Did anybody see Oprah last Thursday or Friday? I only saw it on Friday, but both days were devoted to people who hoard. Now, before I go too far, please know that I am not a hoarder like these people are. My mom is. My mom believes that if you have one you should have all. Too much is never enough. If you like it, buy it. If it is on sale, buy it. Good yard sale deal? Buy it. Somebody might need this for their home, apartment, car, camp, dorm room, you name it-buy it and save it. You like it in green? You'll love it in red, blue, yellow and tan. Never mind that you will forget you have it or never find it if you do remember, you can never have too much. The hoarders on Oprah had gotten to the point that they couldn't even navigate the rooms in their homes. Oh, there were paths to travel, but there was no place to live. The basements were crammed full of stuff, as were the extra rooms, garages, kitchens and all living spaces. My mom has spots in her home that are like this, the rest is stored at her workshop and in storage units. Well, in my opinion, nobody is enjoying it there. One of the Oprah hoarders had an intervention done. It took weeks for professionals to clean out her junk, clean the house (because she hadn't been able to for years there was mold and mice nests and all kinds of wonderful things that needed professional cleaners to sanitize the place) and turn it into livable space. If I remember correctly they threw away something like 75 tons of trash. That left a 10,000 square foot storage area of stuff to tag sale. I loved it when her son asked, "If this is 10,000 square feet, their house is like about 3200 I think...." She had something like 3,000 pairs of shoes and 3,000 handbags. The professional quipped, if each of those cost only $10, there is a 60,000 dollar pile of shoes and bags. Yep. Even my mind is silent in amazement over that one. (We can just take a minute here.)
There was a time when I collected a bunch of different things and had them displayed all over the place. Then I got to the point when I had so much that I needed to rotate the collections. The only problem with that is I am not the most organized person. Too much stuff leaves me overwhelmed and stuck. So the basement started filling up, the cupboards, the corners, closets, garage..... It felt clogged. No energy could move in the house and no energy was moving in our family. One day I decided to get rid of it. It took me a week of eighteen hour days (no, I won't deny being a bit manic at times) and I threw away bags and bags and bags of stuff. I sold a bunch of stuff on ebay or in a yard sale. I kept most of the yarn, most of the teapots, most of the holiday decorations (but some of them are on the way out) and decided that sentimentality should not apply to most physical things. A basement you could not walk in became a tv room for the kids. Tons of space, a futon, bookshelves, the tv. It's great. The storage area went from an over-packed and disorganized mess to a place with empty shelves, even with everything in its spot. I felt free and energized and truthfully, after that a lot of wonderful things happened for my family. We were new.
Now, I'm not saying I'm perfect. I don't buy little knick-knacky things anymore. Every time I'm in a shop and picking something up that would look so cute with or on or next to something I stop dead and try to envision the future of that item in my life. I mean, really honestly, knowing who I am and what I do, I take a good hard look and almost always the item ends up back on the shelf. I don't want to have to organize it, dust it, pack it........ And, it leaves more money for the things I really do want. Yarn, fiber, drop spindles, and tea come to mind. Now, the tea. Here is where I may have a problem. I cannot resist trying a new tea. All of them. Here is the evidence:
I'd like to tell you that's all of it. Not so. The teas spill over onto other shelves. The cabinet is so perturbed with me it sometimes throws tea tins at me when I open the door. I kid you not! Containers of tea come flying and if I'm lucky none of them open as they hit the floor, sending tea leaves (sometimes expensive ones) all over. At those times I just leave teas out on the counters, afraid of fighting the tea shelf.
You are wondering where on earth I am going with this aren't you? I thought it would be fun to reward somebody for putting up with my drivel every day for a month. I'd love to give you all a prize for coming back here every day. So as I was attacked by the tea shelf the other day I decided it has come time to organize and I should give myself incentive to do it. It is sucking energy out of my life. I'm sure there are lovely teas in there that I have forgotten about. You'll see that I have purchased teas that I already have. Your challenge is to make a stab at how many individual containers of tea I have. This means that I have to take them out, examine them and come clean with myself and the internets how bad my problem is. They are all in there and most of them are on that shelf. I guess I'm going to have to organize the whole cabinet to get an accurate number, but I don't think I'll find a ton on the other shelves. Here is part of what I know I will find:
My defense on this: I like loose at home, but bring bags around with me. That's a good excuse!!
Hey, the tea inside is pretty good, but I'd have gotten this one anyway.
A little info to help you out. The measurements of that shelf are: Width, 26". Height, 11 1/4". Depth, a staggering 26". There is some coffee in there somewhere and some coffee filters, but the majority of that shelf along with stragglers on other shelves contains tea.
Think it over, throw dice, use a random number generator, whatever and then leave your guess in a comment to this post by midnight here in the east on Monday, November 26. On the final day of November, the beginning of my next blog break (just kidding!) I will announce the person closest to the correct number and award a prize that will probably have tea and something else to be determined. Don't worry, the winner will get new, fresh tea. Promise. Now I have to get counting! And you guys, thanks so much for reading, kidding me, encouraging me, and being glad to hear from me.
November 19, 2007. No, I won't be counting balls of yarn I've hoarded.