I’m kind of the opposite of a hoarder. I don’t hang onto much for ‘sentimental’ reasons, I make almost weekly trips to the donation centre and I don’t buy anything without evaluating where it will be stored (including food – only so many bread products will fit in my breadbox, you know?) Homer was quite amused when I was putting away some Christmas presents - I got new stainless steel measuring cups, so I put those in the place where my measuring cups live and immediately put the old plastic ones in the donation bag. I got a new travel mug and donated an old one (there’s only so much room in the ‘mugs’ cupboard). As soon as I read a book, I give it away. If I buy a new sweater, I’ve already made room for it by donating one or more of the older ones. I don’t like stuffed closets or jam-packed drawers - I like to be able to find my things easily and always have a place to put them away.
Homer does not have the same practicalities. He has bought sets of books that he never intends to read, but wanted for our bookshelf (SETS! Like, 12 volumes). He accumulates video games, gadgets and watches like no one I’ve ever seen. He’ll hold onto a piece of clothing for years, even decades (sometimes items just ‘disappear’ and he doesn’t seem to notice). He’ll drive me nuts by bringing home a case of something (food item, cleaning product, etc.) and plopping it in the middle of the kitchen with a big, satisfied grin. My first thought is a panicky ‘where will I put all this?’ The result is that there’s almost a line drawn down the middle of our room. My side is sparsely adorned and orderly and his has stacks and piles and lots of things that don’t have a permanent home.
Still, I have my issues. I still have a whole stack of cloth diapers taking up space in a spare closet, even though my youngest is 3 years out of diapers. Why? I don’t know, except that I haven’t found anyone to give them to and I’m afraid that they’ll be wasted if I give them to a stranger (I loved cloth diapering). I have a small cupboard that’s stacked with the few pieces of memorabilia I do want to keep for my kids (class pictures, hand-print art projects, etc.), but it’s literally a teetering stack with no rhyme, reason or organization. It’s been on my to-do list for years (YEARS!) and I never even get around to starting the project. Hand-me-downs between the girls (from Lisa to Maggie) are getting a little out of control – I need to go through them and really evaluate what is worth hanging onto and what is better thrifted now (there’s a 5-year age gap, so it has to be something really special to justify taking up space for another 4-5 years).
It helps that these things are behind closed doors, but it’s those closed doors that have allowed me to not deal with them (enablers!) I have this theory that people who have big walk-in closets or massive storage areas, whether or not they are well-organized, are just putting off the purging and rationalizing that ought to be as routine in a home as changing the furnace filters, getting your gardens ready and changing your smoke detector batteries. Maybe I’m just jealous of people with big walk-in closets and massive storage areas. In any case, it’s definitely time for me to deal with my little hoarding issues.