This last few months I have noticed something terrible. I should back up and explain why this is so terrible. Many have seen the TV series “Hoarding”. My mother’s family are hoarders. My grandmother had the most awkward place to have family gatherings. She had a small trailer house with a huge table in the Living/dining area. The table was always so over the top cluttered that you couldn’t see who was across the table from you. Every gathering we would have to spend hours clearing the table and chairs to sit on. My aunt was worse than grandma. She had stacks of boxes full of junk that created trails to places in her home. She had so many plants that lived in her bathtub, I think the woman never showered or bathed, how could she? She had a small space at the end of a table for a book and the TV and maybe a plate and glass. The kitchen was a nightmare. You get the idea here.
Growing up I thought this was normal. My mother is just as bad as the rest of her family, somehow my father kept it at bay. She kept the areas less cluttered that guests would occupy and the kitchen table was for the most part clear. I know for a fact my dad would go through every once in awhile and gather up stuff and just burn it. I never understood why things would go missing and no one knew what happened. After my parents divorced I couldn’t stand to go to my mothers house. She seemed to accumulate more junk in one year than the whole family had in 18 years. I should stop now and thank my dad for keeping the clutter at bay.
My mother lives in a 7 bedroom home, every room is jammed with stuff. She sews and I have no idea what she does with the stuff she makes, but her home is always like a hazard zone, pins and needles lurk everywhere. She also has a garage and a barn with a 3 car port attached. Both of those are full as well. She has so much stuff that a few years ago her new husband bought and placed behind the house, two small trailers. Both are crammed full. So when my mother passes, if my brother and sister want to clean out the place more power to them. I want nothing. If they ask me what to do with it, my response will be burn the place to the ground. Seriously I will bring the gasoline and the torch!
Realizing that this is a trend in my family has helped me in letting go of material things, for the most part. Every time I move I get rid of more junk. I was cleaning my kitchen earlier this month and I have all these jars and lids that I have saved. Seriously I reuse them. I only buy things in glass jars and I reuse them to store things like rice and beans, spices, just about anything you can buy in bulk. My plan was to be so eco friendly that I have no real waste stream save some beer bottles and toilet paper rolls and of course serious compost. Which by the way falls to half when you juice, just a note on that.
So being as green as I want to be, I have accumulated so many jars and bottles that I have no place to store everything. And really how will I ever store that much food. Seriously I need to check myself. The books and vinyls are bad enough, but the glass jars have to go. I feel guilty for tossing them to the recycling, but seriously small space living requires less stuff. Besides, when I get old, I do not want my children saying burn the place down. I do not want to be a hoarders. I fight with it everyday. So I guess my resolve for this year is to really downsize my life. Starting now, with glass jars!
Maybe being green is a gateway drug, I do not know. What I do know is that trying to live simply is not enough, you must first allow yourself to let go of things, otherwise you may be that crazy cat lady on one of those episodes of “Hoarders” that tells those that love you and are trying to help you: ” do not throw that cat feces away, I might use that some day!” No seriously I think that knowing if you have those tendencies, you should try to figure out why you cannot let go. I know why I have a hard time, some is from my family but the rest is from being so poor that I couldn’t feed my children, buy things means less food for us, so I stash things I may someday need or use. Time to put that demon in a box and kick it to the dumpster or recycle bin. Either way admitting is the first step, doing is the second. The third and hardest is to keep yourself from re-committing the offense.