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146 Comments

  1. Connie
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:33 am

    I was so happy to see you back today. Wow, this post so resonates with me. I’m so sorry to hear of your brother’s passing. I lost my husband 2 1/2 years ago and I’m now living with all his hoarding, and mine, and it is mentally debilitating. I finally cleaned out our bedroom closets 6 months ago, but still have piles of clothes that I was hoping to sell or that I’m emotionally attached to. This is after donating/pitching at least 20 contractor garbage bags of clothing. I still haven’t cleaned out enough to repaint the room. And this is just the first of the hoarding rooms! I have a whole library of all his collections—complete items in display cabinets, dozens of boxes and bins of pieces and parts and 2 closets full of other collections. It’s truly overwhelming. I don’t even go into the room anymore unless I have to. I won’t even get into my own craft/sewing room of hoarding. Since I have his stuff to worry about, I don’t have brain space to even think about my spaces. The best I’ve been able to do is stop buying anything! Unfortunately, the unexpected loss of his income definitely helped in that regard. I wish you luck on your journey of simplifying and hope to get their myself someday. Please be well and keep posting! I love your wit and storytelling skills!

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  2. Ruth Elder
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:35 am

    I have nothing I can say except I love you. I loved you when you were collecting all the GFT’s that I was green with envy over. I love you now that you are releasing all that does not serve you. I am taking your lesson to heart. I love you for the fact that you have lived through the shock and grief of loosing your brother and that you have survived. I’m holding space for you on this journey and I’m honored that you share it with us.

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  3. Anna Bruce
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:43 am

    I just wish you would post more often:). I subscribed, but maybe I’m missing some, or maybe you just don’t post a lot:)

    Reply

  4. Sandy B
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:44 am

    You’ve written so beautifully about your relationship with your brothers in the past. I am so very sorry for your immense loss.

    Thank you for the post. I think I’m likely not the only one who needed to hear this.

    Reply

  5. claudia
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:46 am

    You might have to change your site name “dictator. procrastinator. hoarder.”

    Reply

  6. Kathleen
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:50 am

    Once upon a time there was a nurse (me) who was in debt along with her husband. And she worked and worked and worked and took all the operating room (OR) call she could. Along the way she earned a BSN and an MSN. At the end she was working 50 hours a week as the evening charge nurse AND taking 80 hours of call for the OR. And over much time the debt was paid off.
    Enter pandemic just as she was finishing her MSN.
    Enter a newly minted day shift charge who had less than 3 years’ experience in NURSING and less than that in the OR and half of that she was carrying and birthing 2 babies. And they wanted to put this new day shift charge in charge of the evening shift charge nurse. Who was very unhappy with the change of events and this teenager being in “charge” of her.
    Enter a newly formed shift for the OR, a 50 hour a week call position. 2100-0700 (9 pm- 7 am). For SALARY (!!!). The evening charge nurse had never worked salary before. So what if she would only be making 60% of what she had been in the wild days of working 24/7? There was no more overtime anyway. She could get away from the new day shift charge and let them stew in their mistake.
    HELL YES!
    It was the call shift or moving to another hospital and this is the hospital that I’d worked at for 17 years and the electronic health record that I helped build.
    HELL NO, I won’t leave the hospital.
    The point of the story, 18 months later, I am still working the call shift and have gained at least 50 hours a week of time. Of course, I’ve started a PhD program in my spare time and still have piles of stuff to go through. I’ll get there.
    I think I’ll go clean the garage.

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  7. Darlene
    June 20, 2023 @ 11:59 am

    All the things!! Everything you wrote about, triggered different feelings, new thoughts, questions, and grief.
    Sorry for your loss feels so empty.
    Missed you like crazy and am thankful your back, for however long it suits you.

    Reply

  8. Barbara Jerabek
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

    Victoria, You are my sister… she was you. I adored her! She was 2 years older and we together were never bored! I am in the process of PURGING hugely as my husband goes through the journey of terminal brain cancer. It helps. I have the sweeet things that matter and the clear space from the things that needed to move along.

    I am heart broken for you to have your brother die. The sweet memories will likely over take the grief at some point. I think of you often as I remember the grace, fun and love I had with my sister.

    Reply

  9. Laura L
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:08 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I remember reading posts about adventures that you two had together. What a loss for you and your family. I hope you are getting help to get through this.

    As far as decluttering …. I find that I have times of accumulating and times of donating. I have come to accept this about myself. It is what it is! Sometimes the thrill of the hunt is my thing … sometimes the rush of decluttering. You do you!

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  10. Terry
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:13 pm

    I have that mirror, sans the tape…

    But yes, loss causes one to question everything.

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  11. Teddee Grace
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:14 pm

    My brother died recently too…and I’ve just made contact with a woman in a distant state who has accepted responsibility for a lot of memorabilia I had been storing for a friend of mine who died in 2018 so I’ve had to pack that up and ship it. All of a sudden, at 79, I’m having a similar feeling about the decor items I’ve been storing in two rental storage units for a decade that are starting to be more and more difficult for me to access. I can still do it, but the expense is getting less and less attractive and it is becoming less and less important for me to change my decor out for the seasons in my one-bedroom apartment. I’m making no effort to get any return on my thrift shopping dollars. I’m just donating everything. Let someone else enjoy these things that once gave me joy. Here’s to clearing the decks.

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  12. Lindsey
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:16 pm

    I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your brother. I remember you posting about him before and the fun you all had.
    This post about decluttering is something I needed to hear because I have so many dresses I am keeping because “what if it comes back in style?” I really should make things cleaner because you are right, I wouldn’t get rid of it if it’s perfect and I need it.
    Never get rid of Narnia. But if SELF makes you, you better call/email me. It’s so amazing and such a treasure should be loved

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  13. Laura S.
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:20 pm

    My condolences for the loss of your loved one. My happiness to you for beginning the journey to find your true center.

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  14. Jamie
    June 20, 2023 @ 12:36 pm

    Vicoria,
    About 20 years ago, my house caught fire and burned….. to the ground. Talk about decluttering! Fast forward another twenty and surprise! I owned more crap than ever. Then Marie Kondo came long and I became an acolyte. Spent days and days purging – especially clothes. If something tugged at my senselessly sentimental heartstrings, I took a picture of it before it went in ‘The Box’. The thinking behind this was that if I were feeling nostalgic for it, I’d look at the picture. Which I’ve never done. Not once. I feel cleaner these days, less burdened. (That said, I once thought I’d lost a favorite pendant necklace, and insanity ensued – some things need to be held close). I love your writing! Keep up the good work, and my condolences for your loss.

    Reply

  15. Karen
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:13 pm

    Well done!!!!

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  16. Tammy
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:13 pm

    I am getting better at declutteting but I’m married to a man who is an obsessive keeper of things so when I purge stuff, my junk goes and the vacated space gets populated with his stuff. Help, what do I do that does not involve divorce?

    Reply

  17. Jen
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:14 pm

    Sorry about your brother. My brother died, then 4 years later I lost my dad. I’m still selling off items from my brother’s estate, which has instilled in me the mission to cull everything that I have so I do not leave this burden for someone else. And like you, you can enjoy your spaces so much more without the anchor of all this unneeded, anxiety provoking belongings to manage.

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  18. Lisa
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:16 pm

    Victoria I have tears in my eyes as I read your latest email and then the comments ~ you are so loved and appreciated . I lost my older brother a few years ago and still have not come to grips with it , I just figured he’d always be there for me . I am a lifetime hoarder as well and always Intend to cull the chaos sometime soon…. so maybe this lovely story of yours will inspire me to begin . I am so sorry for your loss and will keep you in my prayers .

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  19. Tammy
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:18 pm

    When I saw the email notification of this post with a brief bit about decluttering of the giant fancy stuff, I was pretty sure you had been hacked. Glad to know that’s not the case! And I am so very sorry about the loss of your brother. I lost my husband last April and still keep wondering when I am going to wake from this nightmare to find him right beside me where he belongs. It hurts and always will. But slowly we manage to start moving forward trying to figure out life without them. Sending hugs and prayers.

    Reply

  20. Jenwren
    June 20, 2023 @ 1:20 pm

    I know you hurt. I’m sorry.
    Your post was timely for me. We sold our house quickly and packed quickly, without getting to clear out first. I’m doubly committed to NOT putting all that (beautiful, but…) stuff in the new place. It helps that it’s a Craftsman style instead of a European. Good excuse to cull.
    Thanks for helping to keep us all on the straight and narrow – in a GOOD way!

    Reply

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