Hi! My name is Carissa, and I’m an emotional hoarder.

Guess who’s back? Back again?

Annnnd now you have a Backstreet Boys song in your head. Win for me.

The last week has been so crazy I don’t know my ass from my mouth. No wait. That’s a little weird. But it’s true. I may have lost my mind a little. You might say it’s somewhere up my ass.

It’s not like I’m literally shoving cinnamon toast up my butt or scratching my mouth or anything, but I honestly haven’t had a second to get a grip on what’s going on in my life. My phone was dead for three days straight and I have spent as much time on twitter and facebook as I have watching trashy reality shows on MTV, which is not at all.

It all really started going high speed last Thursday night. I had to work on Friday night, so Thursday evening I turned on my reserve used only in emergencies energy mode. The movers (my parents) were supposed to arrive at my house at 8am on Saturday so I had to have everything ready and packed.

In the past, I’ve always treated a move like a getaway. I usually spend about an hour running around stuffing things into black trash bags with absolutely no organization tactics. Sheets and shoes and roller clips and the random dirty pair of underwear would be smooshed together with a package of incense and a game of monopoly. Which, really isn’t a bad way to go as long as you never have to unpack.

This time though, I really wanted to do things differently. I’m tired of living a life of clutter. I’m sick of never knowing where anything is. I hate that I only wear 10 out of my 200 t-shirts.

And so I did.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t fun- but it’s something that I’ve been needing to do for the last 8 years.

I literally cleaned out my life.

And it feeelllllllsssss good.

I went through every item of clothing, every shoe, every ratty pair of underwear- and I threw everything out that was old or didn’t fit, or that I hadn’t worn in ages. I threw out the 3 year old box of chocolates from a Valentines Day past. I tossed the napkins that my ex-deaf boyfriend and I had used to communicate on on our first date many years ago. I let go of the scratched mixed- cds that I kept hoping science would come up with a cure for. I gave up my old vintage purses that I haven’t used in years. I found notes and cards that were stashed away in the bottom of my drawers and in between the pages of my favorite books- I gave them one last read- and I tossed them (most of them).

I realized I had been holding on to so much that I didn’t need. I’ve always been bad at letting go; but it was time. Most of the stuff I threw out was trash, but a lot of it were things that I was holding onto for sentimental reasons. It’s not that I want so many THINGS in my life, but I think I’m just an emotional hoarder.  I don’t ever like things to really be over. I hate saying goodbye. Even when something is finito- I don’t want to lose the proof that it happened.

But you know what I’ve realized the last few days? Every time I picked up an item that I’ve kept to remind me of something- I either already clearly remembered the moment, or it was something that I would have rather not remembered. Things come and go for a reason. The important memories stick with us even if we don’t have a t-shirt to commemorate the event. I don’t need to keep a ticket stub to every movie I’ve ever gone to. I’ll remember the good ones, and I’ll push the bad ones from my mind without even meaning to. I don’t need a letter to remind me of a relationship that I don’t even want to remember. I don’t need to save every shirt I’ve ever loved. I got to say a happy and healthy goodbye to all the things in my life that once were so important, and now I feel better.

And even more, for the first time in ten years I can shut my dresser without having to put my entire body weight into it. I can open a drawer without having to sit in it first to push it’s contents down. I can open a box without seeing every broken relationship staring me in the face. I finally feel that I can truly take the next step in my life.

As usual, I broke into an audible cry as I drove away from my old house. Even though we were only there for 8 months, we had a lot of good times there. But as I unpacked, I started feeling better and better about the things that are to come. I’m excited about starting my new, clean life. I’m ready to start collecting new memories. I’m happy.

Life- I hope your wearing a sturdy cup- cause I’m ready to grab you by the balls.


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  • Vegetable Assassin

    Wow, good for you! It’s hard to do that stuff. I think we’ve all been there. I’ve gotten pretty good at clearing out what I don’t need and I’m down to a small moveable amount as I currently have no furniture either. I need to move in a couple of months and once I do I’m going to be sitting in an empty place with nothing but my clothes and a box of art supplies and a tiny box of personal stuff. And it feels kind of good! So yay for you!

  • Herding Cats

    Yay! I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures. Sometimes moving is the best reason to clean and restore order back into your life. Clutter can bring us down :)

  • Ed Adams

    Sounds like you have a little less emotional AND physical baggage.


  • http://twitter.com/RedHeadedWriter J

    Dude, right ON! It’s good for your karma and the flow of things in your life. YAY.

    Even, still, I do the black trash bag thing every. TIME. It’s like I’m so careful and all good with labeling and then there’s one hour before the movers get there and it’s time to whip out the trash bags and just go insane.

  • http://www.ftcs.wordpress.com/ Clevelandpoet

    I just went through all my tee’s (or a good chunk) and decided which ones to get rid of. It can be hard. We rarely notice what kind of hold emotions place on things. Something as simple as getting rid of things that we thought we needed to keep to placate emotions can be so freeing.

  • Sara

    I do that every few months in my house… and it feels AWESOME to see bags and bags of crap I don’t need leaving. I don’t necessarily see huge gaping holes of free storage…but knowing some of it is gone is a huge relief.

  • Nikki

    Good for you! I need to do the same. When I met my Husband I threw out a bunch of the old boyfriend stuff and I don’t miss it all. Sure I have the occasional dream here and there…anyway. I’m happy for you, I bet it feels so good. And life wants you to grab it by the balls, whether it is wearing a cap or not.

  • Meghan

    This post was both awesomely hilarious and sentimental. Good for you for doing the purge, I’ve been slowly getting there.

  • http://30isthenew13.blogspot.com Sada

    My entire blog is based on emotional hoarding. Thank god I have a basement where I can keep all that crap.

  • nooneimportant

    This was one of the most well written, easily published peaces i’ve read, and it truly touched me. Holy shit, this one reminded me of me. Carissa, can you help me dehoard?