|This is a re-creation of our back room.|
And it was horrible.
We apparently believed that we will starve to death. Also, I was convinced I am a secret seamstress, and hubby thought carpentry and woodwork are his life's path. We also believed at one point we were really gardeners.
Hint: We are not.
Let's back up a bit, and give a little history on my hubby and I. Both of us grew up in households that were doing okay financially. Not great, but okay. When we left said houses, both of us had several experiences, to varying degrees, of financial distress.
In fact, we both are currently learning to adjust to a financial life that is not paycheck to paycheck. It isn't easy. Being poor, or even just above the poverty line, lends itself to certain lifestyle choices and habits that are extremely hard to break. (You can see some of this here, here, here, and here.)
One of the more insidious habits is that you become a hoarder, whether you want to be or not. It's not an accident. It's not even a compulsion, like in the TV shows. It's a mindset, and a choice, though it isn't always clear that you are choosing to hoard, per se.
When you have just enough extra, you stash it for when you won't have it, and for those living on the edge of poverty, that can be just around the corner. BTW, the best way to stash food is to take up prepping. Yeah, I mean doomsday survivalist stuff, like canning, buy
ing in bulk, etc. You want to know how to get enough food for who knows what and who knows how long, join a prepper chat group.
When you have to check the bank account to go get a fuse that blew in your home because the wiring is messed up, then you realize you can get the two-pack for only 50 cents more, that's what you do. Cuz you will need that other fuse when it blows again. So you stash the extra fuse. If you are lucky, the fuse doesn't blow for a few months, and by that time, you've forgotten where (or that) you stashed the extra fuse and you go buy another two-pack.
Light bulbs, tooth paste, mouthwash, the list goes on. I just dumped a triple handful of packets of glasses wipes that had dried out two years ago, which was at least a year after my mom gave them to us for free. But we didn't get rid of them cuz they had a use, a purpose.
And, worse, because they were in our possession, if we didn't use them, they would be nothing more than trash in the dump - a violation of our core, Pagan-y beliefs. At least if we used them, they would be somehow justified. We were too poor to turn our noses up at free stuff, but we literally couldn't use or store all the stuff we got, and throwing them away was practically against our religion.
|"They keep bringing more stuff!! Make it stop!"|
I repeat, the stuff we can't justify getting rid of.
And even when we get rid of it in a way that isn't contributing to the disposable cycle of capitalism or snubbing our noses at the ultra-fiscal conservation that helped us survive and get out of the poverty cusp, there are other considerations.
I dropped off two boxes and three bags of knitting needles, yarn and such. In doing so, I had to give up on the idea that I was, to any degree - despite not knitting in YEARS - a knitter. I had to release that from my own self-identity. I am not a knitter. I know how to knit, but I don't spend any real time on it.
I am also not a pasta maker. I can bake bread, make soft pretzels in lye, and can and ferment all manner of produce. But I had to let most of that go from my identity. I can do these things, but they are not who I am. They are not things that I have to do to save money or make money (I sold baked goods at the farmer's market), and they are not things that I want to spend significant amounts of time doing.
I can do these things, but I have to let them go lest they fill up my home with stuff, and my time with work, when I can and should be focused on the things that are part of my path. I can still make pretzels, but I am not a pretzel-maker.
I am a writer of Pagan-ish fantasy and Pagan non-fiction. I am an author, speaker, presenter, and teacher. And that means I don't need all the stuff. What it DOES mean is that I actually did spell-work to help break those bonds and reassert my self-identity. Yeah, it was that strong.
So we have a new motto: Never again the Hoarding Times!
And, in case you think that my problem is only my own, my parents, who live alone in a good sized 2-BR and have a garage, just rented a 5x10 storage unit for their stuff. My grandmother washed and reused bits of foil. There is a ton of stuff written on poverty and hoarding, and generational poverty, so I'm certain I'm not alone in this struggle.