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8 Comments

    • Patricia Rusert Gillette
    • Posted August 29, 2009 at 11:05 am
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    It is an interesting dilemma!! And for me, I might need that some day! Where is the line between sensible holding and excessive hoarding!! Is it some kind of genetic hold over from those depression days that said keep everything! Is it like fat, a layer of protection. Is it just not being willing to deal with the housecleaning? I have been working on my own, and I think you are going with the correct way of healing from this interference in creating real quality of life. It is always a struggle to break the habits that hold us in place instead of where we want to be! Hope this will help all who come on board to make life a joy and not a burden!

    • Thank you Mom! You bring up a great point in fact, one I was going to talk about later on, and that is how this seems to be generational, for me at least. Was your mom like this, or her family? Or your dad, or his? I know that on the other side of my family it has been going on for generations, back to my dad’s grandparent’s on his mom’s side, and I am under the impression that his father hoarded certain things as well!
      I often regret getting rid of things. Sometimes when I talk to little grandma, who is 93, she laments the loss of things, long gone, and never even used, to my knowledge. For example, a set of Japanese china a friend brought back from Japan. I never saw it in use. It has been a recurring area of loss with her. There are others, things she will suddenly long for (her grandfather’s post hole digger). It is almost as if there can never be enough, even in the face of excess. She (and I share this, I am afraid) share the fear that we will have nothing in the world, as if stuff is a safety net. I will write more on this in another blog. Thank you for bringing it up!

  1. It’s hard to give up stuff–who knows, we might need it one day! I still remember giving away a bridesmaid dress, aqua chiffon, sleeveless. I knew I’d never wear it again, and there it hung in its plastic bag at the end of the closet, taking up space. Finally, after 15 years, I let it go, and years later I let go of all the other dresses I’d never wear again, that is, every dress I owned. But I still have a lace-edged handkerchief.

    • It’s crazy the things we remember and need to hang on to for a while. So much of identity, or the idea of identity is related to our stuff. I think it is important to remember that we hold our selves in our hearts, and minds, and not just in our stuff. Wonderful that you still have the handkerchief Henry. That is what I am looking for, moderation. Trying not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were, is key to my success. Thank you for sharing Henri!

  2. Hello Pauline,

    How brave of you to launch three boxes. It’s kind of like my Baked Potato fare. I’m sure you can turn it into witty, good fun and it will probably help you make the changes you want to make. Just lately, for the first time in a couple of years I’ve cleaned out my bedroom closet and my bathroom closet. In the end it was all about taking clothes to the second hand store and just throwing stuff away. I’m making the effort because someone else is going to be living in my house for three months. It actually turns out to be kind of fun, believe it or not.

    • Thank you for the kind word of encouragement Molly! I find this has been causing me quite a bit of panic. However, it is also helping me look at my stuff with new eyes. Forming a plan is helping. As a bonus, no one has thrown me out yet for admiting to this crazy compulsion!

  3. I think your posts are going to help a lot of people. Your posts are so conversational; it’s a pleasure to read your words.

    Two questions I’m wondering are if you think about the stuff in your home while you are out doing things (running errands, meeting with friends, working, etc.)

    What motivated you to start?

    • Geralin,
      Thank you so much for the encouragement! That is exactly part of my goal. I am hoping to change my own behavior and help out others along the way. I think conversation about this is important. So much of my behavior is about fear, silence, and shame. I think this is a way to help break that cycle for myself, and hopefully for others as well!
      I didn’t see the second part of your comment, at first, so I apologize for not answering originally!
      Yes, I do sometimes think about my things, the state of my house, and how overwhelming all this stuff is. It especially comes up for me when I am with a friend or someone that I would like to have over for a visit.
      My motivation is multi-layered, actually.
      First is that for many reasons, I want to change my life. This is now way to live, and I want to figure this out, so I can help my children have good habits before they leave. I also have started writing again for the first time in nearly 20 years, and I want to be able to be successful in both writing and visual art. I think my behavior is undermining and keeping me from any kinds of success or accomplishment in my life. It allows me to maintain the impression that I am not worthy. I want to believe that I am. I want to have some level of normalcy in my life. This is a good place to start, in my opinion. I am not sire how I will accomplish the change, or maintain it once I do. I think baby steps are important, as is awareness. I believe I have the power to change my own behavior.


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