Recently Jessica and I have been watching past episodes of the show Hoarders. It's really inspired me to get rid of a lot of useless crap and even some things I don't necessarily consider junk. You see, I have been a bit of a hoarder myself. I've never hoarded to the extent of the people on that show*, but it was bad enough with the potential to become worse.
My own hoarding tendencies centered mostly around books. A few years ago, I had acquired thousands of books. I had so many books that my bookshelves were overflowing, and I started to store books in the attic of my place along with other assorted things. I had every intention of reading them all, but there was no way that I ever would despite being a relatively quick reader. Some of the topics didn't even interest me anymore. Eventually I realized that things were out-of-control, so I got rid of a lot of useless things including the majority of my books. I still love books, but I don't have to own every single one. I can borrow them through the library. I can also take advantage of e-books whenever possible. One of the reasons that I purchased a Kindle a couple of years ago is so that I would be able to have books without taking up any physical space. Still, even after my awareness and change, I find myself acquiring more books and items than I need. The show's been really good about reminding me how bad things can get for some hoarders. After watching, I usually find myself with a strong urge to de-clutter and clean. I maybe get even a little bit manic (think of Khan on the very last episode of King of the Hill in which he doesn't take his medication and becomes super productive).
Recently I made kind of an exciting discovery that I believe will allow me to have a little fun while giving away some of the books that I've acquired. There is a website called BookCrossing.com. Basically, you register your books on the website and print out stickers with a tracking number inside. Then, when you give away your books, you have a way of keeping track of not only what you give away but where it is. Of course, this is assuming that people will actually register the books and that the website will even exist in a few years. I decided that I'm gonna take a chance, because I just really think it's a cool idea. I've even been looking forward to participating in what they call "wild release" in which you take a book and randomly put it somewhere just to see where it might end up. I've also thought about taking part in a books for soldiers type of program where I can send some books and see were those books end up, but mostly I'm using this as a way of letting go of books I've read, books that I've decided I don't want to read any more, and books as I read them. There will be some books that I don't want to give up, but I think I can still go a long way. It's a cool idea, and I'm excited to give it a try. I strongly urge you to check the website out and participate in this fun experiment.
*Well, there was maybe one person. She was a pharmaceutical sales rep, and her place was bad, but she hadn't spiraled completely out of control. She mostly collected clothes that she had acquired through compulsive shopping.