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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Cliche of My Stuff

It does not take a genius to figure out why I have so much stuff. Let me be clear here, I am nowhere near the people on Hoarders. I make jokes but we have found no dead cats so other than a gazillion pictures, books and clothes that I don't wear anymore, I think I am still okay. I do, however, have too much stuff and not enough space. When you are one of seven people living in a townhouse, you have very little space that is your own. Growing up, with five kids, it could get messy really fast but my mom was the Queen of Order. After I went to college, I loved the fact that everything I had in half of the little room was mine...all mine. I didn't have to share any of my hair stuff or my clothes or anything. If I didn't feel like making my bed, I didn't. If I didn't feel like hanging up my clothes, I didn't. It was incredibly liberating. The problem is that no matter how hard I tried to keep up with it, I just didn't. Everything else was more important. Then I got married and had a house I took pride in. The mail was always an issue so papers would pile up waiting to be looked at and then I married another saver so things just accumulated. We lived in a big house for the two of us so there was a lot of space for our stuff. We had one whole room that was the overflow room. Then we had Nico and I wanted to give him the world. He had so many toys and books and clothes. It made me so incredibly happy to buy clothes for him. He was the best dressed kid...a total Gap kid. It doesn't take a professional to see that since I was having trouble giving him a sibling, I instead gave him material things. I didn't want to think about not being able to get pregnant again, so I filled that void by buying things for the child I did have. Then I did get pregnant and things were under control. We found out Nico and Tommy had CF and I'm pretty sure that is where the big "saving stuff" began. I didn't know what the future long...and I just couldn't throw away anything of theirs. It wasn't fair to just save their stuff so I saved Belle's as well. I had bins for their stuff (never big enough) but no place to put the bins. I'm not was bad. I even saved a whole phone because it had the answering machine built in and it was Nico singing "That's Amore". How could I throw that away? What if...

Going through the house like I am, I am overwhelmed by the pictures. I love that I have them but I have thousands of loose pictures (thank God for Shutterfly, though I can't use it because I don't have a computer I can download pictures to). I remember trying to scrapbook but getting lost in the moments of the pictures. I love my pictures. I love all the ones that are in frames and want them all over the house (tastefully, of course). To have a moment captured the way pictures can I get rid of them?

We have already talked about my books and I am doing well with getting rid of a lot but even so, I'll probably have close to a hundred books that are mine and who knows how many that are the kids'. A lot of the kids' books filtered over from my teaching days and it is hard to let those go. It took me years to build up a very impressive library. I love to read and it is so much a part of who I am that it is hard to cut back. My good friend told me I should start going to the library but that never worked for me. I hated giving them back and I hated being on a deadline of when to read them. Then they'd get lost and I'd end up paying for the book anyway.

I am working on my closet and the kids' closets right now and I have to say...I'm pretty stuck. I have the hardest time getting rid of clothes unless they don't fit. Even then, I will fit into that size 0 dress again, right? Someday, right? Now that I have the treadmill, I will, I will! Let's face the time I will fit into that dress again, I will be a shrunken little old lady and it will be out of style or I'll end up wearing it at my own funeral and I'm pretty sure it is a rule not to hang onto a dress that will only fit you after you die.

After Rocco died and I had Gia, things got even worse. I LOVE being a mom of a baby again. I got to experience all the new things that are out since having the twins. I love to buy her clothes and books because she loves them. Does she need 12 fleece sleepers? No. Do I love to buy one in each style? Yes. I think now that I am aware of it, half the battle of keeping it under control is won. She's just as cute with 5 sleepers as she is with 12.

I will say that I think clutter keeps things warm. My middle level is all of a sudden freezing. Anyway, it doesn't take a mental health expert to figure out why I save things. Material things are easily accessible, they don't get sick and they don't die. It is a cliche for a's true.


At November 16, 2011 at 8:17 PM , Blogger Declare Order said...

Excellent piece, AnnMarie.

At November 17, 2011 at 6:16 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

Thanks so much, Leslie. Being this open about doing it and the actual process of purging the house is pretty draining emotionally but so worth doing it.


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