Cleaning House

I, Runnerchica, have a serious confession for my readers. It is one that reality show producers everywhere may want to pay close attention to.  I am a hoarder.

Specifically, I hoard:

1. Running Shoes.

2. Emails.

Let’s begin with the running shoes.  At press time, I scoured my house and gathered all of the Brooks Adrenaline, size 8B’s that I had laying around.  I found twelve for my photo shoot, only to discover one more pair in my trunk and two in our boot box.  That makes fifteen, with only two pair being those that I currently wear.  For my parents and others who may be wondering, “Why does a girl need so many running shoes?” I’ll explain.  Training for marathons twice a year is tough on shoes.  If I don’t replace them every 3-4 months, my body starts to break down.  I had a stress fracture in my right shin from teaching aerobics in college, and I’m not kidding, that old injury starts to flair up when I need new shoes.  It’s like a little built-in alarm; right shin pain strikes, and I’m off to the shoe store.

Baker’s Dozen of Brooks Adrenaline

Buying this many shoes is not that uncommon for runners. The problem with me, however, is that I keep them. All of them.  Which is really silly, as there are only so many shoes you need to mow the lawn.  I should just send them to Goodwill or a throw them in the donation barrel at my running store, where they can be recycled into something useful.  All of those shoes are doing no good to anyone; they are just collecting dust at various points in my house.

On to my second problem.  Emails.  Don’t ask me how, but have I managed to accumulate 16,454 emails in my gmail account, and 7,546 in my mobile me account.  The other day, a rainy Tuesday with little to offer other than Lifetime movies and errands, I decided to tackle the enormous task of DELETION.  It literally took me all day to whittle down my email accounts to less than 1000 and 250 respectively.  I realize this is still ALOT of emails, and for those reading, note that no, I don’t have thousands of people emailing me. It’s  just that I have kept many emails since 2007 or earlier.  One would logically then think that all of these emails would be simple to delete- they are over four years old, for crying out loud.  But no, it turned out that reading the “oldies” was like catching up on my life story.  This is why it took me all day to delete- I’d get caught up in the past and really not want to wipe out parts of “my story.”  This is also why I now have 8 additional folders on my email accounts with those treasured messages saved.

Nonetheless, some 18,000 (give or take; I write, I don’t do math) emails and 13 pair of shoes lighter, I definitely feel cleansed on the computer and shoe fronts.  This exercise made me realize how good it feels to do a little clearing of physical things. It also made me think about how important it is to also regularly clear all of the mental garbage that can weigh us down. I think I can safely say I have company when it comes to having a secret stash of  worries, fears, and other recurring thoughts that wake me up 2 in the morning.  This is called being human.

The problem is, a lot of that garbage can’t be dropped off at Goodwill or deleted in an afternoon.  It tends to linger in the deep caverns of our psyches.  Here it remains until we either completely lose it (enter crying jags, road rage, premature wrinkles, and grey hair), or we let it build up, and this garbage manifests in the form of illness or other serious issues.

Bottom line, we all need places to dump our garbage, and we need to do it often. This, ironically brings me back to the 15 pair of running shoes.  I accumulated that many shoes because running is the best way I know how to get rid (at least for 3-26 miles) of the garbage I am holding onto.  Whether it’s a solo run where I am alone with my thoughts, or a run with a running partner or partners, a run is the perfect place to sort things out.  Ask my ‘rain, shine, sleet or record heat’ every Saturday running partner; I know she’ll agree whole heartedly- running is much better than therapy.  And it’s free… except for the shoes.

So, when you find that your inbox is reaching maximum capacity, and your shelves have no more room for anything… be sure to do what it takes to empty your trash.   After all, all of that extra baggage tends to really slow down your runs. And that’s no fun at all now, is it?

copyright 2011

by abbey algiers

4 thoughts on “Cleaning House

  1. haha – packratism runs in our family cuz……you should see my basement – art supplies and books are my hoarding pleasures…….but I love art and will get to it someday again and books can always find a nook or cranny AND be shared with friends and family……keep on writing!!


  2. I like goodwill over recycle these. The shoes that is, these look in perfect condition and just think, the sang “you don’t know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes,” will be come true for some stranger that doesn’t even know you. Sounds like you are already recycling the emails by rereading and organizing your storage folders. If the shoes were size 9EEE, I’d have you send me a pair. JW


  3. I killed my shoes at the Dirty Girl on Saturday. Thought of you because i can’t run until i buy new ones- they all went to Goodwill this spring- ugh! Teacher inservice in the morning and then shoe shopping for me!


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