So last fall I watched the first season of Hoarders on Netflix streaming. This is an uncomfortable experience for anyone, because face it--hoarders are really gross, crazy and sad, especially when they try to explain why they do what they do and why they can't stop. I feel a little but for the grace of whatever go I while watching it, because while I've had rooms that looked like their chaos, it's never been whole house bad. Oh, and I don't traffic in poop on the floor.
There were two stories that I strongly identified with. There was Paul, whose property was going to be condemned and he was going to be put in jail because it was filled with recyclables in the form of old cars, washing machines, and a school bus. He thought of his stuff as a savings account for his grandkids, like he could time the market and sell it at the highest prices, only that never happened. He couldn't let go of the idea that it could be worth a ton of money and was paralyzed by the idea that he might not get the best price for it. And there was Jill, who believed that the fridge was some sort of magical suspended animation device that didn't let food rot, that expiration dates and mold were nothing to pay attention to, and also got transfixed by the beauty of produce and let it rot in the dining room instead of cooking it. She had had periods where she didn't have money to buy food and lived in fear that she might not be able to afford food.
I'm not that bad with the food (although I do have multiple types of cookies at any time and have been buying a lot of pasta) but I had this one corner of my living room that consisted of 4 banker boxes, 2x4 feet, and some other storage boxes. This was the collection of girl detective books that I collected in my 20s, when I went on a long Ebay buying spree trying to recreate my Trixie Belden collection and branched out into Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew and others. I kept them, like Paul, thinking I could sell them and get some cash, only time to set up an Ebay or etsy store never arrived. Plus, my post office has limited hours and I can only get there on Saturdays.
I need that space in my apartment. And more than that, I need the brain space. I don't want to be that person with unsightly clutter anymore, and a sad collection of her past that makes her feel bad about herself. Good god, sometimes I wish I were a drunk or a drug addict. The waste of my life would make more sense.
So I separated out my Trixie Beldens and another series of books my mom and then I read as children. I also kept some etiquette books , just for a little longer (I may give them away here). And I put the rest in boxes and booked a car for Thursday night. It's all going to Half Price Books, which will buy anything.
I put my bike in the space, and there's more space for the kitties to play. And the place looks a lot neater. I do promise pictures when I get the futon and the boxes out.