advantages to hoarding

I just emptied out the small rubbermade box that has been sitting on the floor behind me for more than a week. I also decided I could fill it with the few things I’m allowing myself to keep in storage like Grandma’s jewelry, Great-Grandma’s wooden sleigh, a tiny box my best friend from ages 8-14 bought me in New Zealand … you know, stuff.

 

I said it was empty, not that I got rid of the stuff.

 

In the box I found a letter from an old boyfriend, ostensibly written long after we had broken up (maybe 4 years later). In it he spoke about finding lasting friendship and if that were possible in any form other than marriage. His letter was bright, full of humor, misspelled words and bad grammar – exactly what I remember about him. I chose not to recycle the letter and I quickly put it in a folder that contains notes written between me and friends in the 1980s (filed in chronological order). His letter doesn’t belong there, but it was an easy place to stash it.

And that folder contained a letter I had written in 1989 to “Mr. Journal” listing the pros and cons of a potential move to Missouri so my father could marry his now wife. The witty and poorly organized writing of a 14-year-old me further cracked me up. (One of my “cons” for moving was that I would have to go to church more often. And how would I live without my boyfriend at the time who I swore I was in love with – but also my crush at the time with whom I had no real relationship.) I got a few moments of real joy by reading crap that I have saved for more than 20 years and have now placed back onto a shelf.

Add to this, a Fedex truck sighting just interrupted this blog post because I’m awaiting some important documents. I scurried down to the garage to see if a package was left (it wasn’t), and looked into the garage for the first time since some friends used it to store their belongings during a move. D. had warned me that I might be unhappy about how much junk is in the garage. He vastly underestimates my tolerance for stuff. I laughed to myself, “That’s hardly anything. The garage is half-empty.” Second advantage to the hoarder: optimism regarding space’s capacity for holding things.

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