| Photo of the living room of a compulsive hoarder --not mine though
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I confess that I am a pack rat. I haven't reached the stage of the hoarders you see on television or the reclusive oddballs who have been found dead, buried by toppled stacks of accumulated junk. Not yet at least. But my wife has her fears.
Actually I have gotten better as I have attempted to pursue a goal of getting rid of something every day. I do try. Really. I'll admit that new things get added on a regular basis, but so do the outgoing things. Well, maybe I've slacked off of late, but my intentions are good.
Stuff piles up. Even when I was on the road with a touring stage production I tended to accumulate stuff. If I hadn't have had my own vehicle during those years, my collection of material things accumulated during those travels would have been undoubtedly far less. When I have a place to put things, I am apt to keep more. At the end of each tour year we'd empty our van to store stuff wherever we'd be provided space. In most cases that would have been my parents house. They had a lot of space even though they too managed to store a lot of stuff.
Part of my pack rat nature probably came from my parents. They were not "hoarders" in the absurd extreme sense of the word, but like most people they kept things. Some things just accumulated because they rarely got sifted through while many others were kept for sentimental reasons, family history, or just because they seemed worth keeping.
After my mother's passing I can't say any of us were amazed or even mildly surprised by all the stuff that was in her house because it was stuff that we often saw when we were there. There were times when, with my mother's blessing, I'd undertake a mission of sorting, organizing, and weeding out. That helped some, but still that daily incoming flow of stuff typically outweighed the stuff going out.
In my own home I've had some energetic bursts of stuff removal with items being sold, donated, or thrown away. This can be tiring and for me it is often a mission that digresses into diversionary exploration and study of what I have in our home's possession. Memories are often stirred as well as the puzzling pondering of "why did I keep this" or "where the heck did this come from".
My stacks of newspapers have dwindled considerably as I've cut back my subscription to just a Sunday paper. I've been slowly going through the accumulations of old newspapers and moving them to the recycling bin. I've had a thing about newspapers since I was in high school when I felt compelled to read every word, study every picture, and look at every advertisement--an undertaking that seemed to never gain ground as stacks became higher and higher.
This never seeming to get ahead of the stuff accumulation is what leads to a purging now and then. My frustration with not reaching my objectives of wading through the stuff that piles up will sometimes spur me to start eliminating things as quickly as I can. Or I'll sort things into piles, storage spaces, or boxes in order to create some semblance of neatness until I can get to it all later.
So it goes. Stuff comes in while some of it goes out. What doesn't go out becomes set aside for someday. I suppose that one day after I have passed from this life there will be stuff for whoever I leave behind. They will sort through it all in wonderment or perhaps even disgust. I've got some pretty cool things tucked away. I wonder if they will recognize that?
Now excuse me while I carry another load of stuff off to the recycle bin. Not all of this stuff is all that cool.
Do you find yourself in a never-ending battle with accumulation? What kinds of stuff do you tend to keep? When do you throw something away?