My dad can't turn down anything free, whether he needs it or not. Apparently, neither can I.
The apartment building that the Chief Engineer and I used to live in had a "free" space in the basement where people could leave things they didn't want, and other people could pick up things they did want. One day, I found this huge bag of empty gift bags. I hate wrapping things. I will never have a room in my home solely for wrapping gifts. Thus, I love gift bags and I was on cloud nine when I found them. I then added in leftover wrapping paper and some store bags of my own.
But whoever left them must've spent a fortune on them! Some bags were duplicates and they're all in pristine condition, which is how I know they were purchased and not simply reused. I've probably used about six of the bags since I got them two years ago. But of the ones that are left, the price markings on them range from $2.49 and $5.49. Let's average that out and say $4 a piece. That's $72 for 18 bags. Suddenly wrapping presents in newspaper like my sister-in-law does sounds like a brilliant idea.
Anyways, this gigantic bag of bags was my decluttering task for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I wanted to use the big bag itself for a craft project and I wanted to store everything in a smaller space.
But alas, I had an emotionally hard time getting rid of some things.
OMG, gift bag from my honeymoon in Williamsburg! Gift bag from a world-famous hotel and cake bakery that friends brought us from Austria! (we ate the cake). I can't get rid of it, it's nostalgic! It might be useful one day! Argh, back in the bag they go.
In the game of hoarding, Joanna: 0, Evil Disordered Hoarding Alter Ego: 1
In the game of hoarding, Joanna: 1: Evil Disordered Hoarding Alter Ego: 1
I got rid of some old tissue paper too, pulled out a couple bags to use for the craft project, and then stuffed pretty much everything right back in the bags. Albeit a little more neatly than before. And I can't get rid of the box, it's a souvenir from my Hawaii trip! Argh. This is ridiculous. A box from Hawaii and a bag from Brooks Brothers. My dad supported the four of us on $50,000 a year growing up. How did I get to be such a snob? No wonder my monthly expenditures are ridiculous. More to the point, what do I do about it?
So I didn't come out evenly matched against my evil disordered hoarding habits today, but I made a little progress. The bags are more organized before and everything takes up a little less space. Now I just have to convince myself to use more of the bags. At least I'm not being attacked by gift bags every time I open the closet now.
There's just one little problem remaining: In the process of trying to become a relative minimalist I've stopped giving others physical gifts. I've done this partially in hope that they'll get the hint that I don't want physical gifts myself, and partially because I'd rather be eco-friendly and give meaningful experiences. Now there's much less to wrap at the holidays, and yet I have all of these gift bags! I hope to try to come up with other uses for them.