Tim and I signed up for Netflix last week. (I know – welcome to the 21st century, right?!) One of the cool features of Netflix is the ability to instantly watch tons of movies and TV shows on your TV or computer.
I’ve taken advantage of the service, and one of the shows I’ve been watching is Hoarders. These people’s lives are literally being ruined by their stuff – “collectibles” and (for some of them) loads of trash. One common trait of the hoarders is that most of them say “I’m not a hoarder. I don’t hoard. I … collect things.” or some similar description of themselves. I wonder whether anyone can watch this show and not think “Am I … could I turn into … ” etc.
I’m no exception! As I watch the show and hear people rationalize every item they put into their “keep” piles, I hear myself going through items in our house and saying “Oh, I’m keeping that because Book Baby will fit into it in a few years.” “I’m keeping that because we use it when we make (whatever.” “I want to keep that because (fill in the blank) gave it to me.”
Now, don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder in the least. (Yeah, yeah, I know that’s what they all say.) But I am a pack rat, and I do like a good deal at the store or garage sale. (Fortunately, the only thing I really buy much of at garage sales is kid clothes – and I do have to clothe my children! I’m pretty sure it’s even a law.)
But … just to be on the safe side … I’ve found myself sorting through things somewhat this week, tossing stuff we don’t use, asking myself the Hoarders questions like “How will my life be affected if I no longer have this item?” and “Have I ever used this? Am I going to use it?” So far, I’ve weeded out some books – yes, it’s true, kids’ clothes, toys, and kitchen items. I’m hoping to weed out some things from the big kids’ room this weekend, though I may not get to it until next week. Sometimes it’s easier to do without them around anyway! I do weed out the toys throughout the year, but I think this time we may need to go beyond our usual criteria and ask “Do they ever play with it? Can it be saved for Book Baby? Will she ever have any interested in playing with it? Is it easy and cheap to replace?”
Anybody else need to weed out their stuff? Or if not, how do you keep on top of it? With five people in the house (and the three kids all at completely different stages/sizes of toys, clothes, books, etc.) we just end up with so much stuff in the house.