When I moved into this apartment complex, I planned on staying only a short time. I figured I would only stay here long enough to get some ground under my feet, sort out my life and my stuff and move on.
It’s been eight years.
I’ve never felt I really belonged anywhere, renting means you live at the whim of the owner. But it goes farther back than that. When ever I think of my childhood home, I think of it as “Mom’s house”. No matter that my dad lived there, built most of it, paid the mortgage. Somehow we lived there on Mom’s suffrage. I assumed that as I grew older and more adult I would someday have my own home, as a natural part of growing up. Boy, was I naive!
I have major changes and challenges going on in my life right now. As I am getting to the end of my hoard, all the bits and bobs that are left are the ones I didn’t want to face, emotionally or physically. I think a lot about where I am at, and where I am going. How much I’ve changed just since the beginning of this year.
I remember when I lived mostly by candle light after dinner. The places my friends said they liked to visit because it was so serene. (Me? Serene?) The apartment where, when my daughter was at my parents for the summer, I painted her walls strawberry ice cream pink and redid her whole room because she loved Strawberry Shortcake, and I wanted her to have the special little girl’s room that I never had. The first time I realized I could buy furniture just for myself and didn’t have to “make do”.
I can’t remember the last time I felt like when I came home it was to my special place. When I got too ill to work full time, I had to live with roommates. Then I fell in love with the wrong person and it spiraled down from there. Somehow, even though I was basically homeless, I still had a ton of stuff. Mostly ruined stuff, most of my good things had been stolen, but still, a lot of stuff.
I’ve never felt safe throwing things away because I couldn’t afford to replace them. Yet will all those walls of stuff around me, frantically clinging to what I could, I certainly never felt safe that way either. I can’t remember when I last walked in the door and was glad to be home. Life had just turned into a long guilt trip about the mess I was living in.
The last time Julie and David of Five Star Organizing were here, we organized the sewing area. Not quite as scary as the studio had been for me, as we had pretty much cleared the dross out of it while we were sorting the rest of the house. Still, a lot of triggers that made it difficult to make decisions quickly. Not to mention dust and smells that triggered anxiety…and asthma!
Also, it’s the last space in my apartment to be done. The final step. Oh, there is still a lot to be done, getting things sold and donated and organizing what’s left into better working order, but I only have a storage unit left undone.
I looked at my still cluttered space and realized that with a little bit of help cleaning, I was finished. At worst, it looks cluttery, but normal. No one would suspect me of being a hoarder now.
Because my home is no longer a hoard.
I don’t think the same way any more. Things being out of place bug me. I have zero desire to bring stuff home. I see a good sale on something, I think about whether I actually need and will use it in the near future. I don’t buy more than I need. Today I saw a peacock ornament that would look awesome in my peacock art nouveau bedroom. After a bit of thought, I decided it would be a great reward for reaching my milestone. My other impulse buys are limited to food and cleaning supplies. I feel good about what my new peacock represents for me. I feel good about the decisions I’ve made. Like cleaning without all the junk in the way, my mental junk has been cleared out too.
I’m trying to connect with the part of me that used to make spaces my own. I burn incense and light candles. I plan projects using the things I have on hand, but I make sure I don’t start new ones until I’ve finished the projects already in progress. That’s ok now, because I can see a future for myself now. A future where instead of having stuff, I have things I love and things I’m creating. I am forming a new image of myself the way I want to be. I have the freedom to explore that now.
Now I’m no longer a hoarder.