Monday, November 9, 2015

The Hoarder's Dilemma

We just made our journey from Oregon to Arizona. Several days on the road with my husband driving gave me time to think about things. For example, I am always a little anxious when we return to a house that has not been lived in for 6 months. Is it dirty? Did I leave such a mess of clutter so we won't be able to get in the door? And so on. Clutter stuck as I let it pass through my mind. I began wondering about people that are hoarders and how they can live in such chaos.

In the best seller book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing the reader is asked to decide about their possessions. Do they love that flower pot an arrangement from the florist came in 15 years ago? And does the flower pot love being dusty and on the top shelf behind the can of nuts Aunt Phillipa sent a year later? If the answer is no and no, then out it goes.

I, for example, cannot keep clothes that don't fit or are obviously out of date. I get rid of dead plants and useless kitchen tools. I really hate rancid nuts.

Bottom line: I AM NOT A HOARDER!

But there are those that might not agree. I know people that live with very little around them. They don't want to feel closed in and live a very minimalist lifestyle. To them, I must seem like a keeper of useless things.

See, I do tend to keep things with memories. I have a wine bottle from Spain in the shape of a flamenco dancer that the wine evaporated out of 10 years ago. I have boxes full of awful jewelry that I wore to proms and weddings. I keep freezer wire baskets and clay pots and business cards and moss. When my minimalist friends walk into my house I am sure they cringe.

So I sympathize with the person that keeps gum wrappers and pieces of string. There is really is no accounting for what we treasure. I don't know if there is a cure for hoarding. I certainly hope so. All of us fight an inner hoarder I suppose.

It is just a thought (as I traveled).



  1. Good luck with the dust. My son James arrives tonight at our place with our car, and we fly down on December 4. I hope he is comfortable in our place that's been sitting for 7.5 months.

    1. I have noticed that our place really does not get that dusty. However, water can come in. Our friends suspended ceiling in the Arizona room collapsed with the insulation on top of it. We have come back to a house ruined by water even though we had hired someone to look after it. The list goes on. That is why we don't have time to work anymore1 :)

  2. I have been on a cleaning spree lately. I got rid of things I have kept longer than I should have. On the other hand, I do keep many things others toss. I have shoes that are 20 years old, but the still fit and they are classic styles. In fact, I've been wearing a lot of my old shoes lately because they fit better. I haven't been able to get rid of my suits I once wore to work. Maybe, I just want to prove that I once wore that size!

    1. I have my high school prom dress...I am sure I keep that to prove that I was that size at one time. Some of those old things are things I absolutely love. There will no getting rid of them!

  3. B and I were just discussing this issue today. She has a lot of emotional ties to things -- old books, toys, clothes, knickknacks. I used to hang onto stuff, but now at my age I think I've gotten beyond that. At this point, I just want to pare down and simplify.

    1. Good luck Tom. Getting rid of things is hard enough...having to compromise is even harder!


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