Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TECH: You confound me so! (Really this is about clutter)

This evening I was working on my new CD, FAVOURITES when I ran into a problem. Apparently 1/2 of my CD's were bad. Each bad CD had snippets of music or something on them. It was infuriating! The best thing I could come up with, after a calming talk with the hubby, was that the bad CD's somehow didn't get thrown away the first time around.  Apparently I just put them back in the bin with the rest of the good CD's. WTF?

I'm not a hoarder, but I feel like I'm on the brink.  I am, in fact, a collector, a pack rat, a connoisseur of things past. I don't throw ANYTHING away. Seriously, I have all my papers from all four years of college tucked in a drawer somewhere. I have nearly all the cards I've been sent, for every occasion possible, from the past 15 years in my desk. I have pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and out-dated calendars.  I have stacks of papers, no longer in any conceivable order that I trip over regularly.

My studio, which was 90% clean before my Daikini Baby was born, is now 90% full. Of Shit. OK, maybe not shit, but definitely crap.

Why do I keep all this?  What's going on in my head?  What is the emotional significance of all this stuff?  What hole in my soul is it all filling?

Oh the things I ponder at 2:07am...


  1. It is hard to let go--for a few reasons for me....

    1) some things are memory triggers.
    For these I try to take pictures of them...

    2) some things were gifts/carry guilt
    So hard to get rid of gifts. Someone thought I was special enough to buy that that I'll never use...
    Now, I just get rid of it. Seriously.
    If you haven't touched it in a year, get rid of it.

    3) It is easier to put it back on the shelf than to figure out how to properly dispose of it.

    (Oh I might make something ELSE with that..[no, I won't..it'll just sit there collecting dust])

    (Oh maybe it isn't really broken or I can fix it...[Test it. Broken? freecycle to someone who CAN fix it, or chuck it]

    (Oh I'll throw it out later...[Just do it now gahhhhhh (this is my worst clutter habit)]

    So...maybe do a list like that for you? figure out why you have some clutter and what the solutions are?

    It feels SO SO SO SO SO good to look around and really see the things that are important to you, and not just clutter :)

  2. After dealing with my dad's estate and realizing that his hoarding disorder not only rendered his home unlivable, unsalvageable, and uncleanable (we are foreclosing on it), I did some reading. I recommend the book Buried in treasures: Help for compulsive acquiring, saving, and hoarding, by Tolin, et al. The book is incredibly useful re: the emotions of hanging on to things and also how to purge successfully (it isn't merely about 'cleaning'). I've also learned about how his disorder, which is within the spectrum of chemically-produced anxiety disorders, affected his relationships with me and my brothers. Good to learn this now that he is dead but sad to not have known this earlier.... The other thing to note is the idea 'Is this important to me? If YES (which it always is, right?), then WHY am I not treating this object as if it IS important?' My childhood photos are currently buried in piles of cat shit, cat piss, mouse and other vermin habitats, papers, garbage, and junk. Everything was so important to my dad and his disorder was so unchecked that he couldn't see what would become of the few objects that really mattered.

  3. I think that Lauren's first two reasons are the main factors in your packratting. Having sat with you while you worked to discard things, I think a lot of what Lauren says makes sense.

    The compulsion aspect is important to consider also. It can normalize the packratting I think,and make it hard to ask some of the questions that can help you decide what to keep and what to let go of.

    It is also a matter of making the time to go through stuff and figure out if it is needed or not. That can be hard to do, but I think it becomes more necessary as the child grows.

  4. Thanks all for the comments.

    Lauren, what you say makes a lot of sense. I have a really hard time discarding things and I a lot of it is because of the memory triggers in addition to the feelings associated with the items.

    Rebecca, thanks for commenting. I'll look for the book you suggested and give it a read.

    John, thanks for commenting. I think sometimes making the time is even harder than getting rid of the items in question. Making the time means I am actually going to DO something about the mess/clutter/plethora of stuff. If I'm not ready to get rid of that stuff, why would I want to make the time to do so?

    I'm not saying that I won't make the time now and in the future, but I can see how in the past I haven't made the time and some of the reasons why.



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