Saturday, November 5, 2011

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 78

#78 – “Never throw anything away. You never know when you might need it.”

Despite the above mom-maxim, she wasn’t a hoarder. I am sure of this because we could walk through our house without standing on garbage and we slept in beds.  Until I watched a few episodes of the TV series Hoarders I thought that a hoarder was someone (mom) who kept 3 rubber bands on their wrist, a small pile of twisty ties in a drawer, 10 empty (clean) milk jugs on the back porch, and a 2-foot pile of Dallas Morning News and New York Times on the bedroom floor.  Apparently mom was an amateur hoarder.

As it turns out, my first real experience with hoarding was when a friend told me about a house they were buying that was so full of stuff that when they went to look at the house they could barely walk through it. She said that there were only small trails throughout the house. I couldn’t quite picture what she was describing and thought that she must surely be exaggerating. Then I, along with millions of other mesmerized Americans, watched Hoarders. It is not just the stunning visual of homes stacked to the ceiling with stuff, and people living in unbelievably unlivable conditions that make it all so intriguing, but also the impact on the people and families involved:  isolation, shame, anger, fear, sorrow, families torn apart by a seemingly uncontrollable need to keep things. Click on Read More Below...

But, on the other hand, there is the issue of wastefulness. Every time I buy foodstuff and then toss the container in which it was packaged, I feel a tinge of guilt, as I should. Then I pledge to keep and use those containers, until one day I open the kitchen cabinet and too many kept containers come flying out onto the floor and me. So I guiltily toss the most inferior of them and start over.

Of course it‘s not just food containers, it is hangars, giftwrap, clothes, dry cleaning bags, single socks.  The list is endless. But this is just one of many conundrums I don’t seem to have time or resolve to solve.

Then there’s the absolute of needing something the day after you throw it away. I’ll hang onto some superfluous piece of something, let’s say a thimble, for 20 years and never use it. Then the day after in the fit of cleaning, I finally give up and toss it, my hubby will walk in and say, “Do you have a thimble?” I swear that’s how the gods tinker with us.

So, I’m not sure that the first half of mom’s #78 is true, “never throw anything away,” but I am absolutely certain that the second half, “you never know when you’ll need it,” is. 

No comments:

Post a Comment