the idea of Simple Living

In Too lazy to assign a category on January 9, 2007 at 10:30 am

   A hidden fund or supply stored for future use; a cache.

v. hoard ed, hoard ing, hoards
v. intr.
    To gather or accumulate a hoard.
v. tr.
   1. To accumulate a hoard of.
   2. To keep hidden or private.

Although the defenition found in Wikipedia:

Compulsive hoarding is a condition, thought to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, that involves the collection or failure to discard large numbers of objects even when they cause significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as cooking, cleaning or sleeping. Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania.

refers to a condition much worse than mine, I do tend to keep things around that other people might consider to be nothing more than rubbish, because those things might come in handy later on or, more frequently, because there are memories attached.

I’ve got hundreds of letters, concert tickets, movie tickets, and countless pieces of paper with telephone numbers or notes. I’ve got clothes I haven’t worn for years, old shoes that were repaired one too many times, horrible statues from all over the world, more candles than I could possibly burn in years, piles of books everywhere, old courses and magazines, empty bottles in strange shapes, glass for just about any occasion, kitchen utensils I never use, cans that are long overdue etc. etc.

Once in a while I try to get rid of things. But memories are brought back with most objects. Yes, that dress defenitely is at least four sizes too small, but it was a present from my mother, that day we visited Bruges together. It was a sunny day, our feet were hurting because we walked for miles and miles, we visited that interesting exhibition, then decided to grab a cup of coffee. Just around the corner there was this little boutique, and I was drooling over a dress in the window. My mom told me to go in and try it on, which I did and ooh, did it look lovely on me. It was quite expensive but she insisted on buying it for me. I remember just about each time I wore that dress afterwards, and the compliments that were made. Of course, I end up with putting the dress back, even though it’s way too small.

And yes, I can’t possibly wear those shoes anymore, but they were a birthday present from a friend whose address I lost and with whom I haven’t talked in years. I remember how he spent all day with me, looking for the perfect pair of shoes. I remember how he strongly disliked shopping and I remember the discussion we had about male and female shopping habits. I think about all the times we spent together and I decide to keep the shoes.

The house is stuffed with all kind of things that are rather useless and not even pretty. After reading an article on Simple Living :

What is it with our possessions, ideas, and beliefs – that causes us to hang on so tightly to them? Why do we get so buried and overwhelmed by our stuff? And best yet, how can we change the pattern so we can free ourselves to enjoy our lives?

and visiting The Simple Living Network, realising I certainly don’t want to end up like Richard and Claudia, mentioned in Halt the Hoarding or

like the Collyer brothers, “the hermit hoarders of Harlem,” who in 1947 were buried by the piles of urban junk that filled their four-story Harlem brownstone.

Source: So Much Clutter, So Little Room: Examining the Roots of Hoarding

I will give it yet another try over the next weeks. I’ll be this mean, lean, throw it all away machine :yes:

Further reading:

Freecycle (Changing the world one gift at a time.)
The Simplicity Resource Guide
Local Exchange Trading Systems
Local Currencies Directory
The Junk Man Knows / Garbage tells the stories of our lives
MemeMachineGo!: Syllogomania
Squalor Survivors
Ivy Sea Online: Knowledge-hoarding (this is another problem, but I do tend to hoard information as well, cfr. keeping courses from decades ago around.)
Link hoarding (nope, not me)
Software hoarding
Domain name hoarding

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  1. *grin* Good luck with that. I have the same sort of problem here.

  2. You might also like to take a look at Fly Lady. I prefer to think of myself as a "packrat" rather than a hoarder, but some of the stuff Fly Lady says have actually motivated me to get rid of a few things. She's one of those kind of things that you have to adapt to your own situation. Another thing I've done with clothing that I love but will never ever be able to wear again, is do stuff like make throw pillows out of old t-shirts, I either sew the arms and neck shut and just stuff it and sew the bottom shut, or I've also ironed the saying or picture part of the shirt onto that bondable stuff and ironed it onto an empty pillow case type thing and then stuff that or insert a premade foam form.

  3. I know what you mean about hoarding. For years I lived with a room full of boxes of stuff – university memorabilia, old photos, and a collected assortment of papers that had some special significance at different times in my life. I would weed through this pile of dust-collectors every tiime I moved, but it kept on growing.
    So what happened? Well, I'm more free of stuff now than another other time in my life, but I can't take any credit. My partner hates clutter, and just kept throwing stuff out. Yes, whether I like it or not. You can imagine how I raged and sulked and threw a fit everytime a piece of my personal life history (no matter how useless) disappeared…
    Strangely enough, I've become, well, almost used to it. And I don't miss most of those personal bits and pieces, in fact, I don't even remember now what has gone missing. But I don't think I would have had the strength to get rid of all that clutter. Sort of like Frodo, I guess, unable to throw away the one ring – sometimes it does require radical surgery, and outside intervention.

  4. Same here! hoarding the stuff which either brings nostalgic memories or "might be useful some day" – clothes, old computer/game manuals, broken hardware, postcards, books which I never re-read and CDs which I never listen to… what's sad – occasionally some junk item *does* become useful, so I can't even convince myself that I'll never need any of them anymore, and predicting which ones are not so hopelessly useless is an art! I've tried the "throw only 10 things" idea, but pondering which 10 preciousssses to part with is too stressful 🙂 At least with the advancement of the computers and the Internet it's easier to get rid of many material possessions, replacing them with their electronic forms (books, music, games, photographs, diaries) – so much more organised and less cluttering!

  5. My grandmother kept everything, even old carpet she ripped out and replaced. I'm just the opposite. I get rid of things every 6 months or so, and I donate them to Goodwill. I can't organize my brain when I have so many things to find places for. When I see piles of stuff in my home, I get very irritated. But sometimes, I think, "Darn! I should have kept that dress. It probably would fit me now."

  6. I guess I'm lucky, I don't have any "Personal" clutter. My family though, can't throw anything away. I have spent days filling garbage bins (once around 20) and when I was thoroughly exhausted looked around and noticed the place still looked over filled with crap. Go figureAnyway, to your problem. Another idea is one a friend of mine employs. She uses pieces of memory in photo albums and creates memory pages with them. She also buys shadow boxes and creates "memory art" with larger objects and puts them on her wall or in furniture. Larger pieces she tries to photograph and places them in the memory book, along with the story behind the piece and if possible, pics of her friend or the moment.The rest, she keeps until she can think of someway to use them.

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