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Friday, April 15, 2011

Hoarder or Sentimental Collector?

demotivational posters - HOARDINGI used to think I might be a hoarder. Then I saw the A&E show Hoarders ... or was it the TLC show Hoarding: Buried Alive?  (FYI, there is even a show on Animal Planet called Confessions: Animal Hoarding, which could also be named "The Smelly Cat Lady"). Obviously, hoarding is hot, the "new black" of psychological disorders. These shows feature folks who, inside their quaint, cottage homes and average apartments, stockpile everything from newspapers, to shoes, to flat out garbage, and even cats. I once worked with a woman whose beanie baby collection got so large, she had to store them in the trailer of a semi truck.  

After watching [wincing at?] these shows, I realize that I am not a hoarder. I'm more of a collector of sentimental objects that signify a time or even someone from my past that I would like to hold on to. I can't attach sentiment to towers of newspapers or garbage. I still have my crayons from kindergarten at Beulah Elementary, my third grade poetry notebook passed between my two best friends and I (who could throw away a book that contained the line, "I wore glasses to all my classes."??),  a spool of avocado green thread that belonged to my grandma, Harry & the Henderson's movie ticket stubs, a box of origami folded letters from high school friends (btw, Krystal, I re-read some of those and now I'm mad at you again, so don't wait for me after fourth period.) 

So, yes, I do NEED that gourd ladle in the hue of jadite green that was the centerpiece on my grandma's kitchen table the spring of 1979. It's not that it "was" my grandma's, it "IS" my grandma. Well, sort of.

"Chicken at a Wedding" by my little artist, at age 5
With this in mind, imagine my inability to let go of artwork by my two little ones, who can crank out masterpieces faster than I can say "Bob Timberlake". There are stacks and stacks of paper covered with finger painted princesses, crayola cars, cut snowflakes and mermaids in marker. After holding on for them for a few years, I finally began selecting a few choice pieces for the memory box and taking digital photographs of the rest. I know I'm not the only one with this problem. What do you do with your little Dali's doodles? 

And what things do you collect passionately? 


  1. Oh... I am a terrible, terrible mother compared to you! I love my sweeties work, but when my fridge gets to full, I purge. And by purge, I quietly and quickly dispose of any artwork that doesn't pull at my heartstrings. I keep those that do and find them a new place on the fridge. THEN, when my kiddos bring me new pics to put up there, I have plenty of room. If I kept everything my daughter's gave me, you'd be calling A&E on me within a week. :)

    I have, however, started taking more and more and more pictures of them. Those are some of the most special things I collect. I also keep they make for me on holidays and such.

    You are not alone, my friend.

  2. You are definitely not a terrible mother! Just a more sensible one, possibly with less storage space. :)