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February 18, 2009




Ask any Fire Men what they call all that "stuff". They'll quaintly refer to it as "FUEL".


I've got fifteen books about hoarding.


The problem isn't hoarding .. it's organizing what's been hoarded. Once you organize it, you become a "library", "museum", "warehouse", or "resource center".


I'm always happy to see a post from the Iowa Firecracker! Best blogger on board!


Here in Denver there's an art exhibit up about a man who hoardes all sortsa stuff!


last year in chelsea, i smelled books... and rounded a corner to see men dumping wheelbarrows of books into dumpsters. i found the manager of the crew, who explained that it was a 'collyer job,' and he wouldn't let me dig through the piles due to health risks. he told me that many shelves of books were actually hollow, where rats and cockroaches had made tunnels through the rows of books! sort of like a giant habitrail in there.

so maybe now would be a good time to check out those boxes you've had piled up for 14 years!


I have a box of clothes I was going to take to the thrift shop and when I decided to sort through it again (why do we always second guess getting rid of stuff?) I found it was full of mouse poop and sunflower seed shells the mice brought in from my birdfeeder (basements are BAD for storage). It had to all be inspected and laundered again, and wouldn't you know it - I decided to keep that old Carhartt coat that's really way to big for me!

I think there must be an electrical action firing synapses or some chemical releasing endorphins when we look at stuff we 'collect'. The recollection of how we discovered it in a dumpster or on a flea market table for a quarter or how none of our siblings wanted it when mom and dad passed away. The memory of the boyfriend or girlfriend we had, how our youth was still in front of us, vacations spent, the music we heard at the time...

Maybe it's a consideration of value, wondering if that little zippo-style lighter that says "Made in Occupied Japan" is worth a car payment. Or maybe it's frugality - wondering if you should save that old scratched up pot you long-ago replaced in case you ever go camping (even though you don't like camping!).

Whatever it is, as long as you don't need a storage unit or pose a danger to yourself, I say don't beat yourself up too badly. When you look at something and it gives you no pleasure, that's the time to say 'Goodbye."


"it might be worth something someday" is about the worst reason for keeping stuff. Since I've started procuring and selling stuff on the side I've had people ask me about the worth of numerous similar items (books) and after investigating I've found this kind of stuff, at best, keeps up with inflation.
This is doubly, triply, quintupally, infinity true about comic books. They will never exceed the value of actually growing up.


Okay, I'm not a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination, but what's a real challenge is being married to a hoarder. My husband is on the crying side of 50 and still has book reports from grade 8. He once told me his stuff makes him feel smart. It's just so damned claustrophobic. When my Mom died, eventhough she was a massive hoarder, it only took 2 people 5 days to sell, dispose, give away or otherwise clear out all the junk. She accumulated it over her whole life, and it amounted to other people just getting rid of it. Simply meaningless.


That UK TV Show "How Clean Is Your House?" is most of the times talking about hoarders and whenever I watch it I look around me for small signs of building a me museum. What particularly struck me about an episode of that series is when they asked the charming hoarder lady - "So how do you feel about your new home?" - "Great! I feel like anything can happen now! I'm thinking of the future, and future is a word I haven't used for a long time..."


Here's a song by Luke Ski called "too much stuff":

chaotic kitten

I've found the 'Buried in Treasures' book really helpful too.

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