Embracing the Purge

By Cate Tynjala

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I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. However, I do have a tendency to hang onto items and clothes under the guise of sentimentality or the excuse of “I might need it eventually.” For years, I’ve played a back and forth game with my possessions, always meaning to clear things out and declutter but ultimately avoiding it. In preparation for the upcoming school year and a complete move from my childhood home into a campus apartment, it has dawned on me how overdue a purge has become. As anyone who has ever had to move knows, you never realize how much you own until you’re forced to relocate all of it.

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I want to make one thing clear: I am not a slob. I don’t hang onto old candy wrappers or newspapers that no longer serve a purpose in my life. I just have a hard time getting rid of things sometimes, and as a result, I’m left with two dressers full of books I have no intention of re-reading, several buckets of miscellaneous broken pieces of technology (remember flip phones?), and a closet full of clothes that I haven’t worn in three or four years. I understand that the actual process of selling, donating, or disposing of these items is neither particularly time-consuming or difficult for the average person, but for the more sensitive, sentimental folk, it can be a little overwhelming.

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Going through my childhood bedroom and truly purging everything I don’t need or that doesn’t serve a purpose has been challenging. In the spirit of personal growth, however, I decided to lean into the discomfort and embrace everything that came with the cleanse. The experience of cleaning out items and ultimately reliving corresponding memories looks different for everyone. For me, it’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve pushed myself to acknowledge and come to terms with all of the best and worst periods of the last nineteen years so that I can embrace the change and move out of the past. I’ve taken a lot of breaks, finding myself inexplicably tired despite the normalcy of my sleep schedule.

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Despite this, when I walk into my room, which is now probably the cleanest and emptiest it’s been since I moved in, I feel calm. I am content to know that clean breaks and cleanses are possible, even for hoarders like me.

Laura BeierComment