This week Sadje from Keep it alive asks a couple of questions about collecting or hoarding.
Do you collect or hoard things?
Yes, I do collect things. Some people think if you own more than two of anything you are a hoarder but I don’t believe that collecting is as awful as all that. It can be a very satisfying hobby.
This is a pet subject of mine and I can’t help ranting about it a little. There are different kinds of hoarding. There are people who just accumulate a lot of stuff in a lifetime. They don’t like to throw things away because they might be needed one day. My parent’s and grandparent’s generations did this a lot because they went through the Depression, and wars when there were many shortages and things had to be made to last. You didn’t throw things out if they could be mended or repurposed. That’s not hoarding in my opinion, at least not in the way that it is portrayed on reality TV. Of course, after a lifetime of saving things that might be handy later or have sentimental value you can end up with a lot of stuff and it becomes overwhelming to try and sort it all out.
There are also people who just can’t help themselves. They are the ones who you see on news programs whose homes are full of bags of garbage and dirt to the point of being uninhabitable. Those people do need help but also our sympathy. We don’t know what happened to make them this way. If any of you watched “The Big Bang Theory” you might remember an episode where Sheldon shows Amy a storage unit full of everything he ever owned. He could not throw things away. It’s not creepy, some people are that way.
On the other hand there is collecting for a hobby. Having 150 Barbie dolls is not hoarding and it’s not creepy. It’s just a hobby. I hate those shows where the so called experts make people get rid of their collections. “You can just keep one or two.” I know reality shows are mostly fake but I don’t understand why they have to be so mean. Needless to say neither Naomi or I would allow a reality TV show within a hundred miles of us.
OK, rant over. I collect dolls and have done so for over 25 years so I have quite a few. I don’t know how many to be honest. I have small collections of other things:
- railway related things like china and glassware from various rail systems, ornamental plates and other odds and ends,
- shipping/travel related things, model ships and souvenirs picked up on holidays.
- brass ornaments- many of these belonged to mum and before her our grandmother
- china ornaments-birds, animals, Asian influenced ornaments
- glass ornaments – art glass, glasses, Depression Glass
- books-a lot of books
- vinyl records, CD’s and DVD’s although I never considered these a collection. They are just how I listened to music and watched movies.
Do you collect or hoard things so that you don’t run out of them? And if you do and later on find that you don’t need them after all, what do you do with them?
I don’t drive so up until Naomi moved here, I liked to make sure that I had enough essential items that I would not run out between my fortnightly shopping deliveries. We do have a shop here at Sisters Beach but apart from milk, bread and butter it doesn’t really have much that I would want as it is primarily a cafe. When Covid hit and we started to get shortages of things I did start to buy slightly larger amounts of non-perishable items than previously. I didn’t panic buy but I could not let myself run out of pet food or toilet paper for example. I have a well-stocked freezer and pantry but I’m not set up like a Doomsday Prepper. Some things, especially food, are not worth keeping too much of because they will go off or get out of date before I could eat them and would have to be thrown out. I hate waste. In fact, while I was writing this post my grocery order arrived and as I was putting some things in Naomi’s freezer, I discovered some frozen meat and vegetables that I had forgotten about. I don’t always remember to check downstairs or I might not have bought some items this fortnight. I’ll just cut back a bit next time or stock up on some different things.
I don’t really keep too much of anything else so the problem of what to do with surplus hasn’t come up. I’m happy that there is enough for the two of us and our animals and that if we unexpectedly had extra people to feed, we could do it and not have to go without.
I probably don’t cull my clothes as often as I should. Not that I buy clothes often but I don’t throw them out until they either don’t fit me or aren’t fit to be worn. T-shirts go from “Good” to “everyday” to “messy jobs only” or nightwear. I sometimes forget how old an item of clothing actually is, especially my “going out” clothes which are rarely worn. Before I moved, I did have a cull and a lot of clothes that were still good but that I didn’t wear any more went to the Op Shop as did some household items that I didn’t want to take with me.
I do find it hard to chuck some things out even though I don’t really need them. When we were children Naomi and I used to play paper dolls a lot and we would save cardboard from socks or shirts to stick them on. Even today I hate to chuck out a good piece of sturdy cardboard or a good box. I do recycle the cardboard and recently we gave away a lot of our moving boxes via the local FB group so they would not be wasted. When I bought a new vacuum cleaner recently, the old one was given away. People in Sisters Beach often advertise their surplus items locally, even just leaving them outside to be taken. That’s how I got my breadmaker. It was a giveaway.