The Reality of Hoarders and Winnowers

At a Halloween party this weekend a friend started telling me about a popular reality TV show called Hoarders.  The show (appearing on Mondays on the A&E Network) follows the lives of people who compulsively acquire things and cannot let go of them, resulting in their homes becoming ridiculously cluttered with all manner of junk (which apparently makes for popular reality TV viewing).

As we stood around the fire (it was an outdoor party), I thought of that internal deliberative process that leads us to either keep a personal item — whatever it may be — or send it to the recycling bin. Obviously that process has run seriously askew for those appearing on “Hoarders.”  As bizzarre as the lives of these people seem, I could still see a bit of myself in their behavior.  I am hardly a candidate for the show. Nevertheless, the old idiom came to mind, “There but for the grace of god go I.”

Raw Mom Sheds Skin

Eliza Ceci is certainly not a hoarder, but like me, she does not always let go of things so easily. “I tend to hold onto everything from receipts and scribbles on post it notes, to shoes that hurt my feet but look pretty, old batteries and even plastic bags,” she recently wrote in a blogpost on her website Raw Mom. Her reluctance stemmed not from sentimental reasons but out of concern that the items would end up cluttering a landfill.

Nevertheless, Ms. Ceci found a way to lighten her material load.  “I decided to not only get rid of the obvious superfluous items that were causing clutter but also decided to minimize my closet by a significant percentage,” she wrote. But as she dove deeper into her wardrobe, the process became more complex. “I would find a scarf given to my by a relative or a sweater I remember my husband buying me for the holidays one year – to purge or not to purge that was the question.”

What helped Ms. Ceci was to focus on the idea that the clothes she would give away would be used again to benefit someone else. After some research, she chose to donate her clothing to Planet Aid. She decided on Planet Aid because of the international development work that Planet Aid would support through her donation. “Giving for me opens space for new opportunities for growth, abundance and healing,” she wrote. “It enables me to move on and look to the future rather than feeling stuck in the past.”

We want to thank Ms. Ceci for her donation and for sharing her story with her readers. If you want to know more more, visit her website. I highly recommend the three-steps she describes there that helped her to winnow her unwanted from wanted items.  It is not only useful insurance for avoiding hoarding tendencies, but will help you feel good as you celebrate the process of what she calls “shedding a skin.”

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