Minimize Me: A former Hoarder’s Journey into a Life of Minimalism- Part three: Can I get a Definition please?

This series is a documentation of my journey into a life of minimalism. The highs, the lows, the wins, and losses of minimizing the amount of stuff in my life.If you’re just jumping into this series, may I suggest you check out my previous posts first.

Hoarder. It sounds like a dirty word. Maybe because it almost rhymes with—well you can use your own imagination. When I think of a hoarder, I imagine an old lady’s house, with a putrid smell that smacks you in the face when you walk through the door. I think of stacks of old newspapers. I think of cockroaches scuttling across the floor. I think of dead mummified cats. Poor cats. My friend, and old roommate, commented on my minimalist series with: “You were a hoarder? You are the neatest and most tidy hoarder ever then.” Well what a compliment. I guess.

So I’m not really a hoarder, not by definition’s standard anyway. My health is not at risk, nor do I have an inability to get rid of things. Hoarder just fit well for the title. It’s a little dramatic. It’s a loaded word. It’s scary. It’s like a horror film: HOARDER: Your stuff will swallow you whole. Well that sounds more like an SNL skit. Whatever. The thing is: I’m neat. I love order. I’m an organizer. Everything has a place. Which made my “hoarding” all the more dangerous. It was concealed. Orderly. I could hide the growing chaos behind color-coded tabs.

I guess I don’t really do hoarding justice. I think if we were to name my “problem,” it would be this: I’m an American consumer. Yep. I buy things because I think I need them to make my life better. How lame. How unbiblical. Shopping was as therapeutic a downing a pint of ice cream. In the moment it was exactly what I thought I needed, but like the distended belly of regret that comes from consuming a frozen dairy treat, the excitement of owning something new would quickly lose it’s glimmer. Oh, but the thrill of the hunt! Searching the racks for that win item. It’s on sale? Oh I must! Feeling depressed? Let’s go shopping! Bored? Shop till you drop! Ugh. Not anymore.

It makes me sick. All the times I used shopping as therapy instead of Jesus. Sure a sweater might keep me warm, but Jesus warms my soul in the way a sweater never can. And maybe a sweater sleeve can dry my gross ugly tears, but it’ll get ruined in the process. Crusty snot stains anyone? Jesus on the other hand, He dries my tears, draws me close, and comforts me beyond that of a cashmere sweater that is destined to become moth eaten and fall apart. Jesus doesn’t need mothballs, which smell gross anyway, because He’ll never fall apart. The things of this world are destined to die. Jesus already went through that and was resurrected, unlike my holey cashmere sweater. It really happened guys. Moths ate my sweater, but hey, one less thing to hold onto.

So I use the term hoarder because I’m aware of what might be lurking beneath the surface. Maybe there’s an inner hoarder in me keeping all her dead cats in little shoe boxes stuffed behind leaning towers of moldy newspapers, or maybe not. I really don’t want to find out.

Thoughts, questions, concerns? Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below. Get a little heated. Throw your opinion out there. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. It doesn’t really matter, I’m just glad you decided to join the conversation.