Stuff…

For whatever reason, I’m obsessed with the Tiny House Movement. I don’t know if it goes back to the inner ‘free spirit’ that still resides deep within me, somewhere. Or that the houses themselves are just so darn cute! Or the fact, it’s a house that moves! I watch the T.V. shows. I drown myself in Tiny House plans and even read how to build them. I envision Mike and myself, living in one, traveling from place to place. Living here…Living there…A Tiny House, so small and cozy…But what would I do with my stuff ? How did this even happen, acquiring so much stuff?

There’s our important stuff,  like my Hope Chest, that would never even fit inside a Tiny House. It was full of the hopes and dreams of a 17-year-old me. My Hope Chest held a single object (besides my ‘hopes and dreams’) when we married, a silver pitcher from my grandmother. This was all it held, as I would meet Mike and marry only 6 months later. After 43 years together, I’d say, it was the right decision. Then, there’s the stuff I’ve collected after a loved one passes. I was given most of my great-great aunt’s fashion accessories. Born in 1898, she lived to be 107 years old so you can imagine the array of ‘bits and pieces’ acquired. I have her hats. I have her furs. No, I’ve never worn them, but what do you do with a fur coat? Bury it? I have her evening gloves, and such. They all carry such memories, but at my age, it’s become a lot of stuff! When do I ever get out to wear my ‘oh so stylish’ goods, anyway? I do wear some of her hats and gloves in the Wintertime and rock the look, if I may say so myself!

I was in our garage recently, looking for something, digging through boxes and boxes of stuff. It actually took me aback! Here I am, in a garage so full of stuff, I can’t get my car in! That’s ridiculous! Am I a hoarder? No, I don’t so full of stuff, I can’t get my car in it! That’s ridiculous! Am I a hoarder? No, I don’t think so, but with this observation it made me wonder. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that this ‘gathering’ of stuff is another sign of my Depression, rather than Hoarding. Thinking that ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ will make me happy, is a fallacy, I’ve learned.  Depression creates a sense of fatigue. With Fibromyalgia, comes fatigue. With Vestibular Disorders, comes fatigue. Dwelling on stuff brings a sense of feeling overwhelmed by it all.

There’s research linking ‘physical’ clutter with ‘mental’ clutter. If our mind is cluttered, how can we possibly have clear thinking? My garage is the perfect example of physical clutter. I’m frozen by it all. Where do I ever begin?  All the attempting to problem-solving results in mental clutter, constant conversations with myself.  I had come to the conclusion, it was an impossible task for me to do. Ever… So, what did I do? I watched some more Tiny House Nation shows…I ‘Pinned’ garage organization ideas…I searched for Tiny House designs…All the while, doing nothing to actually clear out the clutter…

A few weeks passed. One day while doing laundry (in the garage), one of those boxes filled with stuff ‘called‘ to me. It was saying, “Open me up! Have a look around”, so I did. I sat in a chair and put the box at a good height so there wouldn’t be head turning resulting in dizziness. Oh, my gosh, this was crazy! As I leafed through the papers and whatnot, I found it to be about 90% trash! Trash, because it was old manuals for things we no longer had! Trash, because it was old stuff, very old stuff, irrelevant stuff. Why do I even still have them? Maybe I am a hoarder, but I was suddenly at the bottom of the box! This task took me about 30 minutes. When it was complete, I felt lighter already! So, I pulled another box over. Time passed so quickly, I hadn’t yet noticed, in just one hour I’d emptied 5 boxes! I was 5 boxes lighter, both physically and mentally. In full disclosure, I do now have one small box of stuff I’m hanging on to…for now…My garage is 5 boxes less and with this small success, I now feel it’s a doable task. I looked at the garage as a whole, rather than areas within areas. Breaking down the task into areas should have come to me sooner, but my mind was cloudy!

I don’t know if I will ever get my car into the garage again, but I will continue my ‘one box at a time’ de-cluttering. I doubt we will live in a Tiny House as Mike doesn’t ‘appreciate’ them as I do. He’s such a ‘downer’ reminding me of my age and the fact I’d have to climb a ladder to the sleeping loft…Oh well, no reason to not to continue going through my stuff…feels good to lighten my load!

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