Some time last year, I decided I was going to end my hoarding habit in 2017. Since I don’t hoard by habit alone, this isn’t something I can just decide and do alone. Therefore, this also means I get mental and physical help.
My first step was to rewire my brain. Sadly, I can’t just call an electrician and say “Make it so.” All the work has to be done by me through trial and error. I worked hard on my thinking in 2016, and all of a sudden sometime in December, I realized my efforts were working! I’m not nearly as clutter blind as I have been all my life. The down side to that is the clutter is now driving me crazy! But I can actually begin to visualize a life without clutter. I notice that a lot of my frustration and procrastination are a direct result of hoarding. I constantly think “this would be so much easier if I didn’t have this much CRAP in the way!”
While thinking isn’t doing, it is a huge step. Before I buy something cute, I run over where in the house I will use it. If it has to be stored, it doesn’t go in my cart. My apartment is full of things I bought for the momentary joy, but don’t really need or love that much. Basically, cheap thrills. I don’t spend vast amounts of money, but now I think, what could that dollar be spent on that I would enjoy more? Will it move me closer to my goals or further? To my surprise, this works, even with buying the sugary treats I love so much. When I do buy, it’s something a little more quality, a little more satisfying than my original choice. I eat out more often, as my kitchen is still a bio-hazard. I now choose healthy Chinese food or sandwiches instead of fast food burgers I don’t really care that much for. The better nutrition pays off in energy and in feeling better mentally and physically. I’ve even begun thinking how nice it would be to whip something up in my kitchen again. Maybe my lack of interest in cooking comes directly from my hoarding. Hmmn, now I see that in print, yup, that’s exactly it! I’ve been blaming it on pain, but the hoarding stops me from figuring solutions to dealing with the pain. Nasty circular thinking!
I also have been better about getting in to see my doctor. I asked her to sign me up for physical therapy again. In spite of having taken a few years off, I don’t seem to have back-slid as much as I assumed I would. I noticed my body responded much quicker to the exercise than ever before. Even being derailed for two months by a health issue doesn’t seem to have stopped me, for the first time I look forward to my workouts. Not in a “I know I will feel better afterwards so I’ll drag myself to it” sort of way but actually in an excited “This is fun!” way.
Before Christmas, I noticed my OCD was kicking in big time. I made a conscious choice to do something positive instead. This time I took up my crocheting again. I made some beautiful snowflakes for presents, then carried on and made my first ever garment for myself. Even though it was beyond my skill level I kept going, choosing to see it as a challenge instead of a frustration. Along the way, I got frustrated by all the jumbled yarn and crochet thread I inherited. I’ve been meaning to clear it out for years, but it was OIS…Overwhelming, Intimidating and Scary. All sorts of feelings cropped up, leading me in the past to toss out a few things and then move away. This time I dealt with it and kept going. It took me two days and I tossed a full large sized garbage sack out. I cleaned my totes and downsized again. I was able to have a much more realistic view of what I would and wouldn’t use. And I will take another look at it in a few months time and if I haven’t started projects to use what I have, the thrift store will receive a large donation of yarn. I have left-over yarn from my Lotus Mandala Circular Vest, and now I can reach/store it neatly away until I need it again. When I’m tempted to buy some lucious skein of fuzzy beauty, I am much less tempted, knowing how much I have in my hoard. I even have all my new purchases indexed on Ravelry! Invision me mentally doing a victory run around a field while the crowd inside my brain go wild! Yay me!
The other progress I’m finding is that when I need to buy something to achieve my goal, I am much more ready to purchase it. I bought my first ever nice vacuum cleaner. A pet version of course. I still do the research and thinking about it, but then I shell out the bucks and get going. Having the right tools is liberating! I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a locking metal trash can for the kitchen. I practically hyperventilated on that one, but after two days of not having to pick up nasty things from around the house, I was ready to purchase another one! Mr. Majyk Trickypaws was totally foiled. In fact, he likes to perch on top of it and watch me work. He can’t knock it over or pry it open and it keeps the odors inside and not wafting through my house. Still think they are overpriced, but I will be buying one for the upstairs, as I’m beyond tired of the upstairs trash also ending up hauled all over. I’ll just keep reminding myself that a clean home is priceless!