Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Hoarders

For the past few weekends, I haven’t played very much WoW outside of old time raids and current raids with my guildies. Raiding has still continued as usual but once the weekends arrive Voss and I generally found that we have other things to do. I have an ongoing project that I decided should take precedent over my in-game bank organizing – house organizing! Specifically, several months ago I read a book about minimalism that talked about how to let go of things you don’t need. Possessions themselves come with a responsibility, apart from simply owning them – they need to be stored, kept clean and in working order, in some cases insured, and guarded against theft. The more you own, the more you stand to lose in a disaster. More importantly, the things you own can add up to a mental “weight” you aren’t even aware of.

In our case, that included old furniture cluttering our basement, books I’ll probably never read again, more clothes than I could wear in a month of not washing any (seriously), and a lot of other stuff that is not adding any value to my life. I set out on a mission to pare down and let go of things that I no longer needed or wanted, or found useful. It’s been enlightening and freeing. It’s far from over, naturally, but I pick a small area at a time and focus on it. It helps me to keep from getting overwhelmed to say, “I’m going to weed the books from THIS shelf,” instead of, “I need to get all the junk out of this entire room.” One weekend we pared down our clothes and ended up with eight garbage bags of stuff to donate!

I get rid of MY clothes. Millya's clothes, on the other hand...don't even think about it.

I’ve gotten rid of, to date:

  • my old set of bedroom furniture (bed frame, desk with shelf, dresser, night table)
  • one mattress/box spring
  • a wooden kitchen table
  • a metal kitchen table (it was an art project, don’t ask)
  • one artificial Christmas tree
  • a huge bag of stationery, honestly, I had a problem
  • uncounted amounts of cookware, bakeware, etc (including one entire set of pots and pans)
  • aforementioned eight bags of clothes (out of season, unfitting, unfashionable, whatever)
  • a few bags of extra towels sent to the dog shelter

I’m sure there are more things I’m forgetting, but to me it’s a great list so far! We have much more space. It’s ironic that as this has been going on, I’ve simultaneously been stuffing my WoW character’s banks to the absolute gills – if bank bags had gills, that is. A few months back a firefighter guildie challenged me to write a post about “hoarders,” inspired by the fact that he’s seen many houses in real life that are a fire waiting to happen, and relating to the television show of the same name. I had never seen this show before (we don’t have cable) and I watched a few episodes after he mentioned it. It was absolutely horrifying to me. I don’t ever want to be one of these people, so buried in stuff that it’s consuming them (or damaging their health). I imagine the average person reading this isn’t like that, but still. It’s eye-opening and sordid. Incidentally, for gross-out factor, that same guildie told me he can’t watch the show (while his wife likes it) because the one thing the episodes can’t capture is the smell of a place like that. I guess dealing with that in your professional life doesn’t exactly leave you wanting to think about it in your leisure time, too.

As far as in-game goes, I’ve been trying to get rid of stuff just as much in-game as I have outside of it (except the clothes, never the virtual clothes). I don’t hang onto old enchanting mats anymore – I sell them, reasoning that if I eventually need them, I can just buy them anyhow! I’m curious whether the theory that clutter creates mental distress could be applied to virtual inventories, too. In-game items don’t require insurance or cleaning, but they do create a virtual “mess” and need maintenance. How many of you have guilds for your bank alts? (I know I do!) It’s also nearly impossible to manage the “stuff” accrued across various alts without a system – in the form of add-ons or additional storage space. Larger bags, more alts, more bank slots! I can’t seem to get enough virtual room and it definitely takes up my time to manage it.

Anyway, for me this has been a parallel endeavor. I’m really trying to get rid of junk I don’t need in WoW at the same time that I am slowly but surely de-junkifying my living space. Hint: If you want less junk, you have to put a moratorium on the purchase of new things! Seriously. The rule is, nothing comes in without something going out. So if I buy a new pair of shoes, I have to get rid of a similar pair at the same time. Meantime, I get rid of at least one thing a day (usually to a new home, if I can. Freecycle has been fantastic for this!) At the end of the year, no matter what else happens, at the very least I’ll have 365 fewer things than I did last year!

My WoW efforts are less stringent, but more lucrative. Each thing that I send packing from my bank usually earns me a bit of cash (and if I can’t sell it, at the very least it’s vendor trash). You’d be surprised what people want, both in WoW and out of it. I won $5 betting Voss that someone would want an artificial Christmas tree in September. He insisted that nobody would. It took twelve minutes for someone to contact me through Freecycle.

Long story short: My non-wow time lately has been spent decluttering and it’s starting to pay off. I’m also thinking I need a better inventory addon to manage my space; I’ve been hearing good things about AdiBank so I’m thinking of trying that! How are you handling the gear and outfits you’ve been gathering for Transmogrifying purposes (or, like me, have you always been a packrat?)

p.s. I did a few outfits for Liala at Disciplinary Action along with some lovely company, so you can check that out here if you missed it. See, hoarding pays off; some day you may get to be in a fashion show if your wardrobe is interesting enough!

p.p.s. I don’t actually endorse hoarding. Unless it’s virtual, in which case I’m mostly all for it.

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Comments on: "Hoarders" (19)

  1. Oddly, while I find decluttering my virtual banks to be satisfying, I find decluttering my character screens to be even MORE satisfying. Each toon is a project to be worked upon. :(

    In real life, though, I appreciate the time spent decluttering. It’s tough with kids – always seems to be more coming in than going out – but thankfully, as they outgrow clothes, we have some nice consignment stores nearby and some friends with younger kids who are grateful for the donations. If I could just get my office cleaned up though…

    Great post, Vid!

    • It’s tough with kids – always seems to be more coming in than going out

      Amen!!

    • I’ve heard that about life with kids. It scares me. ;) I hadn’t even thought about the UI decluttering angle, good call! That’s what I really ought to be doing, nevermind the banks. Thanks for your comments – I honestly love hearing that other people think about and struggle with this stuff too, haha.

  2. You know, the best thing that ever happened to our household was that we had a mouse infestation.

    No, seriously.

    My wife is a chronic pack rat, and our basement was stuffed with junk –old academic research, newspapers, miscellaneous crap– that she said she’d always “take a look at it later.”

    Well, later never came until the mice arrived.

    I was suddenly promoted to mouse remover, and I was given leeway to clean up the basement. It’s not 100% cleaned up, but we have it cleaned up enough that the kids can go play down there with all of their LEGOs, and we’ve got an ongoing Axis and Allies battle in another portion of the basement.

    Now, if I can convince my wife to give up the kids’ old clothing….

    Say…. Have you seen the WowCrendor video on hoarding, called Horders?

    • Errgh. Thinking about mice being down in the basement gives me the shivers. This is even more motivation to continue decluttering like a fiend! It’s funny, thinking about the basement (and Legos) reminds me of our basement when we were kids. It would always spiral out of control into this ridiculous mess and then we’d all have to spend an entire day down there cleaning it (but it never stayed that way). I want to pare down to essentials enough that if I DID have kids in the picture I could at least try to keep the number of new acquisitions under control. Or at the least, on a rotating cycle so new things coming in are replaced by old things going out.

      Who’s winning at Axis and Allies? I’m terrible at those games but Voss loves them.

      • Well, the game is my older two as the Allies vs. myself as the Axis. (My youngest is a “consultant”.) Based on positioning, I’m currently winning, but as is usually the case I’m a bunch of bad dice rolls away from losing.

        They’ve also got a game of Talisman going on –I’m not involved in that one– and I think my son is winning at the moment.

  3. Vidyala I love this post and thank you for introducing me to both the TV series and that book which I will probably end up buying tommorrow. But Damn! I can’t stop watching the show on Netflix!

    • I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to get you caught in the Hoarders vortex! Let me know if you enjoy the book. As I say, parts of it are more extreme than I would personally do, but the philosophy can be applied anywhere!

  4. I used to be a hoarder, and I worried myself sick with the thought of losing it all. I even remember lying awake some nights thinking about what I’d save in what order if there was ever a fire. Seriously. Then something happened that should have been horrendous, and indeed was at first, but was actually incredibly freeing.

    When I turned 18 I moved into my parents’ back-house. When I finally moved out a few years later I moved into a rental house with some friends and I didn’t have room for all the furniture and books and other stuff I had bought/been given/somehow accrued. I went from a small 2 bed/1 bath house to a single room with a small closet, so just about everything had to go into sone of those u-store-it places. Unfortunately, naive young me paid for this storage in cash and never thought to keep reciepts. You can probably guess what happened next.

    I eventually got a letter from the management company saying I hadn’t paid for months, and they auctioned off all my stuff. I had no reciepts, no cashed checks, nothing to prove that I had paid, and all my stuff was already gone even if I had. Obviously the guy at the counter just pocketed everything and it cost me everything. All my old books, my furniture, most of my electronics and movies and games and dishes and extra clothing. Gone. I was absolutely devastated initially, I had lost almost everything I owned!

    But after a while I dealt with it and eventually it became a boon to me. I survived, the things I really needed got replaced, the things I really wanted got replaced, a lot of it never did. It didn’t have to. And on top of it all, it was AMAZINGLY freeing to know that I COULD lose virtually everything and still go on, life continues. It was an epiphane: it’s just STUFF. It doesn’t matter. They’re items, and they’re neat, but not worth the amount of importance we place on them. I still had all my family and all my friends (and my cat). I look back on the whole situation as a tremendously good thing for me.

    I almost wish it upon others just so they can come out of it with the same realization. I have so many friends who place their possessions as the most important thing in their life, but reall, it’s just STUFF.

    • YES. It’s just stuff! That’s what I keep telling myself, whenever I feel guilty or indecisive about letting something go. It’s not the stuff that defines me. I am not any less intellectual because I own fewer books. I don’t cease to be an artist if I have fewer art supplies (etc.), although the art supplies is one thing I have yet to tackle (ulp).

      Thank you for sharing your story about what happened with the storage space. It seems like something that would be incredibly jarring and upsetting, but the end result (and change in attitude) was so positive for you! I love that. Not everyone would have reacted that way, you know!

  5. While it can be tough to throw things away, it feels SO good when they’re gone! one reason why I think I want to keep moving appartment at least every 5 years – seriously, you throw away so much clutter when you move, it’s awesome!

    “The rule is, nothing comes in without something going out.”
    This. :) I even handle my blogroll that way, lol.

    I also frequently ask myself “when’s the last time I used/needed that?” If it’s been longer than a year, out with it! I do try not to throw away good things though, there are plenty of charitable institutions around where I’m living.

    • I never thought of applying the same rule to my blogroll! Although, more often than not now I’m taking away abandoned or deleted blogs so I have plenty of room for new ones.

      The moving thing seems like an excellent idea. Our current declutter got started because we talked about moving, actually – perhaps to a house a bit larger – and then we both kind of said, wait, stop. Is it that we need more room, or that we need less stuff? So part of our campaign is to make the most of the space we have, without feeling like we need a bigger (and more maintenance required!) place simply to store the stuff we don’t need! I’ll just try to have the decluttering of a pre move without the moving stress! ;D

  6. We’ve been living in a furnished apartment with only as much of our own stuff as I could cram into the car to drive out here for the past year and a half, and I don’t often miss the stuff we left behind in our other apartment. When I do think about all that other stuff, it’s usually to consider how it needs to be culled and what specific things I’d like to go through and get rid of. When BTH is finished with this project here, and we move back to our other apartment, I’m planning to work on dejunking the place!

    My characters’ bank spaces are all crammed to the gills and could probably use some dejunking, too. Even so, I’m very much looking forward to having Void Storage to put the stuff that I just can’t bear to get rid of!

    • Oh, Void Storage. If it existed for real, I’d be singing a different tune, believe me! (Although, isn’t it semi-expensive – in game? I suppose it would be in real life, too).

      That’s interesting, to have two different spaces (one fairly spartan, I’d imagine, and one that is more your “regular life” space that has all of your stuff). Do you ever miss the stuff that’s there? Do you think of it with dread knowing that you’ll have to tackle it later?

      When I moved out to go to college I left a fair bit of stuff at my Mom’s house that I later ended up having to deal with. My biggest regret was leaving behind books that somehow got “misplaced” and never did turn up. :( But books are the toughest thing for me. I’ve had to really be determined to get rid of any at all.

      • Sometimes I miss the stuff I left in the other apartment, and there’s a few things we now have two of (like a muffin tin) because I originally left it behind.
        I, too, still have a lot of stuff left behind at my parents’ house… which they had to pack up and carry when they bought a new house and moved over the summer. When BTH and I were visiting our folks a few weeks ago, my Dad requested that I go through my stuff. I did, and managed to throw out enough old school papers and junk to completely empty two of the seven boxes. One of these days, I’ll have to get that stuff shipped to my own apartment….

  7. Ah books. My MIL is visiting us this week, her first time at this house (my husband is military so we move every two years or so). This is the first time we’ve managed to unpack almost all our books, the last couple of houses many of them had to stay in boxes. One of the first things she said when we got home from the airport was, “You guys have a lot of books. I didn’t realize how many books you have.” I decided I shouldn’t tell her we got rid of several boxes of books (enough to fill the back of a full sized pickup) during the latest move.

    I kind of wonder what we’re going to be like when we go civilian and settle down. Without regular moves to weed out stuff it might get ugly :p

  8. Sorry for the late post but that being said….

    How am I handling my banks in prep for 4.3? My blog isn’t called Bag Underflow for a reason.

    -Anslym

  9. I get stressed out by both in game clutter and RL clutter. I always look at my small living space as tiny cubes of rental space. If I buy a giant punch bowl, even on sale, that I will use one a year at Christmas it will cost me triple the cost in storage all year round etc

    For this reason I like to throw away or give away or donate items that are used occasionally and buy again when I need them. Fortunately I buy a lot second hand (as I volunteer in a thrift store) so Im aware of waste.

    The one thing that gets to me in the Horders show is the mentality – “but I might need that someday”.

    Donate! Someone probably needs it right now!

    • Yeah! Another thing they often say is “But this is good stuff!” or “I can’t throw away ‘good stuff.'” In a way, it makes me wonder about society’s role in this. Casual acquisition (and discard) of objects is so commonplace – and then you have people that stuff their houses with STUFF – but which is the symptom, and which is the disease? These are people who see things being thrown out and they think “it’s still good or of use to someone.” It’s too bad that this tendency leads them to the living conditions they are often in. Still, it’s interesting. Like you, I am trying to stop myself at point A – never buy it at all, or if I need something like that (a punch bowl) I’ll maybe borrow one rather than store one for myself all-year round.

      I was just watching episodes of Hoarders yesterday, so your comment was very timely!

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