OK, so I’m a pack rat. Yes, I am. I admit it. I don’t think I’m a hoarder, because everything I see on television about hoarders is about buying tons of things that they don’t need and stashing them just in case they might ever need them or they may never be available on the planet again, or for no particular reason they know. For me, much of what I keep is sentimental; Reminders of the past. I don’t go out and buy an excess of anything, but I do keep odds and ends for the “just in case I might need it someday.” It’s a habit I’ve had forever it seems. Interestingly, and I think my ex might say it’s true, every time I finally got rid of some of those odds and ends under pressure, sure enough, the day would come shortly thereafter where we needed a little something just like the little something that I just threw out…
My condo is FULL. As if I didn’t have enough stuff to move, at the time my ex and I parted ways, I had already cleared some stuff out of the garage and into a “climate-controlled” storage unit. Oh, I thought this was a fabulous idea. Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner? It wouldn’t be in the way and I could go through it at my convenience. You see, by this time, I had taught at, been in administration for, and seen the doors close on five different massage programs. You know what it’s like to empty an office… especially for a pack rat. And then there’s grandma’s china, miscellaneous tools, sound equipment (singer and songwriter me), and more. Just the smallest unit, I packed it efficiently. Then, one day, I received a phone call from the facility: “We are re-purposing the climate-controlled building.” I had one day to empty my unit. One major U-Haul truck trip and, to where? Why my living room, of course! And there it lives ever since. It’s embarrassing to tell, but it’s now been over a year and most of it (I did manage to give some things away) is right where it landed.
In my defense, I had begun to suffer severe back pain developed over years and just couldn’t face the prospect of going through boxes. Well the surgeon has fixed my back and I’ve been laid up at home amidst it all and I have promised myself that as soon as I am able to lift and move things again, I am going to tackle it. All of it, and more!
I came upon the book you see above, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders, and, while I’ve always thought I believed in the ideas she pursued, I sure can’t say I’ve lived them. She challenged herself to stop drinking (Fortunately, I gave that up long ago.), stop buying anything that wasn’t on her “approved shopping list” for a year and begin giving away anything and everything that was not essential. Being parked at home, I was painfully aware (pardon the pun) of the mess I had before me and apologized profusely to the dear friends and my wonderful sister who stayed with me when I first got home from the hospital. But Ms. Flanders’ book inspired me and made it bearable. My healing is slow, but sure and I’ve even returned to work on “transitional duty.” One of her suggestions is, “Tell everyone what you’re doing.” She says it helps create accountability. Well, I’m telling y’all, so I guess now I’m accountable. Stay tuned.
About Jan Schim
Jan is a singer, a songwriter, a licensed body worker specializing in CranioSacral Therapy, and a teacher. She is an advocate for the ethical treatment of ALL animals and a volunteer with several animal advocacy organizations. She is also a staunch believer in the need to promote environmental responsibility.
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