My husband and I are fascinated with the A&E program called "Hoarders." This reality show takes you into the lives of people who hoard things to the point where their homes are literally unlivable and even pose a health risk. Some of the people in the stories have been threatened with eviction and others have seen their families fall apart because of the excessive hoarding. It's amazing to see how the people in these stories are actually owned by what they own.
In one particular episode a woman wept as she held a teddy bear from her childhood. Although I understand that memories and keepsakes can bring you back to the past and specific memories, I was struck by the fact that most of the hoarders on these shows are living in the past. I feel really bad for these people because I see how deceived and controlled they really are.
The reason my husband and I enjoy watching these shows is because in the last three years of our lives we've gotten rid of most of our furniture, things from the past and just about anything that reminded us of negative things. We first began this journey after attending a conference where a well-known speaker spoke of finding healing through cleaning out the trash in our lives.
I had never made the connection between emotional healing and cleaning my house. Cleaning was always a chore and an obligation. Yet I was struck when the speaker said that the act of throwing things that reminded us of bad memories or even just ridding our house of excessive trash brings healing to the mind and emotions.
I was convicted because I knew that I was a hoarder in some ways. I was the girl that kept the gum wrapper because I'd purchased the gum during a vacation I enjoyed. I kept the "just in case" things in case the day would come that I needed it. The day never came and the things would collect dust in a box somewhere.
After attending this conference my life partner and I decided to do some serious housecleaning. We went through boxes and bins of things that we'd accumulated for years and gave away things that had been stored away and forgotten. Though I dreaded the process at times and wanted to quit, I threw away bags of things that I knew deep down I really didn't need.
I now understand how keeping so much stuff can control your entire life and gives you a false sense of security. My husband and I continue to clean out the trash and our lives are so much simpler without all the unnecessary baggage.
At the end of the day all that we own are just things, and when we die we're leaving it all behind. I feel free knowing that I can now trash things that I know I don't need or won't use. I don't want a messy house or life. I feel a real sense of control rather than the false one that led me to hoarding. Most of that was based on guilt. I'm happy to say that I've been delivered from hoarding!
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