Saturday, April 9, 2016

H: Hoarders

I visit my parent's place once in every one and half years or so. And every time I visit, the one thing that stands out to me is how little things have changed. Although people seemed to have changed, the home I grew up in seems eerily much the same, just as I had left it some 10 years ago. The old sofa with a 'new look', the furniture, the same books and many other same possessions. Not that the house hasn't acquired new stuff, it has. So much so that there is hardly any place to move anything around. But the older stuff like our books,  an old sewing machine which has seen better days, cassette tapes, an old computer and so many things that are hardly even touched any more are sitting firmly in their positions, knowing fully well that this family loves to hoard. And then I've noticed the same phenomenon repeat in my in-laws place as well. So, obviously it's not a trait exclusive to my family.

In the recent past, I have started to de-clutter my life and mainly my possessions. I was reading up on the KonMari method of de-cluttering and some things in the book suddenly made a lot of sense to me.  I guess the take-home message in that book is that every single thing in our life has a purpose, and once that purpose is served, we must learn to let it go. So, I am trying to practise that in earnest, letting go of things that I don't need/use or in Marie Kondo's terminology, 'doesn't spark joy'. More details on that process in another post but for now, I generally look at things and then in my head, decide whether things should stay or go.

I think we have some sort of inbuilt mechanism that tells us to hang on to something for as long as we can. I think we are wired like that since we are babies. I look at Pickles hanging on to little parts of his broken toys, a once-upon-a-time-loved train carriage, a lion with a severed leg, a three-wheeled car. I tell him lets throw this and he wont have any of it. I tried to put it away and thought he wouldn't notice if it is gone, but notice he did and kicked up such a fuss that I eventually caved. Since even babies are such hoarders, what hope do we adults have. R is such a hoarder and refuses to get rid of anything. I finally put my foot down and started to de-clutter my home anyway. I was proud of what I had accomplished but imagine my surprise when I saw the nanny G holding on to some of the stuff in her already small room. Turns out she's an even bigger hoarder. I only figured this out when we were moving to the new place and suddenly so many things that I'd thought I'd actually gotten rid of started showing up. More so when G told me that she didn't have enough boxes to put all her stuff in, although she had came to live with us with one small suitcase a couple of years ago. And since then, I've had to give her explicit instructions to get rid of stuff.

I read somewhere that the average person owns about 10,000 things in his lifetime. And I thought, wow, that's a lot! But looking around, I guess it's really not that hard to believe. The article also said the lesser possessions you have, the happier you are. I don't know how true that is but if we all stop hoarding, maybe there will be more stuff to go around for all the people who really have nothing.And maybe that will mean more happier people.

No comments: