Hoarding is Hard Work: Develop a system for purging

In the fall, we butcher a beef animal to fill our freezer. I keep the bones and meat scraps from the butcher to feed Tip, my black and white Border Collie dog.

Every day I toss some of these tasty morsels to Tip and I just realized I am causing her a ton of work.  Because she then spends several hours carefully hiding these delicacies around the yard anywhere she can find loose material to bury them – next to a tree trunk, under a bush, deep inside a snow bank, or in the wood pile.

This is only part of the problem.  The rest of the day is spent thus: 1) searching for the right piece for her meal – one which has been properly buried, aged, and tenderized (otherwise known as stinking-rotten), and 2) patrolling the yard to protect her stash from the looting ravens and magpies.  There is just no time for regular dog-duties – the productive work.

Hmmm.  I wonder how many of us spend our days this same hoarding way – and it’s hard work.

My examples:

  • I research a topic and print a schwack of information for later use.
  • Magazines arrive in the mail and I don’t have time to read them now, so they get piled up.
  • A neat tool in Canadian Tire catches my attention and I buy it because I might use it once or twice a year.
  • We acquire a 17-year supply of a product because there is a volume discount.
  • There is a new techno-gadget that we “need,” even though the old method is working just fine.

And we put these things in places where they are convenient – places we won’t forget.  And we need to buy boxes, closets, filing cabinets, sheds, bigger houses, and garages to store our hoardings.  This may mean we need to spend more money and possibly take on debt – or more debt.

And then we need to protect, maintain, and repair those acquisitions, which takes time and costs more money.

And suddenly we realize we are trapped in debt, or need to find a better paying profession to buy, store, and maintain more hoardings.

Sound familiar?

You may be thinking, “OK Dan, we get the point.  We’ll do spring cleaning soon.”  Soon.  Is that a month after March or November – 2015?  Unfortunately, most people don’t get to the real purging.

Now is the best time to metaphorically wander around your yard, gather up the old bones, scraps, and buried morsels.  Now is a great time to get rid of things you don’t use or want.  It’s OK to:

  • get rid of that ugly vase Aunt Hilda gave you 47 years ago
  • give away those clothes that shrunk in the closet
  • donate those books you’ll never read
  • sell cars, electronics, and sporting goods you don’t use.
  • Use gained resources to pay down or eliminate debt.

Carol and I have a weekly business/personal meeting to celebrate our weekly successes, align our schedules, and talk about anything else that is important in our lives.  One of the agenda items is purging.  Since we’ve committed to purging a few minutes each week, we’ve emptied filing cabinets, cleared bookshelves and closets, and the process is ongoing.

This process of purging is freeing for us.  We spend less time looking for things, we consciously evaluate our collecting or buying choices (which saves money), and we’re more clear and focussed on what we really want.  As we release the obligations of our hoardings, amazing opportunities and possibilities are entering our lives.  As we surrender or get-rid-of what we don’t want, we are free to allow and accept what we do want – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially.

I’m curious to know how purging works for you.  What potential can you realize when you run freely; rather than keeping yourself locked inside your backyard full of stinkin’ old bones?