Hi, my name is Raevyn, and I am a recovering (I hope) hoarder. I have entirely too much stuff, and when I think back to what I inherited 8 years ago, when my mother died, I am appalled! I have blogged in the past about the amount of stuff she had… Some was hers, some was what she had inherited from her mother in 1992, and never dealt with. My mother admitted her packrat tendencies, and I've always been pretty honest about mine, but my grandmother absolutely denied that she was a packrat until her dying day. Yeah, that's why, back in October, as I was preparing to clear out of my last place, my sister, brother-in-law & I threw away receipts and paid bill notices older than I am… Edie was the 4th of 8 girls, raised in the country. Even now, many families with 8 children, who are not selling their stories to the highest bidding television network, manage without a lot of extras. She raised her family during the Great Depression and World War 2, she learned to conserve, and, I am sure, save things that were likely to be useful later. I understand jars, dishes, and the like. I even understand tax, real estate, and major purchase papers for several years back, but at one point (before Mom died), I shredded 2 file drawers full of tax returns from the 1950s & 1960s! Over the past 8 years, I have done several purges, and I've gotten a good bit of it under control, and begun to put into practice "If I am not willing to dust it regularly, or actually USE it, I don't need to keep it". I still have some boxes to unpack and put stuff away out of in my bedroom, but by the end of Saturday, I WILL have that done, and be in the process of making my little room into a home for me and the heathens, small though it is.
I have a friend, who is a dear sweet person, and having seen her space, talked with her about some of her things, and having a bit of other background about her situation, seeing her issues objectively, has allowed me to both rationalize some of mine down, and put mine in perspective at little bit better.
For whatever reason I believed that I was in control of the material things in my life, keeping them scattered and messy, because it is my life, and I don't have to arrange my things to suit anybody but me. I rationalized it by saying that I was controlling the chaos. The reality is that the chaos has ALWAYS controlled me. For as long as I can remember being directly affected, there was some sort of chaos, either physical, or emotional in our house. After the divorce, especially when we moved out of the house we lived in when we came back to TX, there was always an area of unused, or rarely used stuff. Baby clothes, outgrown toys, more Christmas stuff than we could EVER use. Sometimes it was in the attic, out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes it was in a closet or a storage building (again OOSOOM). Our 2 car garages NEVER held 2 cars that I can recall, though they usually held one. For YEARS, I moved boxes, unopened, from the house, to a storage unit, to the next house (in the storage building behind it), and to the next house (again, in a storage building). I have gotten rid of (or am in the process of getting sold) the 'heirlooms' that either I don't love, or I'm fairly sure none of the next generation is interested in. I have no need for a bazillion baby pictures of myself, or my kid brother who died 21 years ago. Our genetic line ends with me. I've kept a handful of photos from various time periods, my sister has some, and our brother has a few as well, I'm pretty sure. It was so very important to my mother to keep the past, and to hold onto those material things from her past… clothing, photos, costume jewelry, books, vinyl records, inexpensive artwork from the places she had visited, trinkets from the places she had been. Those were HER memories, they are not MY memories. My goal is to be able to store, once I am back into my own space that consists of a whole apartment or house, no more than my garb for faire and my holiday items, both of which are seasonal, instead of using only a small fraction of what I own.
I have spent years compensating for whatever it is that I was missing at that moment, by surrounding myself with things, and running away from the clutter and disarray that has been my home. Sometimes that has been a love interest, other times Mom, other times a family of my own. That run ends now. I am taking control of my space, accepting some responsibility for helping to maintain the rest of the house, and figuring out how to dream again.
Tomorrow morning I will be up at a reasonable time, and until we leave to go help our friend work on her clean house adventure, I will be in my room, getting things unpacked and arranged so that it's a pleasant and welcoming place to be, rather than the cluttered cave that I've allowed it to be for the last week.