by Kris Neri at the Femmes Fatales
I have a confession to make — I’ve started purging. No, I’m not confessing to forced barfing. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve begun shedding stuff. I’m building up bags and boxes of things to donate to charities that we don’t really need.
We seem to have become a nation of hoarders. No, maybe we don’t all have aisles between stacks of newspapers in our homes, but we are still crammed with possessions. Consider all the self-storage centers that have cropped up across the country. Aren’t those places largely the reason we aren't all trapped in newspaper stack-aisles? According to the statistics I found online, the self-storage facilities we have in this country provide 2,300,000,000 square feet of storage. It’s a $22,000,000,000 industry — that’s twenty-two billions! That’s a staggering payment. We’re paying to keep what we don’t entirely want, but which we also can’t give away.
By comparison, I actually feel pretty good about my situation. I don’t even have a storage unit. And most homes here in Arizona don’t have basements, so that seriously cuts into how much I can store in my home. But before I congratulate myself too much, I should admit I can’t remember the last time we were able to get a car into our garage. And while our home came with exceptional storage spaces and large walk-in closets, they are all filled to bursting.
How did that happen? I really don’t know. We’ve actually purged things at various intervals. When we moved from California twelve years ago, I carried in eight big bags of clothing into thrift stores, along with lots of boxes. And we’ve had two yard sales since.
Besides, we’re not really big shoppers. I honestly can’t remember buying all our excess. But unless we have secret sleep-shopping habits, it has to come back to us.
The most embarrassing admission has to be how much I long to hold onto totally useless items. How I stand before the “keep” and “purge” piles, unable to toss some items either way. I’ve seen that in other people, too. I’ve gone to a few sales held at self-storage yards, when the owners of the facilities sell off the items of those who stop paying rent on their units. I’ve always thought I’d be embarrassed to pay to keep those ratty
items. And yet, while I’m not paying to store them, I am holding onto things I should be able to let go of. Am I really ever going to fit into the minuscule sizes of out-of-style clothing I’m holding on to? How many old coffeemakers does anyone need?
Seems like it should be an easy choice. The trouble is that I remember too many purging mistakes. Items I felt sure I’d never use again that I now wish I had. Or worse, things I felt sure I’d never use again, and have now bought again. What was I thinking when I purged those items?
Maybe it’s not too late to reconsider the storage unit approaching. I’ll just have to hope that years from now, I don’t kick myself for paying a monthly fee to keep items that it turned out I never needed at all. Decision, decisions…
So, how does it work for you? Are you a purger, or a hoarder?