Instead of blogging in the past week, I’ve been commuting to my office and preparing for the new semester that is fast coming upon us. This week I witnessed a woman spreading out ads all around her on the bus, possibly sorting, but possibly demonstrating her need for stuff to surround her wherever she goes.
Around the same time I was taking this picture, it was announced that there are an estimated 1 million (plus) hoarders here in Australia, which falls in line with estimates in the US, around 4.5% of the total population. It’s not much of a surprise to me, but hoarding still isn’t as popular a topic on this side of the world.
As I watch popular children’s programing here with my daughter, though, I can see how we are constantly guilted into not wasting material objects. Just a small example, there’s an Aussie-Canadian program called Dirt Girl World with one of the main characters Scrap Boy. It’s all about repurposing stuff. How can we let go of anything when there might be a use for it, or discarding it might hurt the nature around us?
Posted in hoarding identity, weight of things
Tagged Australia, compulsive hoarding, discard, hoard, keep, recycle, repurpose, sprawl, spread, stuff
A long discussion on hoarding with a good friend yesterday yielded the following story:
I can remember myself going down that path, and being surrounded with stuff, some for stability in a way; some for memories, since I’m one of these people that have big chunks of my memories/past missing, so I think I was trying to hold on to something. I still don’t remember a lot of my youth, but maybe I don’t need to or care to anymore, since I’ve reconnected on a much healthier level with my family, and have (I hope) healthier friendships. Now I’ve moved on to getting rid of stuff and can’t really imagine ever going back to saving everything. I even kept broken pens, I couldn’t throw them away, I used to think they would be lonely without me.
When I was talking to my sister’s boyfriend (N.) who helped my mom move, I remember he said something about a couple of things she kept that to him made no sense. They looked like trash, old stuff. When I got to my mom’s place I saw them immediately, but proudly displayed: a mirror from a great uncle, a kid’s chair my brother/sister and I used, a magazine holder I made in school, a table and a toy pirate ship my brother made. Apart from the table, the little chair, and magazine thing, still usable and in very good shape, I can see why N. thinks it’s crap (even the chair), but I think that’s how my mom keeps us there with her. No hoarding by any means, but our conversation made me think of it today. The way we look at things and the importance we attached to them is really in the eye of the beholder.
Posted in beauty in hoarding, guest hoarders, memory hoarding, weight of things
Tagged chair, crap, hoarding, keep, lonely, magazine, mirror, object, pens, trash
As I sift through the mass of objects behind me in this room, the objects become increasingly tangled and cumbersome. To go through it, I must bring it out, and leave it out, until I decide how to dispose of it. My office is quickly becoming a heap of things while the storage area becomes proportionately empty.
The recurring image as I sort out these things is the stereotypical hoarder. On Conan last night, Bruce Jenner and a hoarder were on stage with some Alaskan King Crabs to welcome him to cable. This hoarder, although a comedic image, had objects around her, to the ceiling. She was overweight, generally unattractive, and appeared frightened at her exposure. My repeated dangerous thought was and continues to be, “That’s not a hoarder; her room isn’t that bad.” What hypocrisy to deem someone not enough of a hoarder while I sit here in only a somewhat cluttered room writing about hoarding.
By all appearances, I am not a hoarder, but my mind latches on to these objects all the same. I went with D. to the recycling center this morning and felt internally upset to see architectural plans buried in one of the bins. His comment was that we haven’t looked at them more than once in all the years we’ve lived in this house. Truthfully, I would not have realized they disappeared if I had not been with him this morning. But still, it nagged at me that this potentially valuable set of blueprints was being tossed like garbage when someone had labored over it years ago.
Tomorrow “Deb” is meeting me to buy my turtle collection. It was so easy to find someone, a collector, to take it from me. And as I gathered up the set to estimate the value I attribute to it ($20 more or less), I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, “Would it be so bad if I kept one of them?” And then I chose my favorite one. It, like the others, rested completely forgotten in the bottom of a bin for the past 5 years. I do not know who gave it to me or where it came from, but I somehow want to keep it. I need to sell it to Deb as much as I feel I need to hang on.
Posted in from my hoard to yours, hoarding identity
Tagged Conan, Deb, heap, hoard, hoarder, hypocrisy, keep, sell, sort, stereotypical, stuff, things, turtle, value