As I opened my bedroom closet, in anticipation of moving my summer clothes out of the way and putting my winter clothes front and center, suddenly the subject of hoarding came to mind.
I’m not a hoarder…yet. I do have a hard time throwing things out, however. Except for things like banana peels, which I know I’ll never find a use for, I have a very strong urge to hang on to things, just in case. (And, I did read that if you rub the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite it calms the itch.)
When we moved from Washington Street out to the country, I hired a dumpster, which was delivered to the driveway. My daughter Morgan and I opened a window in the attic and threw things out, aiming for the dumpster. I had piles of magazines neatly tied with string. I had boxes of baby clothes. (My kids were in their thirties by now!) I had bags of old toys. I had every Christmas decoration I had ever bought or inherited. I might have just carried all of it to the new house, but Morgan exerted her iron will on me, and out it went.
Still, I have a closet…or two…of things at the new house that I will probably never use. (You never know when you might need a macramé plant hanger!) The idea of a garage sale has come into my mind once or twice, but I had a bad garage sale experience many, many years ago, and gave them up for good. I simply can’t get up early enough in the morning to run a successful garage sale — the customers were there two hours before the advertised starting time. And then they looked at my merchandise and said in loud voices to their companions as they walked away, “Well, this was a waste of time.” I had to agree with them.
Giving things away should be easy, right? I took what I thought were very nice clothes to a resale shop a long time ago. The clerk said, “Nobody will buy this stuff!” I thought, “But they buy all this other stuff!” So I gave up the idea of getting any money for my used things, and now drop them off at charity stores, where they are nice about my used clothing, even if they don’t think it will sell. My daughter says my problem is that I wear my clothes about twenty years longer than most people, so they are hopelessly out of date by the time I give them away.
In fact, I did take a few of my really wowza ‘80s dresses, with shoulder pads as big as Aaron Rodgers’, to the Winona County Historical Society. Jodi Brom, who is the curator, was skeptical about taking any of my clothes for their vintage clothing collection, but when she saw those shoulder pads, she just had to have them!
When I finally did move into my house, I realized that I should have thrown away much more than I did. I still have two boxes that remain unpacked. And there are those closets. Not only that, but the people who owned the house before us left a few things!
Hoarding does serve a purpose, I’ve decided. It is concrete evidence that we all have too much stuff. We’ll never get back to the days of being able to either burn up all our extra stuff in the stove, or feed it to the pig, but it sure would be nice.
Where would I put a pig?