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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Baggage dump!

I must confess, I come from a long line of hoarders and it is something that I have raged against for many years- and in some ways I have overcome it- but in many others, not so much. 

When I was younger, I remember living with my paternal Grandmother and walking into my Dads old bedroom for the first time and seeing his 'collection' of newspapers. The dusty, yellowing mess went all the way up to the ceiling. I was about six then- and when we moved from my Grans house in Soweto, his collection made the move with us, from house to house and each time it was of course larger. Later, our garage was also filled with all sorts of clutter that included exam papers from my parents schooling days, a nice comparison tool for when my siblings and I wanted to show our superior academic prowess over them, but oh so useless in the greater scheme of things. The clutter also extended to old toys and broken tools and ancient bits of furniture that my Dad swore he could fix up and re-use. Needless to say this never materialized and so the clutter grew year in, year out.   

I first heard about 'hoarding' as a condition, nicknamed the 'hidden illness' while watching an episode of the Oprah show a couple of years ago. In that episode a woman had so much junk and just stuff nje in her house that she no longer had room left to live comfortably, her children were at their wits end. I remember getting the shock of my life, of course I also had a good laugh...but actually it is no laughing matter.

A study done in Britain by a home insurance company revealed that 39% of their respondents admitted that their garages were so full of useful and useless household items, that they could no longer fit their cars in. All of this made me feel a bit better about my family- but it didn't solve my problem, so I resolved instead to tackle my own hoarding skeletons in the garage.

I went through five boxes in the last week and I shocked myself with the things that I had not been able to let go of over the years. I decided on the spot that all my letters from old friends and exes were keeping me bound in the past so it was time for some de-cluttering. It was a mightily satisfying foray into my past and I was in stitches reading old diary posts, but nothing was more satisfying than throwing it all out and feeling like I had taken a giant leap in overcoming my bad hoarding habits!