Hi. I’m Elena and I’m a recovering Hoarder.
I used to keep things. All the things. Sentimental things. Crappy things.
I used to collect things. Like Precious Moments dolls. And shot glasses. Even books.
I kept every letter and greeting card given to me by friends, family, boyfriends. Dolls I never played with but kept in immaculate condition for what, I don’t know because I was always playing outside with the boys. In fact, our house was the only one on the block that had a basketball hoop. And I don’t have any brothers.
I kept concert ticket stubs. Movie ticket stubs. Hotel room keys. Playbills.
Almost every “masterpiece” my 3 children have ever created.
Office supplies. Pens. So many pens. I had so many office supplies that one year, my sister actually came to my house to “shop” for school supplies for her kids. #truestory
I kept all of my planners from high school, in which I’d painstakingly record every detail about whom I had spoken with and where I’d gone. I had CDs. DVDs. I even had cassettes and LPs!
My only saving grace is that I’m uber-organized. Like to the OCD power. There’s a place for everything and everything is always in its place. Everything’s either alphabetized or organized by size and color.
But the problem is it’s not just my crap anymore.
My husband collects crap, too. Except his crap is way bigger than mine. He comes home with little sailboats. And motorcycles. Then trailers for the motorcycles.
He likes to fix things. So he’s perpetually at Home Depot or Harbor Freight, from which he inevitably returns with big tools. You know, because you just really NEED your own giant air compressor. Because the “small” one you already had just wasn’t cutting it. Add to that the four or five drills, chainsaws, circular saws, Sawzalls, 3 ladders and myriad other hand tools and that doesn’t leave you with a whole lotta room in your garage.
Then there’s my oldest kid who’s apparently never moving back home but is too “overwhelmed” to take her stuff with her to Chicago.
And finally, there’s my little ones. The ones from whom I have to surreptitiously take toys they no longer play with and clothes that no longer fit. Because God forbid they catch me donating a toy they haven’t been interested in for years or clothes that are too tight, too short, or just plain ripped to shreds.
Also, my son has a very active imagination and he loves to make things. But generally, those things involve making forts out of giant boxes that he insists on building in my living room.
All this to say that I don’t want to keep things anymore.
In fact, I want to throw everything out. All that clutter is driving me crazy. And let’s face it, I didn’t really have all that far to go.
The problem is that I seem to be the only one who feels this way.
I throw crap out, they bring more crap in.
We go to the dollar store for one thing and they pitch a fit to buy $10 worth of crap that will end up in the trash within the week. It’s gotten so bad that I practically beg people NOT to get them gifts for their birthdays. Well, except for clothes. Those little cretins outgrow everything or promptly destroy them.
The other day, my neighbors were having a yard sale and my kids wanted to bring home all kinds of junk the neighbors were giving them and I lost my whole mind. I told them absolutely not! I don’t ever want to see another stuffed animal or foam dart or Lego piece or any other trinket ever again.
When my son asked about being able to bring home something from the treasure box at school, I told him to tell his teacher thank you. But no thank you.
And if she asked why he should tell her that if he brought another piece of garbage home, his mother’s head was literally going to explode. And then they’d have to clean up my splattered brains from everywhere and that only then, would they be able to bring home more junk.
At that point, they looked at each other and decided the cleanup would be worth it as long as they could acquire more crap.
Moral of the story: Anyone who’s ever tried to clear the clutter and been successful has clearly not had a hoarding family.