For as long as I can remember I have always been a saver. I can find a sentimental value to nearly anything. This is probably why archiving would be a tough job for me. As a historian I see value in random things. They tell us stories if we are willing to listen to them. I remember how hard it was for me the first time I was asked to weed out books. Who cares if they are old! After all, they are a reflection of the ideas of their time. Come to think of it maybe this is the answer to that weakness question that interviewers ask… It is a weakness because I don’t want to do it but I would also want to get the job done. Many times I found weeded books interesting and therefore saved them for myself. HEY I just learned something new about myself so this is automatically a good day!
Anyway back to my collecting… I used to have boxes full of random things. Schoolwork I completed in grade school, report cards, articles I printed, and papers I wrote. I had albums of baseball cards, trophies from my cheerleading days, old clothes I used to wear that I loved but no longer fit. Old uniforms and sashes with earned girl scout badges, pom poms, movies, music, and my Backstreet Boys paraphernalia collection. I am positive there is much more but I try to not remember. If I can’t recall it I can’t miss it right?
I use past tense because all of these possessions were lost to me through an unpaid storage unit of my parents. I was living with my ex at the time so I found out about it months afterwards. I was pretty darn upset about it when it happened but it is not like I had the money to save the stuff as I was always broke. Nonetheless it hurt.
So I am living with a crazy person and as you know that stuff was less than safe (ripped clothes, broken glasses, cracked kindle… you remember right I don’t need to repeat it right?). Yet these things were all I had. Add to that the feeling of having no where to go I was scared out of my mind to leave with nothing but whatever I could carry. I had no money to buy clothes. I had no money to do anything. So I stayed I guess partially due to fear of losing everything. My life felt like a down spiral that would never end.
When the time came that he let me go live with my aunt I had a duffel bag with some of my clothes and nothing else. All my other stuff such as a the rest of my clothes, a cable box, router, books and personal papers were left behind. These things would be recovered seven month later when he moved out of state and return what remained. In the meantime I remember sitting in my makeshift room feeling numb, lost, but yet unburdened. It was a nice feeling to not be bogged down by things. Things after all are not most important. My safety was. It was at this point that I let go of my boxes of self history.
Fast-forward to present. I now live in my own house and I am terrified of filling it up with random things I will never touch or use. I want to buy these shelving units but in the back of my head I don’t because it is more stuff to clean. I love to decorate but at the same time I don’t want to look back 30 years from now and see an attic full of holiday decor collecting dust. I decided to do staples and fill in the rest with dollar store decorations but then throwing them away is bad for the environment. I can’t fully win. Yet I have two things I have no issue collecting. Clothes and Funko pops. I need to get that under control but those darn pops are so f-in cute!
However, I noticed that there are many things that I have in the house that need not be… so like last year I will be participating in Lent even though I am not currently wholly religious. Last year I decided to give up shopping. Hardest 40 days but I did it. This year I am doing something a little different. I will be aiming to get rid of minimally one thing every day either for donation (or garbage). I will set up a box in my office to place donated items in and when lent is over I will take it to a donation center.
The idea came about from a weight watchers meeting about having less clutter will make you happy and therefore you will not overeat. At least that is what I got out of that meeting. I am a notorious emotional eater and I am well aware of how clutter makes me anxious so out it has to go! I think this experiment will be great for my mental health. It definitely got me thinking about whether or not there is an actual correlation between weight gain and clutter?
What will you be doing?