The Life-Changing Magic of Why Do I Own All of This Stuff Again?

I come from a line of packrats.

My people are not destined for an episode of Hoarders, and thank goodness for that, because if I lived in a home where there was a possibility of cat skeletons being buried in the corner under a mess of hangers and paper bags, I don’t think I’d be able to recover. We are, however, collectors. My grandmother liked elephants, and so she had stuffed and ceramic variations throughout the one-bedroom apartment she and my grandfather lived in my entire life. My mother liked mice, and Elvis, and then there was that whole porcelain doll phase in the eighties and nineties (thanks a lot, QVC), and so she collected them. The dolls are (mostly) boxed in the basement – along with some Norman Rockwell collectible plates – but the mice and the Elvis memorabilia live with us.

I liked bears, and so, as a teenager, I started collecting Boyd’s Bears (looking at you again, QVC) as well as figurines and other bearlike tchotchkes. I’m also a consumer of media, and so I had large collections of books, CDs, and DVDs that amassed during my twenties.

When I moved into my own apartment a few years ago, I had managed to get rid of a lot of stuff. My collections were scaled down considerably. My home wasn’t too cluttered – though there were still piles of “stuff,” which I tried to keep to the bedroom, where no one would have to see it. The pattern was broken!

But then my dad died, and I moved back in with my mother. Two households of stuff became one. And now, almost three years later, I’m surrounded by stuff.

We made it through another winter, so naturally, with spring in the air, I am itching to purge. I could swear I threw out a ton of clothes last year, but I feel like I still have way more clothes than I do regular wearings of them. And so, I bought some of those velvet, thin, stackable hangers (yep, QVC!), started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and had the urge to throw away almost everything I own (and everything else in this house, too).

PS: If someone wants to come over and hang up my pictures, which have been stacked on my (covered) coffee table in the living room for 29 months, that’d be great. We need a drill that works through plaster walls, or those sticky hang-it things that will actually hold the weight of framed artwork.

Marie Kondo says the tidying process could take six months, and if I know myself (and who knows myself if not, well, me?), I’m going to stumble upon some detours in this process. But okay, I’ll give it a go.

Have you fallen down the rabbithole that is KonMari? Tell me about it.

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