|Andrew and Keith: Really could you throw away anything these 2 gave you? (circa 1987)|
I recently came across an article in the New York Times online about hoarding. According to the article:
Excessive clutter and disorganization are often symptoms of a bigger health problem. People who have suffered an emotional trauma or a brain injury often find housecleaning an insurmountable task. Attention deficit disorder, depression, chronic pain and grief can prevent people from getting organized or lead to a buildup of clutter. At its most extreme, chronic disorganization is called hoarding, a condition many experts believe is a mental illness in its own right, although psychiatrists have yet to formally recognize it.
Compulsive hoarding is defined, in part, by clutter that so overtakes living, dining and sleeping spaces that it harms the person’s quality of life. A compulsive hoarder finds it impossible, even painful, to part with possessions. It’s not clear how many people suffer from compulsive hoarding, but estimates start at about 1.5 million Americans.
I think they’re talking about me. I’ve never been able to throw anything away because I’m always sure I’ll need it someday. The puzzle just missing one piece (it’s here somewhere), the tool that I have no clue what it does, but I’m sure it’s important, along with all the cords that have come with computers and tvs.
Then there’s the sentimental stuff. I still have stuff my kids made in school and they are now 36 and 26. Keith’s pencil holder from second grade (the noodles have almost all fallen off by now) and Andrew’s flying pigs picture from first grade are only tips of the iceberg. I’ve got Mother’s Day cards and birthday cards (Keith couldn’t find one that said from your son, so he crossed off the word daughter from it, I couldn’t throw that away). And the boxes of pictures waiting to be put in albums is for another blog.
But the worst has to be the books. I hoard books. Not only my toppling TBR pile, but all the books I’ve read that I hope someday to read again. And the autographed ones to me personally. Then there’s the ones I want to share, but they can only go to a good home (no one who dog ears pages or writes in books need apply). And how can I get rid of a book that a friend gave me? Or the one my mom sent me when I finally moved out on my own.
I know I need professional help, but how can a nonbookaholic understand unless they’ve been there themselves?
So, how about you? Can you love ‘em and leave ‘em? Or do you still have the books from grade school? Do you lend them out? Or are you fussy about who you give them to? Are you a hoarder?
Bottom line: Maybe we need to start a support group…Hoarders Anonymous.