Friday, October 24, 2008

Confessions of a Hoarder

I've always been a little obsessive compulsive. I knew it was weird when I was a kid and I used to have a digital clock and I had to keep track of how many minutes I watch turn over each day and how many hours I watched change. I also used to write down the weather temperatures each night from the evening news. I wasn't especially tidy until I got in my 20's. When my Mom used to visit me, she used to clean and that, for some reason bothered me. Now I wish she would come and clean my house. I had too much pride to appreciate it when I was younger and just getting started with my first apartment and eventually a house. Now my friends call me "anal" and all say how clean my house is. I don't think it is as clean as I would like it to be, which probably is another indicator I have a problem.

Growing up, we always had enough. Aside from the time when we left the Bay Area and moved to the property in Garden Valley and Leo was unemployed for a while, I don't remember us ever being really poor. My step-dad was a sheet metal worker and frequently was laid off or worked less hours in the winter months. I remember my Mom always shopping and stocking up when he was working to help tide is into the non-working months. I say this is how it got started.

As I've gotten older and had more money, I find that I am still "stocking up" but so far there has only been 1 time in my life when I've needed to use this supply. Needless to say, I have much more than I can possibly use in a reasonable amount of time of lots of things. Living in Idaho where the LDS population is quite large, I find myself saying that I'm just doing "food storage" or collection for an emergency, but really, I just buy too much. I seem to not feel safe if I don't have a good supply of something and then a backup supply. Before I even run out of something, I add it to my list and frequently there is a new supply before I even run out. It is rare that we run out of something in my house.

When I first moved in with Dave and his boys, I tried to monitor the supply on what everyone used. This was crazy. I couldn't possibly keep up with 5 people's consumption and the teenagers ever changing tastes. So, as of 2 years ago, I adopted the policy of - if you use the last of something, either 1) notify me 2) leave the package out or 3) write on the list (fridge). This has worked quite well for everyone and we still rarely run out of anything. And I stress a lot less.

But here's where it gets weird. I have sooo much shampoo. I do wash my hair every day and I do have thick hair, but I must have years and years worth of shampoo. Why? I do remember when I moved out on my own that someone told me it was good to rotate the shampoo you use on your hair. So I had 3 or 4 kinds in the shower and rotated using them. Now I live in a home where the shower is a phone booth, so there is certainly not room for a selection. So all the shampoos and conditioners sit on the large garden tub, daunting me. I think I've been trying to "use up" what I have for almost 3 years. I also collect hotel soaps and shampoos. Why? I don't take them with me on trips because I'll be at another hotel that has more or staying at someone's house that has shampoo (I like to try other's people stuff!) so I never use them. I've recently started using the little soaps in place of my more favored body wash (which I also have a ton of) and still have a huge pile of soaps. I did manage to use up a lot of the little shampoo containers but then feel bad about throwing away all the plastic bottles.

I also have waaaayyy to much scrapbooking stuff (see above pic), linens (not really my fault, because we have all mine AND Dave's), tupperware (see previous reason), clothes, shoes, earrings, razors, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.

I do think it's a good idea to have stuff stocked up, especially food. You never know when a natural disaster, illness or a lay off can happen and you'll be glad you have lots of things already paid for in your home. But I do think I need to question almost every purchase I make and be sure I need it and have a place to store it. I love having lots of stuff, but I also hate the feeling of clutter and overwhelming amounts of stuff. It's all about moderation, right?

1 comment:

BosieLadie said...

Aww, I feel your pain! I have a whole spare bedroom full of "stuff." LOL Maybe with your surplus, you could send off care packages to the soldier in Iraq or Afganistan? You'd be doing good and minimizing some of your "stuff." Hope you had a wonderful Holiday Season this year.