you??
  • I really love that purse or those boots or those shoes or that coat and the instant I give it away, I’ll wish I still had it.  I’ll have the perfect occasion to wear it and it’ll be gone.  This is really the “just-in-case” pile.  For some reason, it seems to get bigger all the time, not smaller.
  • I become ‘attached’ to some things and find it hard to part with them.  For sentimental reasons, please understand.  Or because I just like seeing them, touching them, knowing they’re there.
  • I don’t particularly like purging, tidying, organizing.  I detest doing drawers and closets.  And really, what’s the point?  I’m only going to mess them up again.

Yes, yes, yes, I can feel all the neatniks among you hyperventilating right now.  Sighing.  Despairing.  Shaking your heads.  Tsking your little hearts out.  I know, I know.  My mother did it.  My cleaning lady does it.  I have friends who simply don’t understand.  I get it.  Truly I do.

And the good news is, I am being a good girl and going through it all.  Yesterday was a particularly fruitful day.

My kitchen and dining room (where I prefer to work despite having a very nice office) are simply perfect.  Papers are gone.  Books are back in the bookcase.  Old packages of nuts and dried apricots and figs have been tossed.  Same with empty cereal boxes and mostly-empty jam jars.  The jars, in fact, have been washed and put in the recycling bin.  The fridge has been cleaned out, as has the pantry.  The 6 jars of capers that were a steal at Costco 2 years ago, but got shoved to the back of the shelf where I couldn’t see them, are no longer taking up space.

Coats, boots, hats, scarves and gloves I had to remove from my hall closet because of some maintenance work have all been put back now — 3 days after they should have been, but what’s important is, I did it.

Of course I’m happy.  I’m always happy when I finally force myself to do these chores.  No, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often.

Tomorrow, though, I’ll be right back at it.  This time it will be my office.  And by the time this week is done it, too, will be a thing of beauty.  And I am promising myself that my closets and drawers are next.

Promise, promise, promise.  Promise.

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30 thoughts on “I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hoarder …

  1. Fransi… you and me both.
    When I was left alone here I went through with a fine tooth comb…loads of space, everything tidy…
    It didn’t last…though at least now the ‘junk’ is mine. Mostly. And Ani’s.
    I keep promising myself I’ll find the time to have another purge… part of me longs to have very little and lots of space for it. But when it comes down to it, the just in case pile is the biggest here too.. x

  2. I think most of us dread purging, but it always feels great when it’s done. There are a few charities that me call on a regular basis looking for donations, and I force myself to commit to a bag or two every time because it helps keep the clutter build-up under control. Since I don’t work in the summers, I usually do a thorough clearing out in at least one room. This year I promised myself I’d do the basement after I blew it off last summer. NOT looking forward to it, but I hafta hafta do it this year.

    • Yes, I agree that purging for charities is very worthwhile and I do actually enjoy going through those clean-ups. It’s all for a good cause and I like that. Good luck with the basement :). Let me know how you do. I’ll let you know about my closets 🙂

  3. I’m pretty minimalist and tidy but not when it comes my piles (stacks) clothes, the mess in my closets, and my drawers- forgettaboutit! I’m not much for clutter generally so don’t have that much but I’m sure it feels awfully good to get things nice. 🙂

  4. Oh dear..you are not alone! I’m surrounded by hoarded clothes/shoes/handbags/greetings cards/exhibition catalogues/found objects(stones:bark:scraps of metal:shells etc). My Mother was super organised and sorted through her wardrobe each season throwing out or recycling anything too worn or obsolete. Her wardrobe always tidy with gaps between each dress/outfit. My clothes are crammed and creased and folded in piles all over the place! You have inspired me! I will have a spring clean and tidy. A short holiday looms and I need to locate some suitable clothing to take away with me.No doubt I will find some great forgotten outfits which I must keep as I’m sure I will wear them again! haha

  5. Fransi, an inspiring post as always! I am not necessarily a hoarder but definitely am not an organizer (I’ve always said that my clients pay me to be organized and so I let things slide in my personal life…). But looks like I’m moving in a few months – while I’m dreading the slog of the purging, in a weird way I am also looking forward to it – a form of catharsis perhaps?

    • The only time I really purge is when I move. Is your place rented? I want to move and for a ling time I’ve been looking for something above retail or a gallery — the spaces are usually so interesting. And, where ‘ya moving to? Not away from Toronto, I hope.

    • If all you need is a half hour you’re definitely not in my league :). But if I’ve inspired you, I’m happy. I’m really getting into it. I may have to write a follow-up post 🙂

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