From Hopeless Hoarder to Decluttering Diva

I’ve been called a hoarder before. And I don’t take offense to that, because I kind of agree. It’s simple: things represent memories, and if I throw something away, if feels like I’m also throwing away the memory.

I typed ‘hoarder’ into Google and found the following definition on Wikipedia: Hoarders are people who lose the desire to throw away unneeded items because of a feeling of attachment to these items. So yes, I’m definitely a hoarder.

My husband and I have lived together for close to nine years. We lived in three apartments before buying our first house six years ago. As our space grew, so did our possessions.

2009: Happy Homeowners!

2009: Happy Homeowners!

Norwood, OH is known for its old, spacious houses with lots of character. We fell in love with the area after living in a great apartment around the corner from our future house. A lot of these houses have functional third floors.  What we envisioned to be our man cave and Zen den on the third floor ended up becoming never-ending storage for stuff I never got around the unpacking…even six years later.

Between Derek and me, I am the messier person. I always tell him ‘it just bothers you sooner than it bothers me…’ and honestly, I wish it did bother me sooner. It just never has. As regimented as I am in my work life, my home life has always been a little disheveled. I can usually find what I’m looking for but this hasn’t always been the case…like that time I lost our marriage license and really needed it as documentation for my name change!

After celebrating six years in our house – that now feels a home – it’s time to do the unthinkable: assess what we own and de-clutter.

We’ve both become interested in minimalism, and what better place to start than our home, where we spend a majority of our time? There’s no doubt having less stuff in our living space will make it easier to manage and ultimately lead to less stress. We’ve also visited some neighbor’s homes and see the potential our third floor can offer. So we’re making our old dreams of functional space a goal in this otherwise daunting project.

Joy of Less Book CoverA friend let me borrow a book titled “The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay. Just thinking about de-cluttering has always given me anxiety. But this book sets a really reasonable tone from the beginning. The author doesn’t dictate that you need to purge anything without an immediate use. She encourages you to really think about each item you own and decide:

1. Does it brings actual joy to my life or 2. Am I keeping it out of obligation?

If an item brings joy to your life, it should have a place in your home or be organized (not thrown!) in storage. The author leads you through this process, chapter by chapter, room by room. After starting this book, I can say with certainty that I’m not as anxious about tackling this project.

We’ve started with the third floor. Go big or go home, right? With Derek’s help, I’ve been able to part with more than I ever expected. I realized I don’t need to keep plane tickets from trips or clothes that have been in a box for six or more years. But more importantly, I don’t hesitate to say I want to keep something. Because I know I’m keeping it for the right reason.

I can’t wait to share our progress as we de-clutter over the next few months. Fingers crossed we can finish this project before the holidays. I can think of no better gift to give ourselves than a more comfortable and inviting home.

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