Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reverse Hoarding

Hello. I'm Sarah, and I am a Reverse Hoarder.

That's not a real term. I made it up. I don't know what else to call it.

And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. I just don't like having a lot of stuff around. If it's useful in every day life, then I'm fine with it. We do have quite a lot of stuff that we use often. We're not minimalists or neat freaks. We have our fair share of 'clutter' around. But everything you see in our living space serves a purpose.

I also hate the idea of putting things away that I might need in the future. So I tend to... not... do that. If I don't think I'll need it soon, it's gone. We don't have a whole lot of storage in our home. If there's a closet with things in it collecting years of dust, I get physically and psychologically ITCHY.

Spring cleaning and closet purges are kind of a high for me.

Sometimes it works against me. With clothes especially. If I'm having a fat day and something doesn't fit right, I throw it out in a blind rage. A few weeks later I'll wonder where a certain collared shirt is and remember that fat day. Damn. I lost a lot of good stuff during my pregnancy before I finally came to my senses.

Having a child has certainly tested the limits of this phobia, if you want to call it that. Desmond's closet has to be changed out every few months because he grows so fast. I'm saving most of the things that are too small for future use by potential offspring of our own or of family members. But stained or ragged items get tossed.

During one of these change overs, I found Desmond's hospital-issued cap. The one with the blue and pink stripes that the nurse put on his head right after he was born. It was teeny tiny, just fit in the palm of my hand. I thought, "He's never going to wear this, nor would any future kids." Tony watched me as I reached to put it in the Good Will bag and his eyes were daggers. He looked at me like I was a monster. Hell, maybe I am. But at the time I thought it was totally reasonable to throw that cap out. It’s just a piece of fabric. My love for my son or my memories of the day he was born do not change based on the presence of this piece of fabric.

But I get that some people don’t think that way. My husband, for one. He put that cap away in a place I will never find in one of my purge frenzies. He didn't need to do that. I understand that it's okay to save things like that. And if I do, I will not turn into one of those people from the show Hoarders.

I guess I tend to make quick, rash decisions when it comes to getting rid of things. So my recent solution is to start a bag of potential good will items. Keep it off to the side for a few months and then go through it again. It's kinda like shopping in a way.

I went through it just the other day and, oooh! A powder blue argyle sweater would be great at work! Why would I throw out this gem? I figured it out as I was reaching for some files and noticed a faint brownish tinge in the armpit area of the sweater. Ummm.. GROSS.

So that was a setback in my reverse hoarding therapy. But I'm working on it.


Anonymous said...

I thought i made up the term to fit me! good to know i am not alone!

Anonymous said...

I have been calling my wife a reverse hoarder for years now. I'm glad she is not alone

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