This month I decided to play the 30 day Minimalism Game Challenge as a New Year’s resolution since I was doing a “No Spend January” to stop bringing more things into the house. I wanted to make sure more things were going out than coming in, so this is the perfect game for me to try! The rules are that on Day 1 you get rid of 1 thing, Day 2 you get rid of 2 things, Day 3 equals 3 things and so on. As you can see, it’s going to get intense on Day 20 and those higher days for a hoarder. Maybe even a typical person might struggle getting rid of about 465 things in one month. But I’m up for the challenge and documented week 1 in the video. If you have played the “30 Day Minimalism Game Challenge” I would love to heard about it in the comments below!
This Christmas I decided to scale back on gift giving and over spending on Holiday experiences. After finishing all the wrapping, I saw the amount of gifts I had and it triggered a panic attack. I am not kidding here, I know it sounds absurd but not giving a lot of gifts this year triggered an anxiety shock inside of me. I quickly went on Amazon to buy a few more gifts to ease my alarming nerves. I know that last sentence sounds obnoxious but it’s true. My love language for showing love is gift giving. So I show my love by giving the people I love multiple gifts. The more gifts I buy, the more love I am showing you. So when I only saw a few wrapped gifts, I panicked because I didn’t want to disappoint any of my loved ones. I didn’t want them to think I stopped caring about them. This is how my mind works as a hoarder. I attach an extreme value to ordinary items. In this video I share more in depth on my mini Christmas melt down:
It’s time for a confession: Santa brings the 25 presents each child for Christmas. Now before anyone screams out profanities, let me explain. As a child growing up in the 80’s, Santa brought me a minimum of 25 presents. It was like waking up to the Toys R Us Super Toy Run! I ran downstairs to see a plethora of gifts, candy and toys! Ohhh…it was glorious! I played with those toys until they broke. Jem & the Holograms, Barbie, She-ra and My Little Pony all hung out at Paradise Estates & Crystal Castle under the tree. I grew up thinking that was normal. So as I got married and had children, naturally Santa brings them 25 presents each too. And they have the same reaction I did…it’s like Toys R Us threw up all over the Christmas tree. It wasn’t until my brother-in-law pointed out that this was an insane amount of presents to give. He grew up with 5-10 presents under the tree with one of them being big. My husband experienced the same. He just let me do my thing because it had made me so happy. After talking to different people, I found out how excessive I was in my gift giving. This is so shocking to me. With Black Friday only 3 days away…I have decided to scale back this year. I will have to tell my boys that Santa will not being bringing as many presents as he did before. Big kids get bigger stuff like PS4 and iPads so it will be more around 10 gifts this year. I need to teach my children that this over consumption for Christmas is not okay.
In my journey of healing myself from my hoarding habits, I’ve found a few things that worked and a few things that have not worked. So far, one simple rule I made has been the most successful. That is why I named it my Number 1 rule to stop my hoarding and clutter in my house. It’s simply: “I need more things going out than coming in.” That’s it, very easy! It’s basic math really and holds a lot of truth. These past years in my house, I had way more stuff coming in and hardly anything going out. It’s time to reverse that equation. And to do that, I must restrict my shopping. All the impulse buying, yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, the Sharing Table and freebies had to stop. That’s what I have been doing and it’s working! I have three completely cleaned rooms now. Currently I’m working on my fourth room. If you’re a hoarder and you want to give this a try…I would start with something as simple as ten things going out versus one thing coming in. Don’t pick things that are very sentimental to you, I don’t care if it’s 10 pieces of paper. As long as you grow the habit of getting rid of things in your house, more things are still going out than coming in. Even if all you can handle is five things going out versus one thing coming in. Baby steps still move you forward and even if you are walking slowly, at least you are not walking backwards.
In this confessional, I am going to explain why it’s not a good idea to throw away a box of junk behind the hoarder’s back. It will backfire on you if you think you are helping them. It feels the same as a person sneaking into your wallet and throwing away your $100 bill. You feel disrespected and now you don’t trust that person anymore. Now I know you’re thinking a $100 bill is worth way more than a box of random crap. But to a hoarder, it feels the same. We overvalue all of our stuff.
Value is determined by how important an item is to a person. A hundred dollar bill is worth a lot and a lot of people attach value to it. A box of random crap, most people don’t attach a high value to it. But not the hoarder…the hoarder had over-valued their box. So it feels like a lot of money to them. Plus if they find out that you threw that out, they are about to go into a panic attack of which box you threw out. It doesn’t help, it actually makes things worse. If you want to help, be encouraging, be patient and be empathic. The hoarder has to be ready to change!