Yesterday I spent the entire day  hostage at home. Not by choice, but because in a purely genius move I misplaced my keys.

 I’m not kidding.

 I spent an entire day in my house looking for keys. I could not leave my house because I couldn’t lock my door. I couldn’t leave the door unlocked because my roommate already wants me out and I’m pretty sure if I left the house I probably would not be able to get back in. And without me, there would be no one to care for my massive shoe and clothing collection. (Priorities, right?)

 I’m making light of this but its symptomatic of a real problem. I turned the bed upside down. I checked all my pockets. I retraced my steps. I even went through the trash.

 The funny thing is, days before  I’d finished reading  Mike Nelson’s book “Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life.” I’ve admitted to myself I may have a problem with clutter. Sure my old apartment could have been on one of those Oprah decluttering shows, but I never really thought it was stealing my life, until yesterday. Its literally stealing my life.

  I watch the TLC show hoarders on television and though I’m not that extreme, I relate to what they’re going through. It’s not bad housekeeping. These people aren’t dirty or lazy. I’m an organizational freak. I love to sort and organize things. It’s psychological.

 I can pinpoint  when I became a clutterer. There was a short period of my life when I was homeless. Not literally leaving on the street, but no home to call mine, living with friends, etc. I lived with a male friend who had a crush on me. He kicked me out  when he realized our relationship wasn’t going to be sexual. He kept all my clothes and possessions as a bargaining chip for sex. I left with literally the clothes on my back. A friend of mine gave me a few pieces, but for months I had like two pairs of pants and a couple shirts.

 I think once I was financially able I subconsciously bought and bought and bought clothes to ensure that no matter what happened I would never be in that position again. Now, I can barely walk in my closet and have a large storage unit filled mostly with clothes.

 So back to the keys, I eventually found them. They’d fallen into a pair of knee length boots by my bed. I stared at those boots all day and never was the wiser. It turned out not to be a freak occurence and not a result of my cluttering.  But it very easily could have been.

 I encourage anyone who can remotely relate to this story to check out Mike Nelson’s book “Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life.” Its eye-opening and its life changing.

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