On Throwing Stuff Away

Hey guys. I have a confession to make – I’m secretly a hoarder.

Well, not to the extent that I’ve seen some people be, but I’ve always collected things. I collected pens and notebooks as a kid (who am I kidding, I still do) and for a while during my pre-teen years I collected empty Kleenex boxes and toilet paper rolls with the intent that I’d make something out of them. I did, with a few of them, but the rate of my collecting was far greater than the rate of my making, so we had a cupboard full of random junk that I was very stubborn about not throwing away.

My dad eventually threw them away.

Now that I’m in college and living in my own space, I’m astounded at how I manage to find nooks and crannies to hide all my things when I really don’t have very much storage space. Things just collect over time; random junk that you keep convincing yourself is important or has too much sentimental value to throw away.

On the other end of my hoarding tendencies is my anxiety over messy spaces. I don’t mind other people being messy, but I can’t really handle messiness in my own living space (this comes from my dad. You know, the guy that threw out all of my Kleenex boxes because he’s like this too?) and so once in a while I’ll go through my stuff to clean up and reorganize.

I love reorganizing. Nothing brings me more joy – well, except food, and sleep, and Hera, and… – than to find designated spaces for each and every thing and to keep them there. I am the kind of person that gets annoyed when the can opener turns up in a drawer different from the one it’s always lived in. I am the kind of person that likes to have all my pens categorized and my wires and cables sorted into little zip lock baggies. I am… well you get it. I like things to be neat.

This past weekend I took on the task of reorganizing all of the junk I have in my room. I haven’t tackled my closet yet (I did a couple months ago, and will probably do so again sometime in the next few weeks) but I did get rid of a garbage bag full of stuff, and a bit more. I got rid of so many papers (because why will I ever need my tests from freshman year again?) and pens that no longer write that it felt so liberating. I reorganized my bookshelves so that everything is more compact and now my collection of wrapping stuff – like boxes, and tissue paper, and other random knick knack that people need for christmas wrapping – is no longer homeless and strewn on the floor but actually part of my bookcases, with its own little section.

The hardest part of all of it was convincing myself to throw away some models and some modeling materials. While throwing out pens and papers had been easy, I have formed an emotional attachment to all of my architecture studio models and their associated things. It’s not hard to be attached like that – after all, I did spend many hours building all of these models and all of them have very specific memories attached to them – mostly of being really tired, but also of those professors and experiences. Many of these models I look at and see the hours I put into it, and it always seems like such a waste to just… throw it away.

I threw away three models. I threw away three models that were associated with my last studio, a studio that thinking about still gives me headaches and makes me feel like a panic attack is coming. I threw away the last portion of the model that I had spent over 48 hours nonstop sitting and gluing and folding and crying over, and taking it out of its place to throw it away hurt because I still remember all of the pain from that class but throwing it away also felt so good. It felt like I was liberating myself from the demons of that class and I know I’m being totally over-dramatic but that class, god, that class really, really was awful. The final project was a good one – one that I’m almost proud of, maybe – but the journey there had been so awful. I suppose part of me will eventually be grateful because I learned to be stronger from it, but I don’t think I’ve had enough time pass to look back and not have feelings of resentment rise up within me.

And after it was all gone – the trash taken out, permanently outside of my home – my room felt so nice and clean and good to be in – not that it hadn’t been nice and clean and good to be in before, but it’s better now – and I can look at that section in my bookcase that once housed three models which reminded me of a horrible experience and smile because it now houses wrapping paper, and paints, and canvases, and happy things still waiting for me to work on.

Plus, it’s nice to know that I won’t have as much to throw out when I eventually move out of this apartment.

Are you guys also hoarders / collectors of random things? Do you ever go through times of just wanting to clean stuff and throw stuff out? Let me know!

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