Archived Story

True life: I’m a hoarder

Published 6:30pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

The 12-step program has been applied to all sorts of problems and addictions. And the cornerstone of this philosophy is this – the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
For the past month I have been gathering my belongings and packing them up into neat stacks of cardboard boxes. In just a few short weeks, I will be trading the humid, sunbaked South for a cooler, drier locale as I make the two-day trek to Boulder, Colorado, where I will be pursuing my law degree.
And all I can say is, I think I have a problem.
I might be a hoarder.
I don’t mean to be. I know I tend to be sentimental, so I have every medal, trophy and award I ever won. I also have a collection of other things, which appear to be useless, but they mean something to me. I have a brick that I took from the concourse at Auburn University, the very sidewalk that was replaced my senior year, the sidewalk I spent most of my college years plodding sleepily to and from class on.
On my mantle, I have old bottles of Chianti, covered in wax drippings from various colored candles. They come from a restaurant my parents used to own, Pas’ghettis. I also have a bottle of buttons which belonged to my deceased granny.
I guess these things are OK to keep. I know the memory of them can’t be destroyed, but I enjoy the physical reminder.
However, in what has turned out to be an archeological dig of sorts, I have come across all sorts of things that I have no business hanging on to.
Remember Sony Walkman CD players? Yeah, I found two of them.
I found my high school soccer cleats, along with a pair of running shoes the date back to my sophomore year of high school.
I found multiple used skateboard decks.
“Do you want to keep these?” asked my girlfriend.
Hmmm… I could make a bench out of them. Man, they might be neat hanging on my wall. Oh man, this was my first real skateboard deck!
With a heavy sigh, I put them into the yard sale pile.
This has been a common scenario, and without my girlfriend, I think these items would have made it into a closet somewhere in my new apartment.
I guess I really realized I really needed to let go of some items as I packed up my kitchen.
Twelve cookie sheets, about seven can openers and 40 knives later, I felt like I needed to call A&E and see if they have any plans to bring back Hoarders.
It was a little painful to get rid of so much at one time. But the bottom line is most of these things have been in boxes, move after move, since I moved to college.
While I may have staved off my descent into a home destined to one day be overcome with the detritus of my childhood, I really need to learn to let some things go.
Nelson is managing editor of The Outlook.