Friday, November 11, 2011

I am Not A Hoarder. Yet.

A rare treasure.
Seth did it again.

He accused me of being a hoarder because one of the kitchen drawers had become stuck due to overcrowding.

It turned out to be a naughty set of tongs that chose to open on their own, necessitating a horrific operation that required everything but a blow torch to get the drawer open.

I then, in an act of martyred protest, went through all my kitchen drawers which had, mysteriously filled up again since the last time I'd dared look into them.

Here is a repeat of a post that ran when this blog was such a baby that it needed its diapers changed and all of 12 people read it. If any of you were in that brave group of pioneers, thanks for sticking with me...and I hope you'll enjoy it a second time:

I have attempted to write a shopping list with a tire gauge for the last time.

Has anyone else grabbed for a pen and come away with everything from a rectal thermometer to a cake tester instead of a functional writing implement? 
Who doesn't have one of these?

Am I the only shlepper around here with not one but several junk drawers crammed with ancient tubes of crazy glue and seed packets from the Paleozoic era? If so, you are like me--a creative genius motivated to excel by surrounding herself with clutter. Just kidding…you’re a mess. The line forms to the right.
Now that the house is occupied only by two adults (of admittedly questionable maturity levels) and several cats in various stages of hairball distress, the time has come to conquer the clutter. 

I used to fear that I was a borderline hoarder until I started watching "Clean House" when, not only did I learn that I want to be Neicie Nash when I grow up, but that people have far worse issues than I.

I forced my husband to watch an episode so he would finally stop tucking flyers from junk removal companies under my pillow and he was silenced by what he saw. While this could have bought me several more months of accumulating empty shopping bags and old TV guides, I decided to take action before I ended up on the Discovery Channel.

I started in the kitchen. 

Sitting at the table with a glass of ice water and a portable phone in case I needed the police, I pulled out a drawer and began sorting. 

After a few exhausting minutes, I had no choice but to take a break to call everyone in my address book, watch Dr. Phil, search Facebook for the kid who sat next to me in tenth grade biology, check the battery in my carbon monoxide detector, give the cats flea treatments and review all my past mistakes from birth to the day before yesterday. 

Then it was lunchtime.
It took another few days to work out an organized system.When Seth came home on the day I’d begun, he was so grateful to see progress that he was happy to eat three bananas for dinner so as not to compromise my momentum. 

I made piles of receipts, filled baggies with rubber bands, erasers and old tokens from the batting cage. I tossed out forgotten pocket combs, broken nail clippers, old batteries and multiples of take-out menus. 

I combined photos in envelopes (without stopping to pore over each one) and found a bucket for loose change which I later rolled and counted only to discover that I was $112.38 richer. I stacked pads of post-its, chucked pens that didn’t write and chargers for phones I no longer own.

I did, however, keep the pencil sharpener in the shape of a nose.  I’d been looking for that everywhere.
Motivated by Seth's grateful weeping, I hit the closets in our bedroom and am happy to report that I located Jimmy Hoffa. 
And you thought he was buried in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
I said goodbye to winter jackets that don't fit and packed up old belts, bags and enough single gloves for an army of Michael Jackson impersonators. 

I also found a stuffed doggie sewn for me by my grandmother when I was three years old and had no choice but to sit on the floor, surrounded by the debris of my life and sob for about a half hour. It was very cathartic.
By the time the closet debacle was complete, I had several huge garbage bags divided into appropriate categories and the stuffed dog was enjoying a sunny spot on my bed. 

Seth was delirious with joy. He favors the spartan decorating style of a prison cell and foolishly thought that I finally shared this viewpoint. I had to snap him back into reality by menacing him with several sets of chopsticks still wearing their festive wrappers.
Never will my home be a show place. It will always look as if a quirky family lives within its walls. Books lean and tilt on jam-packed shelves. CDs and DVDs fight for space in the den and the boys old games still occupy the cabinets because God forbid they come home hoping to play Battleship and I have just thrown it out. 

My drawers and closets will eventually fill-up again and my home will indicate the presence of life in all its disorganized glory. 

As for Jimmy Hoffa, he was so happy to get out of here that he didn’t even say goodbye.     


  1. Well dang, now I gotta go farther back in blog time to read other earlier works. I hope that you found this as funny the second time as I did the first.

    Also, you should look at Disqus for comments. It allows threading and it is way better than the blogger default (IMHO)


  2. Well, thank you so much, Scott! I am very glad you are reading..I really enjoy your blog, as well and would like to add it ot my "roll" since I need some male representation and really enjoy your stuff.

    I am interested in this mysterious Disqus but am technologically stunted. I also want but cannot seem to install and recommend for you...Commentluv. Google it--it's a way to increase readership. Have a great weekend and thanks for your generous comment.

  3. I just googled Jimmy Hoffa because I didn't know who he is. Interesting.

    I liked your post, too..

  4. We all have multiple drawers like that. What would happen if you planted a seed from the Paleozoic Era, I wonder?

  5. Still one of my faves, probably because I so closely identify with it. P.S. Bill and Seth are definitely related! I think you and I are too. :-)

  6. I live with Rick.
    There is no clutter.
    He even threw away a small box of my 'treasures' that was lurking in a cupboard...That was some years ago and I still haven't forgiven him.
    I would NEVER do that to his box of treasures! (and he HAS one)

  7. Thanks, Sharona and Barber Sal...and if you plant a seed from ther Paleozoic era, you get a dinosaur, of course.

  8. If Seth threw away a box of treasures, he would be severely injured and I would be blogging from jail. The biggest fight he and I ever had was when he threw some of my "stuff" away.

    I admire your restraint, Janet.

  9. Hey, you with all the numbers...I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the comment, epecially since we're related.

  10. I grew up in a house with multiple junk drawers, but I only allow 1 on the main floor of the house. My husband, on the other hand, seems to think that the entire basement is his "junk drawer" to use as he's sees fit.

    EVERY HOUSE needs a junk drawer though. How can you not have a junk drawer? I just don't think that's possible.

  11. I grew up in teh same type of house, Alicia. Seth is very resistant to "junk" unless it's his.

  12. My parents house used to be really bad. People would walk in their house and it would be one big huge clutter. Recently, my brother and I hired Shenandoah Junk removal and their house is much cleaner.