How do you cure hoarding tendencies? Move 3 times in 12 months, one of those international, followed immediately by 2 trips during which you must live out of your smallest suitcase. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but it has made me habitually re-evaluate what is important to have with me at all times. It comes down to my
passport, my money, my computer/iPad, phone and some clothes and kitchen things family. Oh right, family! The ones I love are healthy and happy and so am I. That’s all that really matters.
Still, there’s all this other stuff. Baggage. It trails behind me with little wheels, sometimes a comforting pleasure, sometimes a burden. I’m packing today and trying to decide if I check a bag, how to keep it light. My brain is a chaotic mess of lists that keep slipping away. My body is ready to relax. Tonight I’ll hit the road for a research trip in which I have 5 different destinations in less than 10 days.
In honor of the voyage ahead, I finally emptied my backpack (left exactly as shown). I’ve pared down the contents several times in the past few weeks, but still, the contents are impressive. It’s my “just in case I need it” inherited hoarding disorder. 3 chapsticks, several tampons, two packages of kleenex, one pack of baby-wipes, numerous pills (sinus, pain), 10 or more pens, scraps of paper, an umbrella, plastic bags, headphones, iPad charger, sunglasses, cereal bars, breath mints, a bottle of water. I even found a flashlight and a clean pair of underwear. Those are the things I drag with me everywhere hidden in pockets. That’s not including the important passport, money, phone, books, tech…
Apparently I still have work to do in the hoarding category. But at the moment, I’m pleasantly unpacked and about to start stuffing it back together again.
And you? What’s in your bag?
Posted in hoarding identity, Uncategorized
Tagged baggage, book, burden, disorder, hoard, iPad, move, pack, stuff, suitcase
For the past month my daughter and I have been searching for her Fisher Price pig that goes with her farm set. It nagged at me that I couldn’t place it, although I could identify the last time I’d seen it and the possible last places it could be lingering. Then, over the weekend, I was sorting through her pajama drawer when suddenly the pig emerged. I almost screamed out of joy, “Look who I found!” There was much celebrating with the pig that night as he drank and drank from his favorite bottle.
Lost objects weigh on me. They plague me. I cannot let them go. I lost my iPad stylus overnight on Saturday and on Sunday I emptied out my backpack and diaper bag looking everywhere for it. D. said jokingly, “It’s probably on your desk.” I took him seriously and checked. There it was. I probably spent an hour looking for something that was in the most obvious place.
And so it goes in this house as I seek to match PollyPocket shoes and accessories, identifying what’s gone missing. The moment this began in my life is as clear as the many objects I geographically map in my mind. I was about seven years old, standing in the hallway in my childhood home, asking my dad where a certain toy was. “Ask your mother,” he said. “She knows where everything is.”
I asked her and she knew the exact spot where the random item had been abandoned. I was amazed and took note, “This is behavior to emulate.” And since that time it’s always been important to me to know exactly where all of my stuff is. Now that there is a child in my life (and to be clear, she’s fairly tidy for a two year old), there’s only that much more stuff to catalog in my brain. I’m sure I’ve wasted more salary hours by tracking than the objects would cost to replace, but I still have not lost little items from my own childhood, at least until now as I choose to part with them.
Posted in hoarding identity, weight of things
Tagged catalog, childhood, cost, iPad, item, lost, map, objects, pig, place, PollyPocket, remember, replace, sort, stylus, tracking, weigh, where
What initially prompted me to think about hoarding and identity was not my realization of my own problems. Rather, I was playing games on Facebook and started seeing more and more virtual animal hoarders. My own zoos, farms or whathaveyous tend to be organized but cluttered (quelle surprise!), but recently I cut out the zoo completely and have started selling off the cattle in Farmville. I play for the social aspect of it, but there is a huge part of these games that has to be tied into the compulsion to collect. For every holiday there is a new goal of collecting as many somethings as you can in order to get something else that is virtually really cool. I don’t remember what I’m saving my virtual Valentines for … if it’s a pink cow or the Eiffel Tower. I don’t have room for either one, anyway.
a random Farmville hoarder
Digital hoarding is easily hidden. As I posted a few days ago, all of my paper articles are now going into digital format and getting catalogued into my iPad. I’m not as bad as Jenna Wortham’s account in “True Confessions of a Digital Hoarder,” but my inbox that ties together 4 email accounts does currently have 2418 messages with 80 of those marked unread. This does not include the long list of folders in which I have filed important messages. For Christmas I got an external hard drive … let the hoarding of files continue.
This type of hoarding is relatively unseen and physically shouldn’t interfere with relationships and living well. As far as my computer is concerned, my search functions combined with my filing system work well enough that I can quickly find what I need to do my work. At what point, though, could digital hoarding become a hindrance to a satisfying life? When I’m so compelled to snatch up those online animals that need to be adopted that I can’t do other daily tasks? When I can no longer find that important email inviting me to rule the world? What does digital hoarding mean to you?
Posted in hoarding identity, hoarding in the profession
Tagged adopt, animal, delete, digital hoarding, digitize, Facebook, Farmville, hard drive, hoard, iPad, library, living well, sell
Thank you iPad for making my hoarding less visible, more organized, lightweight and convenient. I just cleared off a big chunk of real estate by recycling the articles I now have in my iTunes library.