No, I’m not an actual “hoarder”, but I have “hoarderish” tendencies. I chalk it up to a couple of things:
- I used to be a teacher. Teachers save things to use next semester, next year, next lesson, etc. You see something and you think, “Oh, I can use that cardboard for a project.” , or “That’s a great photo in that magazine… I can use it to explain <whatever> when we get to that.” So it’s in my nature to save things. I have many items that fall into this category.
- I am the child of someone who grew up during the depression. We reused our brown paper lunch bags until they fell apart. We reuse tin foil. (I’m sorry, aluminum foil!) My mother wipes off and reuses paper plates. I’m conditioned to do the same things. We wash out Ziploc bags to use them again (I’ve taken to writing on the bag to remind me what was in it before. I have a “butter” bag (don’t judge me!), a bread bag and a cucumber bag. If the inside of the bag gets “too” wet, I toss it. I have a stack of used Ziploc baggies scattered on my kitchen counter ready to be filled.
- I’m lazy. I admit it. When something falls on the floor, I don’t always hurry to sweep or vacuum it up. If it’s wet, or wetish, or food, I’ll pick it up pretty quickly, but other than that… why bother? It’s not bothering me and I live alone so I’m the only one I need to please.
I’m getting ready to relocate, and to that end, I have asked a friend to help me. We met a few friends for lunch the other day and she told them, “She only has a work area <this big> on her counter… yet she “cooks”. I don’t know how she does it.” Basically, she shamed me.
I’m asking for help in getting ready for the move — but really, what looks like “junk” to her may be a cherished memory to me. If I decide I want to save that magazine, or that pamphlet, or pair of fuzzy dice (no I don’t have fuzzy dice, this is just an example), why would she want to try to ‘shame’ me into parting with my cherished memories. I have to keep reminding her, “I’m MOVING, not DYING.” What I need is encouragement, not judgement. What she should have done was told the girls that I’m making good progress or we’re moving right along. If someone asks for your help, then HELP them. Don’t tell them what they did wrong. Don’t look at them incredulously when they tell you YES, that item is a keeper. Don’t worry about where they’ll store it. Let that be up to them.
It was a big laugh-fest at lunch… everyone making sport because I’m not disposing of my lifelong memories willy-nilly. They’re MY memories. I’ve lived in a variety of lives. I was a teacher. I was a fan-girl. I wrote documentation for my employer for 15+ years. I’m AWARE that I have a TON OF STUFF.
I do think about my students – I’m even friended to one on Facebook! I remember my fan-girl days with some fondness (some not-so-fondness) so I’m keeping the fanfiction I wrote. And I want to keep copies of the documentation in case a prospective employer says, “Do you have examples of your work?” “WHY YES, Mr. Employer, I DO!” (Ok, I don’t really expect this to happen, because life is not rainbows and lollipops like I imagine it to be. It’s more prunes and sandpaper… I don’t get as far as actually meeting Mr. Employer before I’m turned down. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post!)
Yes, in my kitchen, I only have <this much> space to work. But it works for me. I constantly shift things around the kitchen. I’m storing some things in the microwave. When I need to use the microwave, I shuffle those things around the kitchen until I use the kitchen, then I put them back. Works for me. When I need to cut veggies, I put the cutting board on the counter, I cut my veggies, and go on with my life. It doesn’t bother me! But hear this: Everything I use is clean. Trust me on this. When I make food to share, I clean the counter, I clean the cutting board, I clean the pots, the knives, the forks, the casserole dish, before I use them. I would never EVER consider bringing or serving food to others that might in any way be injurious to their health. That said, let’s get back to our main topic. Helping.
I need help because I’ve been at this for over a year. I keep going around in circles. my pastor just retired. He’s 88 and was, more or less, forced into retirement. He loves his job. He doesn’t want to leave. WE don’t want him to leave. That said, since he didn’t have much of an option, he retired. A contingent from the church came to help him pack. He was packed in 2 weeks. I feel inadequate compared to him. (for many reasons, but we’re talking about the move) TWO WEEKS??? It was obvious I needed help. I asked my friend to come and she comes one day a week for about 5 hours. It’s better than no help, but we’re making SLOW progress. I friend I think would help me is having physical issues, and I’m not going to push her by asking. But now I realize I need MORE help. But after ‘the shaming’, I’m afraid to have anyone else come help.
I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I need to move NOW. I need to move FAST. I need HELP, but I’m afraid to ask for it.
I’ll die in this house.