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:
I shared before how Santa brings 25 gifts to each child for Christmas. This year is going to change. I know from past Christmases I could easily spend anywhere between $2,500-$3,000. This totals everything: gift-giving, dinners, parties, decorations, Christmas shows and experiences. Some of that would go on my charge card and some was cash. Luckily that’s all that is on my card and I could have it paid off by March. It’s crazy how fast one little holiday could add up to. The gifts to the children alone would be about $1,000. This has got to stop. Remember Susan Powter and the ” Stop the INSANITY!” slogan. Yeah, except I don’t need to lose weight, I need to lose this idea that I have to make the most magical Christmas every year. One could never be less than the previous year.
This Christmas will be focusing on being more frugal and enjoying the experiences more. Whether it’s visiting the local Tree Lighting ceremonies or taking the kids to see the local house lights in our area. No more expensive Christmas show, Train rides or Gingerbread Houses with Santa. Seriously, there was a make gingerbread house with Santa event and it was $50 per child. The second child is $10 off. So for $90 my kids came make a crappy cookie house and see Santa for 5 minutes. Sorry, I really dislike making gingerbread houses!! But the point is that I am going to focus more on fun frugal Christmas experiences this year.
As for presents, I have so many ladies’ dinners that have a white elephant present exchange. So $20-$25 gift limits there. The only positive thing about being a hoarder is: I have so many really nice new home décor that I have squirreled away in my house. I think it’s time to become a re-gifter or make a pretty craft with things I have. Luckily I am very crafty and bins upon bins of supplies. So that is how I am starting my December 1st! Vowing to cutting back on the cost of the holiday season and enjoying more family free experiences!
I just put a dent into this room where you can start to walk into the room. My youngest son was able to go into the room and play with some of the toys! Those toys have not been touched in years! That keeps me inspired to keep cleaning even though this will be a 10 part series! The goal is by Christmas this will be a completely cleaned out room!
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.
November and December is a season of charity and giving. Everyone seems to be more open to service and helping the community during this time. I participate in two charities now in November. The first one we packed snack and toiletries bags for Robin’s Nest. That is a local shelter for runaway or troubled teens to live and be safe. The second charity is Operation Christmas Child. We pack shoeboxes filled with toiletries and toys for children all over the world. Charity is really therapeutic for my hoarding. It helps me see the good in letting go and giving to others in need. As a hoarder I hold onto things because I feel anxiety if I let it go. On the opposite spectrum, I feel joy of letting go if I know someone else is being blessed by it. I feel such a love come over my heart when I know I am doing good for the community. It is this transition of joy replacing anxiety that is helping me heal from my hoarding.