For the last two weeks since my oldest’s birthday party I have taken the pressure right off myself and focussed on coasting and resting as much as possible. All of the habits I’ve been carefully cultivating over the past few months have fallen by the wayside: I’m back to neglecting basic household cleanliness until things pile up too much and generally living from moment to moment. Things are pretty chaotic and cluttered and gritty, but we’re still muddling along OK with clean clothes to wear (which is easy enough given that we all have at least two weeks’ worth of clothes stuffed into our closets), decent food to eat (although much gets wasted due to poor planning), and basic standards of punctuality and preparedness being met (most of the time).
My brain has been much happier with me as I’ve been indulging my inner 4yo who constantly stamps her foot and screams “I DON’T WANNA!” whenever I try to get anything done. Rather than do battle with her I respond with “Fine then. Fuck it,” and flop back on the couch. I know it’s not a long term solution – the kids are definitely suffering from the extra mess and once I do get momentum going it takes so much longer to do anything since I’m so far behind before I even get started – but for now? I’m much calmer than I have been for a while.
So in this calm state I’ve gotten to thinking: is hoarding really so bad? I mean for sure, if you have mountains of useless rubbish teetering in piles in every room that’s really not a good idea. Obviously. But what if it’s all useful?
Last week my oldest had her end of year play for her drama class and she wanted to put a rabbit costume together (even though it was optional). We brainstormed the ears and at first she tried drawing them on old toilet rolls but that didn’t quite work out so she switched to regular paper. Then we grabbed a plain headband from her collection and stuck the ears on with sticky tape, adding an old crepe paper rose she made at least a year ago (that she found while looking for the sticky tape) as a finishing touch. Done.
For a snout I cut out a segment from an egg carton and found a stray pink foam heart in a random drawer that was the perfect size for the nose. We glued it on, drew some whiskers on the sides with a texta and attached some pink elastic from a bead-stringing set to hold it in place around her head. Done.
Then we grabbed a white singlet and pink leggings she’s had for ages. She decided to decorate the leggings with hearts and flowers so I pulled out a set of t-shirt markers I bought for her Book Week costume a few months back and let her have at it. Then I found a half used ball of pink wool and made a pom pom tail that I pinned to the bottom of her singlet with a random safety pin that was in the same drawer as the pink foam heart.
She had a super cute, homemade costume and we didn’t have to buy a damn thing to make it. This is the sort of situation that validates my “that might be useful someday!” mentality and makes it that much harder for me to conquer it.
So you know what? As of today I’m taking a stand. Hoarding has its place and isn’t always a bad idea. I just have to get better at managing it.
Out of curiosity I tried googling how to live well with your hoarding tendencies and I didn’t find a single positive result. Not one! Just a lot of “How to get over your hoarding tendencies” and “How to live with a hoarder” type of stuff.
Well I blow a big fat raspberry in your direction, Google! I’m going to make my hoarding work for me and be much happier as a result.