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See ya later junk

October 21, 2011 - Kristy MacKaben
I am a hoarder. Ok. I don't belong on one of those creepy shows, but I have realized I hold onto things way too long. Sometimes it's really difficult for me to just throw away stuff---especially if it has sentimental value. Take for example the dozens of boxes and tubs stashed in my childhood home in Baltimore. I moved out 8 years ago when I got married, and my parents moved away probably four years ago. They still own the house, but are renting it out. When my sister moved out of the house this spring, we emptied the attic. I had the most junk hands down. Apparently, I kept every single report card, essay and book project I ever created. There were notebooks galore filled with stories, poems, doodles and random thoughts. (These did not even include the 8 diaries I have stored safely at my house in Altoona.) Then, there were letters from friends, family members, notes classmates had passed to me in middle school and even letters and notes I wrote to people, but didn't dare send for whatever reason. There was a tub filled with every newspaper article I had ever written, good or bad, and another tub reserved for trinkets, including my beloved ceramic turtle collection. It was painful for me to sift through those boxes and whittle down my memories into two boxes. (Scott is entirely the opposite of a hoarder and he's always looking to get rid of junk we don't need, so he made up the rule about only bringing back two boxes to our Altoona house.) That was a few months ago, and now Scott and I are in the process of ridding our own house of unnecessary stuff--toys, clothes, gadgets, food, anything we don't need or use frequently. This week I attended a seminar on organization for the newspaper (story coming soon), and I realized just how much better life would be without the clutter. I took the presenter's advice to heart, and started with the kitchen drawers, throwing out anything I barely used or never touched. It was hard to throw out perfectly good spatulas, but my mom is the only one who ever touches a spatula in this house, so there isn't a need for two. I emptied Johnny's closet of all the recyclable materials I had planned to use for crafting projects that never happened, and I cleared the medicine cabinet of all the hair products, makeup and over-the-counter medicines we never use. I have to admit. It made me feel good. I have a long way to go, but life feels good with less clutter.


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