Wednesday, January 25, 2017

taking tips from tv

    One of my favorite shows to watch is “Hoarders”. Besides always feeling like I need a shower after I watch an episode, I am always inspired to once again look around and sort. I find there are three categories, need, want and clutter. I am not entirely sure what the statistics are in this country for hoarders, but I believe it is safe to say it is becoming an epidemic.     
   Chances are you are one or you know one. Most likely it is a grandparent who survived the depression or an aunt or uncle or parent who grew up in their household. For me it is second generational. One of my parents was and is a hoarder, although it was not so bad when I was kid, it got much worse after my parent’s divorce.
     I fully credit “Hoarders” with helping me on my path away from hoarding. In the beginning I would watch it and say to myself “well I am not that bad”. Then I would begin to see a distinct parallel between me and the active hoarders. Suddenly it dawned on me, “maybe I do have hoarding tendencies... no, it is time to admit it, I have a problem, I am a hoarder”. That led to the ultimate light bulb moment of my life, “that is your future if you don’t change your ways!”. My name is Mel and I am a recovering hoarder.
    I decided to take lessons from it. Both the psychiatrists and professional organizers had wonderful words of wisdom. They had helpful tips, and healing suggestions. HGTV network had a show a few years ago called “Clean Sweep”. I found their 4 pile suggestion priceless, donate, sell, keep and throw away. Another priceless tool for me was Marie Kondo’s book “The Japanese art of Tidying Up”. Lastly, Courtney Carver famed creator of “Project 333” had a Facebook meme which was so simple and yet spoke volumes to me, “If you have to buy stuff to store your stuff, you might have too much stuff.” Whoa, am I right? The one I try to take to heart the most, “experiences and people over things, always”.
    The biggest crime in hoarding is choosing things over people. Across the board in every episode are the nameless victims of hoarding; friends, family members and pets. Time and time again the show shines a spotlight on the damaged relationships. This is especially so for children and pets who are subjected to live in these conditions with no voice, no place else to go and no “room to grow”. Many stop living with their primary parent for the safety and security of a real home somewhere else. It so sad to see clearly as bystanders the justification and blame the hoarder bats around to shy away from taking responsibility for the damage both literal (to the physical home) and figurative (the shattered relationships). Hoarding is such an unusually interesting mental health disease in that one can see the physical manifestation of their inner psyche and turmoil, physical depression and repression.
    One thing I most identify with the active hoarders on is the total anxiety around getting rid of the item. I grew to hate my stuff, I would come home overwhelmed at the sheer amount of useless things I owned and resolve to clean and get organized, but when I held the items my anxiety skyrocketed. It still does, I have just learned that getting rid of things feels better than the anxiety over initially letting it go. To this day, I can only remember a few things I got rid of, I have not replaced any of it, I have not regretted any of it. The more I get rid the lighter I feel both physically and mentally.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Moving in one car load

 Back in September, 2 days before I left for Europe, I moved to Mississippi...with one car load. I officially own less stuff then when I went off to college in 2001. Wow. What a journey!

 In 2010 I moved from Boston to Florida with a Dodge Ram 1500 towing a 6 X 12 Uhaul trailer. The bed and interior of the truck was filled as well. And when I say that the Uhaul was filled, it was FILLED. Floor to ceiling with? Who knows. All I remember is it costing over $1000 between the one way rental, gas and extra tolls. Then, I PAID TO HAVE IT STORED. I rented a 5 X 10 climate controlled storage from Uhaul for about $110 a month. I was in Florida for 10 months, so there goes another $1100. Then In May of 2011 I packed my car with what I thought I would need for 3 months and moved to Alabama, leaving my things in storage in Florida. I didn't have enough money to move them, that's right. I didn't have enough money to move them so I continued to pay to store them.

Hindsight being 20/20 I realize now that it would have been the perfect time to go through and donate or toss out those things, but they defined me, they defined what home was for me, because I let them. I hated that stuff, but I hated the anxiety and fear of loss over them more. I got stuck on "just-in-case". I got stuck that since I was out of work and didn't have a permanent place to live yet there was fear of not having the money to buy anything I got rid of that may turn out to be needed. So, no job, no clear plan on where I was living, no incoming income and I continued to PAY TO STORE MY STUFF. And, omg, to buy new SHIT. That's right, to spend money I didn't have. It is so embarrassing to admit. It was a painful, expensive lesson to learn and I didn't learn it for a few more years.

 At the end of August I did find a place to live and a job (which I loved). The first thing I did? PAY TO MOVE MY STUFF and then PAY TO STORE IT ALABAMA. Geesh, I am one hard-headed chick. I borrowed my friend's truck which needed suspension to haul a trailer and needed the wiring to tow, I paid for it. Then I had a different friend go with me to get it. 12 hours later in Miami the Uhaul guy tells me that the tow system built into my friend's truck doesn't have the tow capacity to pull a 6 x 12 trailer. The biggest it will do is 5 x 8. PANIC. SETS. IN. Whats more my friend while trying to be kind has put a time limit on our stay in FL We can't work on it for 2 days, we have 2 hours before we have to hit the road. Again in hindsight this was the best thing that could have happened. Unfortunately I did not take a lesson from it. The next 2 hours were a whirlwind. As I sit writing this I can only think of one thing left behind (shot glass collection, good riddance). I can only think of a few things that I actually took with me that I still have. 99% of it was donated over the next 3 years.

 It was an expensive lesson that took years to take hold, but I think was ultimately the most vivid imprint on my mind when I think of the cost of "stuff" beyond its initial purchase. Keep what you love and use if it serves a purpose for you, but don't be like me, wishing for a disaster to take my stuff away so the decision could be taken out of my hands and the anxiety wouldn't be standing in my way. Not a wonderful way to live life, having your stuff own you.

Jackson, MS pack list

Hey ya’ll! I went to Jackson MS this past weekend to visit with a friend from Boston who was down for the Mississippi Blues ½ Marathon. Unfortunately Jackson experienced a rare cold snap which resulted in an ice/sleet storm. We southerners, not being used to this weather, can not drive in it AT ALL. It shut down the highways and all of Jackson for 24 hours. Most distressingly for my friend they cancelled the race. So we spent most of the weekend eating at waffle house and watching a Wonder Years marathon on Netflix. I am so not a Winnie.

First off, all hail Tom Bihn! This is my first Tom Bihn bag and it is truly amazing. This is the synapse 25 in French Blue with northwest halcyon lining. I feel like a proud new parent who waited years for the arrival of this bundle of joy. The only accessory I have for it is the padded hip belt. I am a very short person so most of the weight I carry I like to center it at my hips. I will dedicate an entire blog to my years long research into the perfect bag (no such thing but TB come pretty close). 

Next is a medium sized expandable lewis and clark packing cube. I had been using travelon brand but the stiff piping makes it tough to place in a bag or suitcase at times. L&C allows more flexibility. I also have a no name black half mesh half canvas small pack cube for my toiletries. It used to be an art bag from my scrap booking set.

The rest is as follows:

allergy meds
(airbnb so no need for soap and shampoo)

My updated "will always take things with me list"
sleep mask
ear plugs
passport (you never know)
small notebook (I still like to write things out old school)
wool buff
Random item-sachet packet, I like my stuff to smell nice :-)
Also, I try not to go anywhere without my slanket (all hail The Slanket)

athletic shoes
yoga pants
2 tee shirts
1 long sleeve tee
sleep shorts
Under things

I took my dog with me, so he had a bag with his bed, blanket, food, toys, jackets (he is a Chihuahua), leash, harness, dog bowl and chew bone. He did not appreciate the weather either.

Last, but not least, I am a tea aficionado and am super picky on the brand and flavor, since I knew it would be cold I packed lots of tea, hot chocolate, coffee and sugar in the raw.

Luckily it has been in the upper 60's and 70's since then and I am a happy Mississippian.

PS sorry about the quality of this photo, I do everything on my samsung note 2 which is an ancient brick, but I like it.