How Not To Be a Hoarder

{side note:  what exactly is the rule again on capitalization in a title?  Is it that any word less than three letters is not capitalized?  I never can remember…}

I’m usually more of a Shark Tank or Celebrity (or non-celebrity) Apprentice type, but I went against the grain one night last week and watched Hoarders.  It’s not unlike a train wreck…you just can’t look away and before you know it you’re emotionally invested in these people’s lives and wanting to call and donate to a psychological care fund for that poor, poor Chicago-area woman who had to climb over her own crap just to get in her back door, and then you want to call up her two daughters and invite them over for a hug and tell them it will all be OK and that they don’t have to follow in her footsteps and you will be sure they don’t.

No, that’s not my usual cup of tea.  But I watched it and re-committed to my mantra:  Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  Having watched that show, I decided that not every single watercolor butterfly or eggshell caterpillar the boys made in their combined six years of preschool was, in fact, beautiful enough to be kept.  I dragged every one of the plastic tubs I’d stuffed full of memories out into the game room and went through it, piece by loving piece.  And here’s what that looks like:

Hoarders, mess, preschool, The Fly Lady

My goal was to reduce it one container per child so that I could keep only the very most important things.  The last thing I need is one of them showing up on some talk show in 2015, blaming their life’s tragedies on the fact that Mom didn’t value their childhood enough to keep at least one box of their junk.  And that is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me.  But any more than one container would put me in the category of people who can’t let go of stuff.  You know, the category called “Hoarders.”

By the time it was all said and done, the room looked like this:

Hoarders, mess, preschool, The Fly LadyHoarders, mess, preschool, The Fly Lady

That’s five empty plastic containers that I can use in the garage to corral the various balls and bats and rackets, and two lawn and leaf bags, ready to be taken out to the trash.  Giddyup. It took me roughly four hours, but it was time well spent.

Photography tip:  You know how it was all the rage a while back to “fill the frame with your subject”?  That’s cool and all and certainly has it’s place depending on how you intend to use the image, but if you do that all the time you miss out on the little background gems.  In these shots, things like the globe, the games and books on the  bookshelf, the turtle Pillow Pal on the rocking chair, the rocking chair itself, etc.  Sometimes, the background tells a better story than the actual subject itself.  Something to keep in mind.

I think I’m going to make a monthly date with that show going forward to ensure that I will never have to worry about being attacked by my own stuff when I open random doors in my home.  Who’s with me??


Steph, the non-hoarder


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