Getting rid of things


Sometimes I watch “Hoarders,” which is a horrible TV show about people with houses full of neckties and Christmas ornaments and cats and small appliances and newspapers. These people continue to hoard until they have no room to move around, and the city threatens to condemn the house.



This is a little too high-powered for me.  There’s a milder show called “Clean House,” with Niecy Nash and Matt Iseman, which is a middle-school version of the same thing: the people don’t seem to be quite so mentally ill, and the end of the show seems to provide some relief.



After watching a few episodes of this, I invariably go on a cleaning spree.



I am not a tidy person.  Ask anyone.  My mother was a cleaning nut: she spent much of her day ensuring that the house was spotless, regardless of the fact that no one ever visited.  My three siblings and I did not inherit this characteristic from her.  My brother’s house is a ghastly mess like mine, with things lying all over the place and spare rooms full of junk; my sister Susan, may she rest in peace and not smite me for this, was not the cleanest soul in the world; and my late sister Darlene used to keep everything, including old newspapers and boxes, stacked all over the house.  Myself, I throw things any which way, both at home and in the office.  I find it comforting, in a rat’s-nest kind of way.



I don’t know.  Maybe Mom picked up after us too much, and we rebelled?  Or maybe the neatness thing skips a generation?



Anyway, “Clean House” always has a positive effect on me.  I start throwing things away, and cleaning, and sorting.  It’s salubrious.



Lately I have been feeling that way in general: feeling that I want to get rid of things.  I look around the apartment and see all kinds of things that Partner and I have accumulated, and so many of them are meaningless space-fillers.



We need to start getting rid of things.



So I clean a shelf here and a drawer there. The pantry closet, which doubles as Partner’s coat closet, is a disaster, but I always promise myself I’ll do that later.  We overbuy things: I was looking for a shower curtain liner in the closet the other night, and I found three. 



Day by day, I am tossing out the garbage and putting the trinkets into the Salvation Army box and giving away a few things here and there.



Invariably this makes me feel better.  I feel cleaner and lighter.



We come into the world with nothing.  It’s our natural state.  Probably we should revert to it.






But I like thinking about it.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to Getting rid of things

  1. Hoarders terrifies me. When I watch it, I usually find myself getting rid or two or three things the next day, usually by taking them to my friends who own a nearby antique shop. I am grateful the things I divest myself of are not as horrific as some of the heartbreakingly disgusting items on Hoarders.

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