No, I’m not referring to the horror movie – this is about something far more awful and frightening. Every so often, my neat-freak boyfriend designates a “Cleaning Day,” an entire 24 hours devoted to tidying up around the apartment and getting rid of anything we haven’t used in a while. As a shopaholic and natural hoarder (seriously, it runs in my family), I can’t help but get a little panicky when I’m asked to throw things away. So the conversation with my boyfriend goes kind of like this:
Me: “I can’t do this.”
Him: “Yes, you can. Let’s start with this – which clothing items don’t you need?”
Me: “I need everything.”
Him: “Okay…Which clothing items don’t you wear anymore?”
Me: “I wear everything.”
Him (holding up sequin-covered top and dark blue wrap skirt): “Even this belly dancing outfit you bought on a whim?”
Me: *nods solemnly*
Okay, so maybe that belly dancing costume was an impulse buy. And maybe I’ll never get around to taking dance lessons or using my indoor trampoline or figuring out how to put on those outrageous fake eyelashes I bought. But for some reason, it’s still super tough to get rid of things. I LOVE shopping and I love things. I get a thrill out of receiving a package from Amazon because it’s like a gift from my past self to my present self. Nothing lifts my mood on a bad day quite like buying myself a little something.
Shopping has never been a problem for me, though, because I always stay within my budget. The only issue now is that there’s barely any space left in the small apartment I share with my boyfriend and my dog. The closets are full and there’s not many places we can put new things (even though we’ve gotten creative with our storage options.) So when it comes time to clean up the place, I know I’ve got to let some things go. And to be perfectly honest, a lot of the things I’ve accumulated fall neatly under the category of junk.
So why do I hoard “junk”? I think that at the heart of hoarding is an anxiety that there will come a time when you’ll actually need and use the “junk.” The problem is that usually that time never arrives, and you’re keeping all that crap for no reason. As someone who has struggled with anxiety issues before, I’m perfectly aware that letting go of irrational beliefs and the anxiety associated with them is extremely freeing. So for the sake of being freed and relieving my home of pointless clutter, I decided to put together a list of five things I don’t really need in my apartment. Here goes:
1. Magazines – I’m a total magazine hoarder because it just feels weird throwing away all that information, you know? I have no problem getting rid of flyers and receipts, but magazines sometimes have content that’s worth revisiting and rereading. In the olden days, this may have been a legitimate reason for keeping glossies forever, but the beauty of technology means that now most major publications are also posting their content on their websites. So goodbye, magazines!
2. Shoeboxes (and all pretty boxes, really) – I have a ton of boxes from ShoeDazzle (you know, the hot pink boxes all their shoes come in?) and perfume boxes
3. Business cards – I used to keep these in an ever-growing messy pile, just in case I need people’s contact info in the future. But now I just save the number and email in my phone and throw out the cards.
4. Books – I am a HUGE bookworm and a believer that you can never have too many books. That said, I’m also aware that there’s only so much space in the apartment. Enter the Kindle, my favorite way to download ebooks and carry an entire library around with me everywhere. And those books I own that I know I’ll never read? I donated those, and now my bookcase no longer looks like it’s going to topple over from the excess weight.
5. Clothes I know I’ll never wear – Okay, so maybe I did keep the stupid sequined belly dancing top, but there’s definitely a lot of clothes hanging in my closet that I didn’t even know I owned. So everything I was 100% sure I’ll never wear again (or even once, since some stuff still had tags on them) went to my sister and to charity.
Voila! My apartment is now free (or at least freer) of clutter and junk!