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What’s Wrong with the Writer: Hoarding

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May 9, 2017 by Renee

Someone recently suggested I post a series here about the things that are wrong with me. I don’t see them as “wrong,” mind you. They’re simply the things that make me different. Special.

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Actually, I bet a bunch of you enjoy the same quirks, so maybe this whole thing will be an exercise that’s good for my self esteem. Or not. Let’s begin.

I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning lately. Of course, it’s in spurts. One or two days every week or couple of weeks, because I’m really not a fan of cleaning, because I know that I stash all kinds of crap everywhere, and cleaning means I have to deal with said crap. I’ve been denying it for years, but now, I know I have to admit that I have a problem.

I’m a hoarder.

When I started the “overhaul” of every room in this house (still not done yet), I began with my computer files, because I had to clear everything off my laptop before it was repaired, and I only had so much storage available on my backup device, so I figured I’d just get rid of files I no longer need.

I found no less than three versions of almost EVERY story I’ve ever written. I wish I was kidding. But then, when it came time to delete the old versions, I actually experienced physical pain. Did I delete them?

No.

I bought a bunch of flash drives and saved it all. I suck at organizing, so I’m not entirely sure what’s on which drive, but it’s all there somewhere and that makes me happy. I’ll probably never look at half the files again, but they’re there, and that’s okay.

But files aren’t real. They don’t take up “real” space. The other things I hoard are a different matter.

Before we begin, I should mention that the strangest thing about my hoarding habit is that I hoard OTHER PEOPLE’S THINGS more than my own. That’s right. Most of the stuff I keep around my house for whatever reason isn’t even mine.

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Right?! I’ll just give you some examples of the things I’ve realized I’m hoarding and my rationale (if I have any) behind keeping them.

Charger cords: In my defense, you never know when a spare charger cord will come in handy, or what will be compatible with what. So I simply NEVER throw out anyone’s charger cord. Laptop, phone, game, tablet, etc. I keep them all. I did toss the gross ones and the ones with bare wires… finally.

Laundry soap bottles: See, I have this box near the washing machine, and it’s just so much easier to toss empty bottles in there and walk away. Problem is, a couple of times a year, the recycling guy is all “WTF is this giant bag of laundry soap bottles?” (also cat litter jugs and shampoo bottles) It’s laziness. I know. It’d be just as easy to toss them in the recycling, but I just don’t do it.

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Books: I know, you’re all “Obviously!” but it’s not just my books I hoard. I don’t throw out ANY books. Not even when the owner of said book says “You can donate these.” I just keep them. I have about 100 books right now that aren’t mine that I’m supposed to give away, and they’re STILL HERE. Sigh.

But… books.

Clothes: Again, not even my clothes. Until a few weeks ago, I had three garbage bags full of clothes my kids don’t wear anymore. Did I toss them? Nope. Kept them for MONTHS. Just in case they changed their minds. But they’re gone now. All of them. Just in time for another massive closet clean-out.

Bills, papers, etc.: I don’t know why I don’t get rid of bank statements and bills that I don’t have to claim or pay or whatever. I just keep them in case… I don’t fucking know. I found a box of old statements and bills about a month ago. Yes, I got rid of them, but I’m not going to lie; I hesitated.

Dishes: I don’t think I’m alone in this. I keep every dish, lid, cup, pot, pan, whatever. You never know when someone else might need it. Right? Sure. I cut my coffee mug collection in half recently. It was so hard, but now there’s only one shelf full of mugs. And I cleaned out the plastic container cupboard. Tossed everything without a lid, and every lid without a matching container. I recycled a garbage bag full of those. I was quite proud of that.

And then I found a container missing a lid and wondered…

Pens, pencils, markers: Not a single one are mine. They’re stuff I bought for my kids. Some of them are out of ink. Some have been here since Court was in Kindergarten (she’s 18). I think those are useful things to hoard, though.

Games, movies, CD’s, etc.: I can’t even tell you how many of these we have. I don’t own a single one. Have I chucked them yet? Sold them? Given them away? Nope. Still here. In my defense, the CD’s are Kurt’s and there’s about five boxes of them, but I don’t see how I can throw away something that’s not mine, even if they’ve sat in said boxes for about four years.

Christ, FOUR years.

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Shoes: Okay, I’m a girl. Shoes are awesome. Problem is, of the probably thirty-odd pairs of shoes and/or boots we have, there are maybe four or five that are mine. The rest belong to my daughters, and I’m not even sure most of them even fit them anymore.

But they’re all like new, so I keep them until I find someone who will wear them. Is that weird?

Food: I’m just going to come out and say I know this is bad. Like, really bad. When you start finding food in your cupboards that expired two years ago (sometimes more), you’ve got a problem. I know this. When I cleaned out the dish cupboards a couple of months ago, I also cleaned out the food cupboards. Found apple sauce that expired in 2015, and some granola bars that expired in 2012… I don’t want to talk about those.

Let’s just say I promised myself I’d keep better track of best before dates… and I won’t keep anything people in this house won’t eat.

Probably.

Bags: Plastic bags, cloth bags, bookbags, purses—if it’s a bag, I keeps it. Got those little bastards tucked everywhere. Even the ones with holes.

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What else? Oh, yes. Coffee makers. Got a Keurig, a Tassimo, a percolator, a regular “drip” coffee maker (times two), and I think that’s all. Oh, and the tea kettle, in case I’m forced to drink instant coffee. They all work, so why would I get rid of them? Right? I mean, one might stop working, and then where would I be?

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Electronics: I’m not even going to get into this one. I have broken phones and laptops tucked away for no good reason. That’s all you need to know about how bad that particular hoarding habit is.

Okay, I think that’s all the confession I can handle today. I doubt I’ll ever delete my writing files, even if I hate them or don’t need them. I just can’t bring myself to do it, and since they don’t take up space in my house, I’ve decided it’s okay to hoard those. I’m trying to stop hoarding everything else, though. Well, I’m going to at least stop hoarding things that aren’t mine.

What about you guys? Anything you hoard that you know you shouldn’t?

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Renee

Renee

I like to write stuff. Sometimes it's funny. I've published some novels and short fiction. I also battle an addiction to cake and potato chips, and I sometimes have inappropriate fantasies involving Kevin Spacey.

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