Archived Story

Hoarder or collector? Either way, moving reveals too much stuff

Published 12:22pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some people call it hoarding, others call it collecting. Regardless of the name you give it, all it takes is a move to reveal the things that we hold on to – whether we need them or not.

My wife and I, with the help of my mother-in-law, my girls and anyone else I could coax have been packing up and getting ready to sell our house and move to Alexander City over the last three weekends. The four bedroom house that we called home was a special place and it was filled, and I do mean filled, with a unique blend of items.

There were antiques, things that were my late mom and dad’s. Things that the kids made and things that were special to me for one reason or another.  While some things were special, there were some things that just can’t be explained.

I now know that I need to stop working on, buying, or collecting any more vehicles. Somehow I had to deal with relocating six vehicles. Why six? I have no idea. I keep finding things to fix up and restore, plus every time I get a new car, I don’t sell the old one. I could blame my father who always said, “If it’s paid for don’t trade it in they will never give you what it’s worth.” That’s no excuse, I have an obsession.

There is no way that anyone needs 21 boxes of Christmas stuff. I can try to justify it, but when you think about it, a big chunk of storage space was dedicated to stuff that will only be displaced for 30 days out of the year.

Why would anyone need to keep a hood ornament off a Suzuki Vitara that has been gone for five years?

I found a Partridge Family lunchbox. I know why I have it, but do I really need it? We all know the answer to that question.

I found two pairs of crutches, a walker, two walking cast boots, six knee braces an five ace bandages. I know I’m getting old, but I desperately need to think that out.

I found three alarm clocks that didn’t work.  That’s on top of the four that do work.

Every one has misplaced a remote control. Well, I have found them. I actually still had three remotes for devices that I no longer own.

Right on top of one of the plastic totes was one of my daughter’s notebooks from school. I want to say it had to be from middle school, judging from the N’Sync logo she had doodled on it in class.  I need to tell her that she can keep up with it instead of me dealing with it.

Even with clothes I have become a hoarder. There was a high school football jersey, a letter jacket, a fraternity T-shirt and 12 shirts that commemorate softball tournaments that my daughters played in. Most of them were tucked inside bags, inside plastic totes that had been moved several times.

Speaking of multiple moves, I found a box that had the stickers from four different moving companies that was still completely sealed. So that means this mystery box had moved from Georgia to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to Indiana, Indiana to Auburn, Auburn to Virginia, and from there back to Georgia. At least before I moved it another time, I did open it. There was a flat basketball and an old brass spittoon that I have no idea where it came from. If I ever start a sentence again with, “You never know when you might need a…” just hit me in the head with a hammer.

I did throw those items away. Does that mean I am making progress? I sure hope so.

I have come to the conclusion that in my next life I will be a minimalist. The whole idea of throwing material possessions to the wind and being free from clutter sounds pretty good. In fact, it sounds incredible considering how my back feels after two days of moving stuff I don’t need anyway.

Mitch Sneed is the editor of the Outlook.