Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist, and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native and a graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University.

Are you a collector? I know plenty of folks who are collectors, and my mom was a big collector. Part of being a collector is the fun of acquiring pieces for your collection or in having someone give you a certain piece as a gift. It’s great fun seeing something that you know a loved one would be thrilled to have in their collection or that they would treasure.

I used to be a collector, but lately I have switched streams and have become a purger. In fact, I could now easily be the person who goes in and purges and sorts everything for those folks you see on the hoarder television shows.

I’m pretty sure it all began when I moved back home to Pennsylvania seven years ago. Moving is a terrific motivator for purging your unnecessary belongings since that means you won’t have to pack, move and then unpack them in a new place. I got rid of as much as I thought I could but still hauled a huge moving truck full of belongings back to Pennsylvania, where some of them went into the house but many went into a storage unit. Storage units are a huge business in this country, and I’ve often thought that would be a great business to start – just build a nice group of storage units and people will pay you money each month to guard their stuff. I slowly sorted through and made room for more stuff in the house to the point where I was able to get rid of the storage unit and move the rest of my stuff into the garage where it sat for almost a year.

I can now proudly say that after much hard work, I finally got rid of the last piece of stuff in the garage pile and that everything is in its place. This took a lot of sorting, trips to charity drop-offs and many deals to sell items through online sites. It was actually fun to sell some items and furniture to people who were genuinely excited to find them or to folks who really needed them. I feel like all of my extra pieces of furniture found good homes.

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day for that company that will come haul away your stuff and it made me laugh thinking I did it all on my own and how cleansing and cathartic it felt to unburden myself of it all. It reminded me of the late comedian George Carlin’s old schtick about “stuff” and how you get too much stuff so you get a bigger house and then you fill it with more stuff. I still have plenty of stuff in my house but not as much stuff as I used to have. From now on, I won’t be buying any more stuff but will just enjoy my current stuff.

Kristin Emery can be reached at

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