Keep Beautiful Memories

This is a great post on releasing the clutter and starting over. I’m not a hoarder but I do have a lot of stuff and clutter, and I do suffer from C.H.A.O.S (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I’ve been slowly selling and donating. At first it was because I needed the money but then I realized that getting rid of stuff that was related to my past was physically releasing many painful and sad memories out of my mind and out of my environment. It was therapeutic.

For sensitives things contain emotional memories that can contribute to ongoing depression.

 When it comes to deciding on what to toss, it’s not so hard if you only keep the beautiful memories. You deserve a new beginning.

SG x

I Was A Hoarder. Here’s How I Cleaned Out My Home, Lost Over 100 Pounds & Changed My Life

Nine years ago, time stopped. Little by little, day by day, my world became less active, less social, and less fulfilling. Like a balloon with a slow air leak, I found myself deflating.

I was childless, husbandless, and miserable in my fixer-upper home that I had no means to fix up. I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, and food had become my addiction — a numbing, comforting distraction from my problems.

I’d allowed my story of brokenness and isolation to overshadow everything good in my life, and I found myself spiraling into a sort of high-functioning depression. Sometimes, I’d find myself crying in my driveway for an hour or more before I could work up the strength to go into my house — a place I dreaded entering.

My hoarding was my biggest secret and I guarded it with my life.

Inside, unpacked boxes from my last move lay on the floor, awaiting a new home. Items I’d collected from my late mother’s estate were strewn all around. The remnants of a burglary a few years back, the mementos from old jobs and relationships all of it made my home a time capsule of “stuff” that marked each period of loss in my life. My space was just as cluttered as my mind, and as tight and uncomfortable as the weight on my body. My hoarding was my biggest secret and I guarded it with my life.

I hadn’t let anyone into my house in nine years.

My home before the decluttering process began

My weight and hoarding were proof of how I’d allowed my mind, my body, and my space to become personal prisons. Yet, late in 2013, the tide began to turn after I watched a video advertising an upcoming “Faith and Fitness” retreat. Intrigued by the notion of using my faith to reach my fitness and weight-loss goals, I attended the retreat and learned more about the importance of using food and exercise to fuel my body, my own personal temple.

Once 2014 came around, I had committed to eating healthier, exercising more, and spending time with new like-minded friends I’d met at the retreat. One of those friends soon asked me to join him while he stood in line to audition for ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss — a program that documents participants who set out to lose massive amounts of body weight over the course of a year. I was excited to support him, but I made it clear that I had no intention of auditioning myself. I didn’t think I had an interesting enough story to tell, and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of standing half-naked for the whole world to see.

My space was just as cluttered as my mind, and as tight and uncomfortable as the weight on my body.

But as time went on, my friend convinced me that the show could be an opportunity to move closer to the life I’d always dreamed of, and by the time I was selected as a cast member for Season 5, I was thrilled. But then reality sank in. I learned that participants on the show were required to allow a camera crew into their home for filming.

Needless to say, I was nearly paralyzed by the thought of letting the Extreme Weight Loss folks into my space. I hadn’t let anyone into my house in nearly a decade what was I thinking inviting more than 3 million viewers on national TV?

I still remember the moment I was standing in my backyard, waiting for my 90-day “weight-loss reveal” to my friends after a few months of intense diet and exercise. A show host asked me to tell my friends why they were in my backyard for the reveal and not in my home. I was mortified. I stood there weeping and praying, but that moment ultimately gave me the clarity I needed to move forward in my journey and release the things, weight, people, and regrets that stood in my way.

I had literally built a barrier around my house, my body, and my heart so I wouldn’t feel any sort of pain again. But then I realized that I was hurting myself more than anyone else could. It was time to open up my home.

My new, clutter-free home

After sharing my hoarding secret at the 90-day reveal, the folks at Extreme Weight Loss told me that they’d arranged for the team from another reality show, Hoarders, to come into my home and help me clear the clutter. Show host and decluttering expert Matt Paxton and his team were extremely helpful and patient with me as I made decisions about what to keep, donate, or trash.

Doing so was easier than I’d imagined it would be — once I made the decision that getting my life back in order was more important than living in clutter, isolation, and fear, releasing items from my past was relatively painless.

Within 24 hours, my home was a comfortable, minimalist space. It felt like a ray of sunshine streaming in where darkness had lived for far too long. I loved finally being able to easily maneuver around my house and allow friends back into my life. Before they left, the clutter-clearing team presented me with a small box of items that my mom had specifically marked “Keep Beautiful Memories.”

To me, this described not only the items in the box but the mentality I needed to take moving forward. I would only surround myself with the beautiful memories and allow the baggage to fall away.

I would only surround myself with the beautiful memories, and allow the baggage to fall away.

My televised weight-loss journey continued over the next year, and I found it easier to focus on my health without the emotional weight of all the “stuff” that surrounded me. Freed of the clutter, released from the harbored regret and unresolved hurt that manifested throughout my home, I lost 114 pounds and regained my health by the time the show wrapped up. I also regained a functional household, paid off my debt, and adopted my new, positive mindset through all other aspects of my life.

Each day, I continue to evaluate everything in my life and release anything that’s holding me back instead of propelling me forward.

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6 thoughts on “Keep Beautiful Memories

  1. Here, here! I am a committed thrower outer. If I look at something and it triggers a bad thought or feeling it’s GONE forever. My N ex was a hoarder as they all are but will never admit. I got so much pleasure in tossing all the crap. It is cathartic. Also, sage or ‘smudging’ the place is wonderful and amazing all at once. I saged my house yesterday as I was putting some sage together for a friend who wanted to sage hers of the negative energy. I thought ‘why not one more go round for my house, it’s been a while.’ Well, that was yesterday and this morning I woke up with the thought to sell my house, get something smaller and easier, less stressful to care for. I have spent the day contacting people, getting things ship shape and I am excited! What makes us happy is not stuff, it’s peace within.

  2. Yes, absolutely. I had this recurring phrase running through my mind before I actually woke up yesterday morning, I get them often. It was, “Truly surrendering means being willing to let go of everyone, everything and anything, and know that you are still very, very loved.” I found a lot of strength and comfort in those words. Having faith that I will be fine even though I don’t know what will happen. I do know I am on the right path because it feels right and I guess for now, that’s all I need to know.

    • Wow! That’s pretty amazing, partly because you’ve got such clarity and because I’m in exactly the same space as you! It’s amazing how you attract people at the same stage.
      I have the capacity to read what is just over the horizon ( a visionary) so I tend to know what’s coming ahead of time.. throws a spanner in the works some what..

      • Isn’t that the truth! That’s a wonderful gift you have. I remember when I first started my angry recovery and all I found were angry bloggers at the same stage as me which was great! Now I’m further along, no longer angry, grateful for the enlightenment that came of it all and continuing to move forward and finding people at that stage too. It’s wild how that goes. Yes, it does sound like we are in the same boat, bailing water at times. ;-) be well my friend.

  3. Actually it is a pretty wonderful gift, just maybe not when used in your personal life. I tend to spend a great deal of time either in the past or in the potential future and that causes all sorts of problems. A mentor really would have been helpful :o)
    I have so many stories to tell, which reminds me of Maya Angelou’s quote..
    “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”.
    I feel like that. Like my story’s a little too dangerous to tell :o(

    I read a quote and a post this morning by Elizabeth Gilbert who I find hilarious..
    ‘Stop going to the hardware store to buy milk’ which really made me laugh because I identified with it greatly. Story of my life I think..
    One of the questions she asked was.. “Is there a city that you can’t stand living in anymore, because they simply don’t sell the kind of milk there that you need?”

    Ha! I feel that, and needed to read that today..

    Like you, my blog used to be very open and vulnerable and I had a lot of regular readers. At some point I stopped being so vulnerable especially regarding how these “gifts’ affected me and I stopped writing so much about me (I also made all my previous posts private).

    I guess I didn’t have the emotional energy to write about it anymore. I didn’t want to pour my heart out anymore. I guess I came to the point I didn’t need to, so instead I posted articles that spoke to me, which I needed everyday to keep me going and moving forward.
    I found I couldn’t read my followers posts either. Suddenly they felt repetitive and stuck. Maybe like you said, still in their anger. They had all helped me a great deal, but that’s life I guess, you grow, you move forward, and sometimes with a heavy heart the past has to be left behind.

    Funny what you say about bailing water :o) Because I feel like I’m travelling to a new land often just managing to keep myself afloat to get there..

    You have a great gift too. You know exactly what is say. Things that reach into a person’s core, calms them and helps them to figure things out <3

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