I’m coming out, it’s time to confess – I am a hoarder.
Apparently it’s a form of mental disorder most associated with OCD. I’ve often thought I’ve a little bit of OCD in me. Not enough to get in the way of life but things need to be straight things need to be exact. Knives, forks and spoons all need to face the same way in the draw, cupboards need to be closed (although that may be more Closet Monster phobia than OCD?) the rug in front of the fire absolutely has to be in line with the hearth to the point that sometimes I’ll spend an eternity adjusting it so it’s spot on (whilst making Matt stand there and lift the sofa so I can get it lined up and tucked under the sofa at exactly the right angle – he lets out an audible groan every time I ask’ to borrow his knee’). I always turn the bathroom light on then off again when I’ve finished in there and thanks to my Mother there’s a whole ream of superstious habits that I just can’t break. I throw salt over my shoulder even if it hasn’t been spilled (just in case) I always salute and say ‘Good morning Mr. Magpie’ (which can get quite time consuming when you live in a rural area) I don’t walk on cracks, or under ladders, or cross on the stairs, or knives, or cut my toenails on a Friday or Sunday – the list is endless.
I am (sometimes) both hopelessly disorganised and anally retentive at the same time. It can’t be easy for Matt to live with but most of the time he treats my little obsessions with humour and resignation, after all it was no surprise, the signs were there from the moment he first came back to my place all those years ago. I managed to cram my collected possessions from a one bedroom flat into two small rooms. There was very little that didn’t come with me when I moved even I found it claustrophobic but you never know when things might come in handy do you?
I’m getting better though. We’ve moved home three times in the last five years and every time we move I get rid of a little more of the clutter from my past. The biggest problem is resisting the urge to get new clutter – Freecycle is my biggest weakness, I’ve rehoused many a redundant item via the Basingstoke Freeglers but I’ve also found lots of things that seem like a good idea. On a positive note at least the scenery is changing.
The general opinion is that one of the dominant reasons that people hoard is to achieve a sense of control. They may not be able to control events in their lives but they can control possessions. I could psychoanalyse that part of my life all day but this would turn into an epic post and I’m not that keen to bare my soul in public.
There are the memories attached to things, gifts, travels, and happy times, things that recreate a past sense of belonging or of an ordered time in your life. Then there’s just the plain old feeling that ‘it might come in handy someday’ generally speaking when I apply that logic to something it usually comes in handy a week or so after I’ve finally decided to part with it!
So, prompted by a free listing weekend on eBay, I’ve been decluttering again. It’s always going to be a work in progress but it feels good to let go, it’s cathartic, and gives a surprisingly good feeling of moving on. Things, memories and even people are best left in the past sometimes and it takes a conscious decision and often a physical act to draw the line underneath a chapter in your life and look to the future instead of clinging to the past, after all, we can’t go back and even if we could I wouldn’t. To quote one of my favourite Authors, Douglas Adams – “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be”. I just need it to be a little less full of crap.