[Downsizing Zeal] Ahead Of Hoarders

I had incidentally two people over today regarding maintenance on the apartment-mansion. The second was the first annual “annual” inspection of water pipes and smoke detectors. The first was a contractor that was there to replace a smoke detector that had been painted over, over the years, and wasn’t giving a good signal to the fire alarm company. Whenever possible, I like to strike up conversations, organically, with people, since they have interesting life insights.

Regarding his work, the contractor said hoarders were worse than dogs.

It makes sense where, if your job involves navigating a ladder through an apartment to work on a fire alarm, it’s easier to reign back a dog than to navigate through a series of traps – clutter – to complete your objective. Since moving the living room furniture around, I’ve freed up significant space, which has made everything feel much better. I could even put in a little futon and still have enough room to navigate around, but I’ll hold off on that until after I clear out more of the spare bedroom.

Downsizing involves a careful balance of progression and regression.

If the space is too empty, it’s easy to fill it again since it feels right having things there. Earlier this year, I moved the television that had acted as my Wii Fit station into the dining room to fulfill my work-from-home duties, leaving that space empty. Only now that I’ve moved the furniture has that space become almost “painfully” obvious that it needs to be filled in. I put some fake plans there and it feels good for now. It’s tricky figuring out things like that because empty space tends to get filled.

That’s probably why some, but not many, decorations go a long way.

When the contractor said that bit about hoarders, I pointed to my hoarding hallway.

This is the second hallway in the apartment-mansion – hallways themselves being a luxury – which currently stores my old rowing machine, longboard, 40″ TV, and other awkward objects. When I think back to moving in some 19 months ago, sure, it’s easy to focus on how much I have left. It’s easy focusing on the myriad boxes, some empty and some full, that collect themselves everywhere. However, for the first 6 months, the second hallway was stacked full of boxes to the point where it would have been inaccessible for both the maintenance guy and the contractor.

The contractor told me that I was way ahead of hoarders.

I’m starting to realize that within abundance is not pleasure.

The objects I have stored in the first hallway – the one that goes between the bedrooms and the kitchen, rather than the cluttered one that goes between the bedrooms and the living room – are decoratively stored on the walls. One wall has a nice picture with a Halloween decoration with its zombie face censored by my “press” pass. The other wall has a green posterboard with my “:]” smile and until today had a calendar I last updated before going on medical leave in April. There’s no room for storage in this shorter hallway.

What do I eventually plan to do with the second hallway?

As I clear out more space in the living room, I’ve thought about how I want to move my rowing machine onto one side of the living room looking out into the minor forest, but could I move both? Do I want both? One is louder, so it’s not feasible to use within the apartment-mansion. The other is nice enough. If I want both, it might be easy enough to store both together. I can’t use the older rower because the television is butted up against it. If I were to decide to sell or gift it, it would be nice to give it one last fair shake. In my ideal gym, I would have a three-rower set. The quiet magnet-resistant, the loud air-resistant, and the water-resistant rowers would all have their purpose and function.

Is that just the hoarder mentality creeping in?

Until I’ve rearranged the space and figured things out, I can’t say for sure.

The contractor and I had a nice conversation that this essay almost serves as a memento of, but more so, it does feel good to not feel embarrassed about inviting people over. It would have been difficult for me to imagine all those years ago, when I first moved into the old place which had near unlimited space for my inner hoarding tendencies to go from a bit of a tidying problem into a full-blown problem, that I could get to where I am now, even, let alone where I could potentially be within a year if I keep at it. I would have thought that it would have been terrible to get rid of some objects, but it’s been surprisingly easy for me.

When I write about specific objects, that’s me figuring things out.

Overall, I feel like as my spine and tailbone do their final healing, I return to work and going out more often, I will be acquiring far fewer objects than donating or selling them. The ratio might be 1 new object for every 10 objects sold/donated, or 1:10, if not 1:100. It’s not that I hate my possessions. It’s complicated, like that rowing machine example above. Do I want to have a three-rower gym? Or will one suffice? One reason is having guests over to either train them or train me in rowing. On some days, I might feel more like getting a good solid workout in with the air-resistant rower, while other days I might want to watch something while rowing with the magnet-resistant rower, and other days still I might want a convenient simulacrum for rowing on the water. There’s a question I need to keep in mind, however: would those rowers become clutter? Or would I intend to use all three near-equally? I had the best intentions with the other objects I’ve owned but let become “clutter.”

I have difficult hoarding decisions ahead of me.


Quotes: None directly.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I enjoyed our conversation and wanted to encapsulate it in this essay, but also, it’s nice to remember why I’m downsizing the way I am. The apartment is still a mess compared to most presentable homes, I would assume, but in a hoarding context – everything is accessible without needing to step over anything.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: I wanted to get the rower and the alarm in one shot, so excuse the extreme angle. Since the picture wasn’t clear in the main shot, I included in the second shot. The third shot has the Halloween decoration. The fourth shot contains information about the picture:
Photo: Indian Ocean, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia
Medium: Paulownia Tree
Process: Image Transfer
Artist: Tracey Tomene
Written On: 2020 October 27 [10:25pm to 11:03pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 27 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.