From Hoader to Minimalist


When I think of the term “hoarder,” I immediately think of the reality TV shows where people stock pile mountains of garbage and soda cans and boxes of anything and everything under the sun including some dead animals… Not that I’m “really” a hoarder – I don’t struggle to walk a 12 inch path carved out between the mounds of my stuff… You can freely walk through my home.  However, open a drawer or a closet door and you will definitely see lots of stuff…

I would say I’m more emotionally attached to my stuff.  There are things I save that I know I can use again, will need in the future, want to learn later like crafts, or bring back nostalgic memories.

Anthony Robbins says there are usually 5 people who influence your life at any particular time.  They don’t need to be physically present to influence you, just be an active part of your life.  Sometimes, you don’t even realize their influence until you take internal inventory. Remember when your mom said to choose your friends wisely? Yeah…

So who influenced my hoarding? Ironically enough, I would say my mom was my biggest influence.  Before I get struck by lightning, let me just say, my mom was the cleanest person I know, after my Titi Ana.  She just liked keeping stuff around. She had a particular skill at finding functional value for things.  Or it had valuable information and could be a reference for a lesson plan at another time. Mom was an elementary school bilingual teacher so sometimes that meant she kept the same stuff in both languages. Sentimental items obviously had a home with her.  Baby blankets, awards all three of us earned, my brother’s first architectural blue prints for his dream home, broken jewelry… Anything that was rare and could not be replaced were forever at home with her. So yeah, we had lots of stuff when I was growing up!

I never really considered myself a hoarder until one day my soon-to-be-ex-husband called me one many years ago after a disagreement.  Ah… the power of words.  I felt bad and denied it, but after the emotions passed I did realize that I had issues letting things go. I kept things for the same reasons my mom did.  I will use it… It reminds me of… It has a recipe I want to try… For a while I became great at storage and hiding things I didn’t want discarded so we wouldn’t have any more disagreements.  But, when I asked the ex to put the storage stuff away, they essentially were thrown haphazardly in the basement or garage, making more of a mess, just somewhere else…

When the Student is Ready…

Dr. Wayne Dyer always said that when the student was ready, the teacher would appear… Last night, I was on a conference call with my coach and our team… Our topic was doing things with intention and the joy it brings us. Somehow our conversation veered towards clutter at home.  I was introduced to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.

With the stress about listing the house, making it walk-thru ready and selling, I have been overwhelmed with the idea of organizing and finding storage for all of our possessions.  Have you seen the prices of storage units??? I was ready!

Thanks to the power of the internet, I was quickly able to access information about the KonMari process… Man, did she put things into perspective. I quickly discovered I had been thinking about this all wrong!  Even how I was cleaning, room by room…

Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.
Marie Kondo

How do you purge? Easy… You touch everything and only keep the things that evoke pleasure and bring you joy. Sounds too easy, right? Well, it can be a big task when you realize you need to dump EVERYTHING of a specific category all at once in front of you… Then hold each one individually and see how it makes you feel. “Does this spark joy?” After the first few, your internal voice starts speaking up loudly and you realize how you feel about these items, then the process will become easy to do.  That is, as long as you pay attention to that voice. It actually makes sense.  Why would you want to keep things around that make you sad, bring back bad memories or out of obligation???

I think the thing I loved the most about the KonMari process was actually giving thanks to the objects you are releasing… Thanking them for clothing you, for teaching you what you don’t like, sharing information with you, or providing you with some form of entertainment.

So how to you keep from relapsing? Marie Kondo has a solution for that as well.  Nothing is kept that doesn’t have a home.  How simple, right? So why don’t we already do that? Because we revert back to the same reasons we kept stuff in the first place.  But if we remember we keep only the things that spark joy, then this process should be easy. If its usefulness is over, then out they go… Don’t keep things “just because”…

What is the first thing to go for me…? My wedding dress.  I will thank her for the joy she gave me on that specific day and the bonding time I shared with my mom to find her, but her purpose has been fulfilled and her usefulness is over for me. Perhaps another bride can find similar joy in finding her now.

What will your first item be?


2 Comments on From Hoader to Minimalist

Belen said : administrator Report 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing! Emotional connections is the main reason for most of my stuff... except I never realized most of them were sad emotions. Relationships that failed, friends that were no longer around and so on... Releasing these items opens up room for better things to come, both physically and emotionally.

Kathy Marino said : Guest Report 5 years ago

Hi Belen. I so totally understand. My parents taught me to take of my things so they would last. Also, I suspect being emotionally upset and "looking for love in all the wrong places" has made me hold onto things. My husband called me a hoarder too. However, he is the exact opposite in a negative way. I have to chase him for paperwork just to do our tax returns every year. I'm hoping my new website will provide me with an outlet to unload some of my more expensive things. I like the idea of being thankful for what the item did bring to my life, be it joy or lessons of life.

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