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Hoarders: They Collect All Kinds of Things


I’m sure by now you have all heard of that show, Hoarders, about people that collect stuff. Sometimes it’s someone who has to shop and buy everything they see, other times it’s hoarding things like food or animals. But the end result is the same: living conditions that are less than healthy, especially if there are children in the home.

I haven’t had TV for years (too expensive) so I haven’t seen Hoarders in a while but I do remember several episodes. I was struck by how many of them were elderly and had been slowly collecting stuff for many decades. After watching one particular episode, I was reminded of my Grammy. She had a hard time throwing anything away. She had boxes of old Prevention and Reader’s Digest magazines. When asked why she still had them she answered, “They might come in handy someday.” We pictured her using them in the old wood stove in the event that there was ever a power outage. Just about every spare storage cabinet was full of vases. She saved every single one she ever received. Now, I like flowers the same as the next girl but I only save a handful of vases. The others end up donated. Grammy hardly ever bought Ziplock bags. When she was finished with one (the exception being one that held raw meat), she would wash it and hang it to dry on the silverware in the dish rack. She even had a compost pile AND a pile of scraps she would take across the street to the guy that had chickens. And those little tiny bits of soap left over from the full bar? Those went into an old mint tin for a rainy day.

When there was no soap.

I often wondered why she kept all those things. Mom thought it was because she grew up during the Depression, a time that not many people can even comprehend. When you have nothing, every little means means everything. Perhaps the hoarders that are elderly remember their parents saving every scrap or bit of stuff to save for later.

Not that that’s the only reason for hoarding. Plenty of hoarders are younger so there could be any number of reasons they can’t seem to let go of the stuff that is choking the life out of them.

Many of you are probably aware that I’m going through a divorce. He’s already moved out, leaving me in the house alone, waiting for it to sell (if any of you are moving to Grand Junction, message me) which means a lot of time to think. Soon-to-be ex has many issues, which all of have (not saying I’m perfect by any stretch of the imagination). One of them is holding on to things from his past.

Hoarding them, if you will.

This is something I just can’t comprehend. It’s in the past, it’s done, it’s over. Move on, is my motto. That’s not to say that I don’t often have the past rear its ugly head but I let the emotions flow and sweep it back where it belongs. In the past.

It seems to me that this sort of mental hoarding it just as bad as the physical kind. Allowing unpleasant things from the past rule the present sucks every bit of happiness and joy out of every moment. And makes it hard to imagine a future that is anything but bleak and horrible.

So maybe it’s time to sweep out the rooms of the past, forgive and forget, and move into a clean future. It really isn’t as scary and horrible as you think.

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5 Comments on “Hoarders: They Collect All Kinds of Things”

  1. authormagazineonline May 14, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Great post. I know people who buy or save things and can’t figure it out either (except for books, maybe). The same goes for what I call “dwelling” on things until they become troublesome or until they “suck every bit of happiness and joy out of every moment,” to use your words. If happiness and joy are the goals, then let’s focus on happiness and joy.

  2. Janice Heck May 14, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Sounds like my Granny! This made me laugh thinking about the houses I have helped clean out after a death. I shudder to think that someone will clean out my house one day. I’m starting to get rid of stuff now, but probably not fast enough or just plain enough.

    • shayfabbro May 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      After watching an episode of Hoarders, I want to get rid of every single thing in my house!

  3. Mark Sindone December 9, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    Hoarding is definitely a bad habit that affects not only a person’s physical living condition, but also his/her mental state of mind and health condition too. However, it is not that easy to get a person to quit this unhealthy habit of theirs. I used to have an uncle who did just that and even rented out a few storage units just to accommodate all of the things he had been hoarding throughout so many years. After he passed on, his belongings were auctioned off and the profits went to charity. Well, I guess there was indeed a good thing in hoarding.

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