Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Diary of an Indian Hoarder

Hello Everyone,

I am an Indian and I love to hoard things - those two might seem inherently exclusive traits but mark my words, they aren't! Growing up, my parent's taught me that I should respect books (because they are akin to Goddess Saraswati) and should not break my toys (because they are expensive to replace)...everything can be used and re-used till it's down to dust!

Old clothes which can't fit into/have worn out till their last thread should be turned into dusting cloth, hand-me-downs need to be preserved for the next generation, toys are for eternity, gift wrap needs to be re-used (because we love the environment so much) get the drift!

Problem : "If we have it...It must be of some use"
Solution : Accept the fact that everything can NOT be re-used, like humans, medicines and relationships - EVERYTHING has a shelf life! Once an item exceeds its expiry date - it should no longer be used/kept - no matter how dear the item might seem.

Inorder to start afresh, we need to dump the old. Memories are precious - items dating back to 1942, unless deemed antiques, ARE NOT!

I recently started auditing my clothes to get rid of things that I had not worn for 2 years or more and realised - I AM A HOARDER. I took out a section of my wardrobe and stared at it for close to an hour...trying to justify the existence of each and every worn out faded item of clothing I saw.

An hour and a half later...I decided to put everything back the way it was. The decision to part ways with my favorite tshirt from college, that skirt I used to wear when I was young, those jeans which no longer fit but remind me of "what used to be"...broke my heart! I couldn't do it...or could I?

I pushed myself against the wall and decided to give away half of my "Gone Were the Days" wardrobe and try to rebuild it with functional clothing that would neither make me look like a "wannabe teen" nor a "desperate grandma". How far I succeeded is still a grey area (this is being typed as I cling on to an old pair of one-size-too-small jeans). Apart from clothes, I hoard everything from empty Flipkart boxes to wrapping paper - with the hope that SOMEDAY I will use them to make something awesome.

That day may never come - HOARDING IS A DISEASE! We tend to stock up on useless junk with some pretext or the other - either we try to justify its functionality/recyclability or attach memories to it. I saw a recent advertisement on TV for OLX (an app used to sell old/used items) whose message was - if you don't get rid of the old how will you get new stuff? If only we all thought this way. Decluttering ones life not only heightens productivity with all the free space around but also gives you a chance to get new stuff and replace the old.

I cleared out a part of my wardrobe in an attempt to declutter - 3 jam packed shelves reduced to one! I can't begin to tell you the delight it is to open my cupboard now...not only are things NOT tumbling out and causing me injury but the mere sight of seeing all that space in the morning fills me with hope (sounds strange but its true). Inorder to overcome this disease we need to take one thing at a time - the ultimate aim remains DECLUTTERING ones life.

Ways to declutter:

1. Donate old clothes / shoes - if you haven't fit into it for the last 5 years - chances are YOU NEVER WILL - realize this and GET RID OF IT. There will be someone less fortunate than you who will be able to make use of that item.

2. Throw away old packaging / wrapping - you will not turn that old shoe box into an snazzy box to store are 28, working, with no kids - ARTS AND CRAFTS IS NOT HAPPENING. Gift wrap will set you back 5-20 bucks - you aren't attending parties every day - you don't have to be prepared for an apocalypse party that would need you to recycle gift wrap

3. Old course books / notebooks - hanging on to books you used many moons ago will not be of much use - 6th grade won't repeat itself and your kids will have a completely different curriculum when they get around to it...chances are the books won't make it that far

4. Stop holding on to the past - this is something applicable both to material aswell as immaterial things - the moment we let go...we can get rid of that thing!

Would love to hear more hoarding stories - and get tips on how to overcome this deadly disease!
Lets De-molish and de-clutter!!

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