Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | June 22, 2013

Clean out!

I did something last weekend that I am incredibly proud of…

I have an obsessive attachment to things. I know it sounds a little bit shallow, but it’s true. I am incredibly attached to things. I can’t throw anything away. If it still works, or if it’s only a little broken, or if it might be useful one day, I just can’t bear to part with it. I think it has something to do with my inner environmentalist, who hates adding more stuff to landfills. And so I hoard. If you asked me those questions they ask people who are compulsive hoarders about things, how memories are attached to them, how throwing out anything is painful, like I’m throwing away the memories that go with them. I’d be on someone’s watch-list for sure.

I’m aware of this, so I don’t take much in. But what I do have that is in my life, I can’t get rid of. But I’m coming to a really important and exciting event in my life. I’ve been on a waiting list to move into my own, one-bedroom apartment (squeeeeeeee!) and it means a bit of downsizing (also to make the move easier). So I’ve made a resolution that I would get rid of some things I don’t use anymore. Some things that aren’t ever going to get fixed in the next 5 years. And so I did. I went through my entire bedroom, and got rid of things. Jeans with holes that I’ve not patched in the past 5 years. The old pens that don’t write that I’m never going to get replacement ink tubes for. A small chain from my hair brush that I figured might be useful one day. Old clothes that are too small or that I’m never going to actually wear. Old books from school that I hated but are still sitting on my bookshelf. I got rid of it all. I gave some of it away, and the stuff that really didn’t have utility, I threw away. This was a big big big step for me, and I wanted to share the triumph. Yes, after I dropped the little chain into the trash can, I flapped for a good 5 minutes trying to convince myself it was ok. And that’s ok too.

I still have all of my notes from high school and college. I need to go through them and get rid of them as well. There’s no way I’m ever going to need my class notes from French Literature (I kept the grammar/vocab book though), or my notes from high school classes. I haven’t looked at most of them once in the past 5 years, and it’s time for them to go. I have whole closets full of stuff that I haven’t tackled yet. But I will, bit by bit. Maybe next week…

What does this have to do with autism, you ask? Well a number of things. For one thing, change is hard. This wasn’t a big change in terms of my living environment, just a little bit more space. But it was change nonetheless. Change I didn’t absolutely need to do, but change I thought would be a good idea. For another, it’s a break in my routines. I keep things, I don’t throw them away. And while the process has been rather difficult and filled with agitated, unhappy stimming, the result is very happy. And that’s worth it to me at this point. Yay for self-growth! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week!


  1. I sooo get this! Good for you…

  2. Oh, well done! Congratulations on what I agree is an important achievement. And a brave one. I hereby award to you the PLF Medal! (That’s Personal Liberation Fighter, if you’re not sure). And enjoy your new space when you get in there!

  3. Good going!! Congrats 🙂

  4. Great job! I have a similar problem. Did you feel freed up, afterwards or remorseful?

    • Thanks 🙂 I feel a bit of both… mostly freed up, but I threw out a bunch of jeans (Well, I put them on the “give away” table at my housing, and someone took them then threw them out the next day. It was only a day later that I remembered I might have been able to put them to use in lab as my advisor had suggested we needed some old fairly strong cloth. But moving on from that…



    Sent from my iPod

  6. Good job! I know exactly what you’re going through! 🙂

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