I’m not talking about stockpiling toilet rolls or tins of beans.
I’ve hoarded my own stuff.
Before the pandemic hit, I was in full minimalist flow. I was minimising my belongings at every opportunity, I rarely bought anything new, and I had boxes of stuff ready to be donated to the charity shop. But then, as soon as lockdown was announced, I stopped decluttering.
Worse than that, I started re-cluttering.
I brought things back into my home that I’d previously packed away on my ‘to sell’ shelves. I was relieved when I re-found things that I thought had already been donated. I brought them back into my home and promised to never let them go again.
I bought new items. Backups of the things I already have but didn’t want to run out of (I’m talking underwear here, not hand sanitizer). Considering I can’t actually remember the last time I bought anything new, my urge to shop was the most surprising of all.
Now, as lockdown begins to ease, I’m looking around myself and I don’t even recognise the space. Where has my tidy, calm, pre-lockdown home gone? Why are there little piles stacked up in every room? My desk is messy, the living room shelves are full, my kitchen cabinets are packed with cookware and the hallway is littered with empty parcels and packing materials.
This was not the plan.
I suppose everyone’s plans changed during the pandemic, but I didn’t expect to be that affected by it. I went into lockdown thinking ‘this will be easy’. I don’t care to browse the shops anyway, I’d rather cook at home than go out to eat, I had no holidays planned, and my favourite place is my calm home and peaceful garden.
I had more time to myself than ever. I was saving money every day. I was having a lovely time. All the while I was completely unaware that my calm, minimalist life was unraveling at the seams.
At the same time, I was hearing stories of people using their time in lockdown to organise their homes, to get rid of unnecessary stuff, clean, tidy and decorate. I don’t know why I went the other way…
I’ve looked into it and there are so many reasons why people hoard but in this instance I’m pretty sure it’s because of scarcity. There were news stories of supermarket shortages, of delayed deliveries and simply not being able to go to a shop to get what you need, whenever you need it.
For me, that feeling of scarcity manifested in the need to keep hold of things that ‘might come in useful’. Things where ‘I might not be able to get another one’. And in some cases this paid off. I was rewarded when I needed something for our home and I could easily it in my boxes of junk. I felt smug that my hoarding had been successful. But, blimey, it’s messy.
So now’s the time to get back on track. My home needs decluttering again. My post-pandemic life is day 1 of my minimalist journey. Sort of.
Do come back to see how I get on with the new wave of minimising, and please let me know if you too have had the urge to hoard during the pandemic.