Friday, November 18, 2011

The Happy Hoarder

I have a confession to make...I am a hoarder.  No, really, I am.  I know, I house doesn't look like the houses on the show "Hoarders, Buried Alive."  But in case you didn't know, there are different ways to hoard.

Most of you are probably a bit like me in that you are both drawn to and disgusted by the show.  I've only watched it a handful of times, but this strange fascination takes hold of me when the kids call me down and say, "Mom!  Come see this house on 'Hoarders!'" and I run right to the TV to see.  I don't live among piles of garbage, clothing, furniture, debris, food, dishes and "mystery" items (though I have actually been in the houses of some people who do).  But I too am a hoarder, just of a different sort, and I was reminded of my psychological silliness again today.

I was perusing the left-overs in the fridge to creatively put together a delicious lunch that would thriftily use up some odds and end in the fridge and clear some space for the pending holiday goodies soon to be stored there.  I had some left-over rice from last night, some fresh pico de gallo, and half an avocado.  I also had a can of black beans in the pantry...and a jar of Yumm sauce.  What is Yum sauce?  Well, it's Cafe Yumm's signature sauce that they serve on all their rice bowls.  I love Cafe Yumm, and the only one for a long time was in Eugene (until this fall when a new one opened in downtown Portland, yay!).  Every time we had to drive anywhere south of Eugene, I would make my husband stop there for me so I could have a rice bowl.  The last time we were there, I decided to splurge and buy a jar of Yumm sauce so I could make my own delicious rice bowls at home.  But once I got it safely stowed in my cupboard, I couldn't seem to find a reason good enough to warrant opening that little jar of deliciousness.  So today, 3 months later, I wondered if maybe it was time to pour a little on my rice bowl.  I debated.  Should I?  Was it really okay to open it, or should I wait and save it for another day?  Finally I gave myself permission, and I took the jar out of the cupboard.  Uh-oh.  It was greasy.  I unscrewed the lid and looked inside.  The sauce had curdled and separated.  I flipped the lid over to look for the date...yep, expired.  So down the drain went my $8 jar of Yumm sauce.  Once again I had hoarded until I lost what I had hoarded.

Get the picture now?  If not, here's another example:  One year for Christmas Jeff bought me a gift set of my favorite perfume, so now I had lotion, powder, soap, bath gel and body splash to layer my fragrance.  I put it away for "special" occasions.  Only the occasion never seemed special enough.  One day when I was rearranging my bathroom drawers and cupboards I came across the pretty box that held the bottles.  "Oh, yeah," I thought with delight, "I'll have to wear this!"  I opened the lotion and sniffed.  To my dismay it was rancid and ran out like water when I tilted it.  I opened the travel-size perfume bottle...alcohol.  I sprinkled the powder, and it barely contained a scent.  The only thing that seemed to be okay was the soap.  That was quite a bit more than $8 down the drain!

And so it has been for most of my life.  When I receive a special gift, I put it away to bring out for the right occasion, only the right occasion never seems to come.  I'm talking candles, chocolates, coffee, perfume, lotion, dishes, food...

Here is my insight into my idiosyncrasy...when I was 13 my family went through a turbulent time of uprooting.  In just two weeks' time, we had made the decision to move and then relocated across the country taking with us only a suitcase of clothes and leaving everything else behind.  In my mind, my hoarding is a little self-insulation against the sudden uncertainties of life: "I will hang on to this because I might not ever have it again."

My sister is just like me, and we laugh at ourselves and encourage each other to use and enjoy the things we have.  We're good for each other!  My mom is a hoarder too, but not the way we are.  She has many of the same items....lots of lotions, lots of candles, lots of treats.  One time I stayed a week with her after she had had major surgery, and to help her out I cleaned out some of her cupboards (not because they were messy...they weren't...but because she had wanted to get rid of stuff and just hadn't been able to with being sick for awhile).  We laughed and laughed, because under the sink I found 9 toothbrushes (stored neatly in little containers), 7 sponges in a sponge holder, 24 lotions, etc., etc.  Her  hoarder's mantra---just a little different than mine---is: "I will stock up on this because I might not be able to get it again."

So, no, I'm not buried in my stuff, but I do bury my a squirrel against a winter's day.  And now that I've confessed my little oddity, I am going downstairs to light a fragrant candle just because I like the scent, and then I'm going to open up the little cubby in my desk and eat a chocolate!

...or maybe not...

...the box is dated December 2008!!

1 comment:

  1. So funny Karyn! I am the opposite. I think my kids will be traumatized because I throw EVERYTHING out. I can't stand keeping things that aren't being used!