Monday, May 05, 2008

Recovering Packrat

It seems that I woke up one day and was knee-deep in boxes, colored folders stacked on top of the file cabinet, and bags of stuff that I don't remember hoarding away. I've repeatedly promised myself that I'd eat my Wheaties, take my Mega Men multi-vitamins, and ruthlessly clean my home office, bedroom, and living room, and I'm just getting around to sorting through the accumulated mess two years later.

I wasn't a packrat (hoarder as it's also known) as a child. I wasn't allowed to be because my mother ran a tight ship. Why then as an adult has my living space fallen into disarray?

Next to the wall is an old three-tier TV cart that I use as a table that's overrun with all sorts of madness (tropical fish food, aquarium supplies, and binders) that needs major dusting. I hope there's nothing alive on the lower self! My tropical fish are outgrowing the tank, but until I clean this mess, there'll be no room for a larger aquarium.

Why did I buy this handcrafted wooden Mexican bench from an online discount site? Was I planning a picnic on my third floor fire escape and forgot to invite guests at the last minute? It's been a storage space for a 20" Dell monitor and duffle bags filled with Xeroxed handouts from my days tutoring ESL and GED in Spanish Harlem.

I'm at the point now that I don't want to be in here, preferring instead to travel to coffee shops or lounges to write longhand or on the laptop. I dare not work through the list of literary hot spots recently featured on Writer's Digest online as an excuse before cleaning up my pigsty. I also think I was embarrassed for recent tearful and apologetic hoarders on Oprah. I pointed, jaw lowered, "Oh my gosh, look at her mess!" And then I turned around and looked at my mess and closed my mouth and sat in solidarity as I stared at junk that filled one of those public storage rooms.

I didn't set out to become a hoarder, and heaven knows if I knew how exhausting sorting through these bags, boxes, and folders would be, I'd have shredded utility bills as soon as I paid them, rather than file them for months on end.

If there any other hoarders out there, I feel your pain, but know that holding onto clothes you can't wear, media or writing magazines, won't do anything for you. Close your eyes and clench your teeth if purging the junk is painful, but just do it.

Back to the trenches. Wish me luck, or better still, come over and help me!

1 comment:

The Fitness Diva said...

I do have a bit of a problem myself.
I can't throw away those nicely colored and designed shopping bags from various stores, or the priority mail boxes that things I order come in. I also save bubble wrap and those foam peanuts, for when I get back into shipping items (what items, I don't know yet) to my future customers. That's not such a stretch, since I once did run a retail business.
Clothing, I just weed out every couple years due to the lack of room in closets, drawers, and shelves. Luckily, there is one of those clothing drop boxes near my house, so that ones easy.
All the bills from the past 3 to 4 years? That's a whole other story!
lol They just live here!