Friday, September 6, 2013

About a year and a half ago I and a few gardening friends simultaneously, suddenly, decided that we wanted to address our hoarding/slovenly natures. Our histories were quite similar....lifelong environmentalists/permaculturists averse to throwing stuff out, knowing it would end up in long low/uncertain incomes so dumpster diving/scavenging items, keeping tons of stuff because "it might come in handy someday" was CENTRAL to our way of life and surviving financially.....creative natures that make working with found objects fun vs. just buying something....LOTS of interests/passions/avocations that made housekeeping boring by contrast. When we tackled the issue we each relied on the "salami approach"....slice a seemingly insurmountable problem into manageable challenges. In my case I started at the west end of my home and moved obviously surplus stuff from there into my office....the deaths of my parents saw a LOT of stuff go into that room as I prepared their home in Okeechobee for sale. I set out on the curb week after week duplicate the several fully functional vacuum cleaners I had for neighborhood freegans to pick through...I set out there VAST numbers of plastic pots, soda and bread racks and more from the back and side yards. About a month ago Renee and Stacy helped me do the FINAL purge of what remained indoors, and to do a DEEP cleaning of my entire house. I am still not ethically comfortable with the INCREDIBLE amount of stuff I put in my garbage can for two weeks, knowing it all ended up in a landfill, but I remind myself that 99% of it came from the waste stream anyway. The house feels SO much more open, freer, and friends here for my Wacky Hat 60th Birthday Party marveled at the changes....and the office hadn't even been tackled yet! Now it has, with just a few containers of stuff below my airplane making table remaining to be sorted. I am now practicing a few techniques that both women taught me, and that my Dad and tidy friends have always done instinctively, to KEEP it tidy. It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! I did this in part to honor my Dad who was super tidy since childhood and who did not say a WORD when he visited me here his last Christmas although I am SURE he was horrified. One friend has been steadily purging for a year now, a married couple are doing it, and another friend is down to just two rooms. What's funny is how often this "urge to purge" has come up over the last year at various gardening potlucks I've attended, with folks sharing the feeling that hoarding so much crap bogged us down with inertia! Please be seated when viewing the pics in case you faint!

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