Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hoarding and Minimizing - Finding my Place on the Continuum

I've been thinking a lot about minimizing for years, and compared to many - maybe even most - Americans, I do live fairly sparsely.  I come from a short line of hoarders; Grandma grew up during the Depression, and her hoarding was attributed to that, though Mom's isn't as easily explained.  I refuse to fall into that trap, so an annual garage sale, and semi-annual trips to Goodwill are constants. Sharing an 850 square foot house with my husband, two kids, and two dogs, plus occasionally with my two step-kids, certainly helps keep the accumulation down.

A few years ago, I read an article about minimalism in ReadyMade magazine in which the author was striving to own fewer than 100 things.  I thought that sounded cool, but didn't do much with it. Recently, after reading many of my friend Bethany's blogs, I decided it was time for a closet-purge and thought I'd go for a reasonable number of each type of clothes.  Fourteen pieces total is not something I'm thinking about approaching, but I figured fourteen pieces of a certain type of clothing would be a reasonable beginning - two weeks worth of short-sleeves or bottoms or whatever (okay - I know that sounds like a lot, but I had to start somewhere, right?:). I figured that once I pared down, I'd work some sort of system where I have to get rid of a t-shirt every-time I bought a new one.

So, I opened up my closet, and started counting.  Thirty-seven short-sleeved shirts. Thirty-seven.  And that didn't count the ten or so at the Gladwin house. Or the two or three in the laundry.  THIRTY-SEVEN. "Good gosh," I thought, "maybe I AM a hoarder!"

So, with my girl's help, I did lose a lot of the t-shirts, and enough skirts, dresses, sweaters, pants and tank-tops to fill four plastic grocery bags. (How do I keep getting these things?  I've been bringing my own bags to Meijer for fifteen years, but never run out of those stinking plastic ones!) But, I did not - nor will I likely ever - meet the number goal.  I suppose I should just be content that I can actually fit everything into my tiny closet.