Saturday, August 20, 2011
When my family cleaned my house while I was on vacation, I was a little worried. I had just finished reading a book Boomer Burden about planning to or having to handle your parent's stuff after they are deceased. What if my family got a glimpse of what it would be like after I was gone? My sister did say that I didn't have as many things as she thought I would. But that's not all, I was also reading this book about compulsive hoarding.
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy Frost and Professor Gail Steketee, PhD is a very insightful book about the accumulation of things and the thinking processes of the people who collect things. It helped to see what the people were thinking, what their reasons for collecting and keeping things are, etc. The authors really seem like they want to help people, not make fun of them or sensationalize their condition for profit.
I have often thought that having a quilting stash is hoarding in a way. If I buy fabric for a quilt I am going to be making soon, then it is fine. But buying just for the purpose of adding it to the stash seems like hoarding to me. By the time I go looking for fabric in the stash, it might be too out of date and ugly for me to use. It is unlikely that a good fabric will not be available at the store when I am ready for it. I have to keep telling myself that, since I also have a counter-argument: I know I like scrap quilts, and having a collection does help when I make them.
I am not a hoarder. You can see my floors and my walls, except the part that is covered by furniture and decorations. But a lot of the excuses do make sense to me, and I think all of us have a little bit of hoarder in ourselves. And to that extent I am a hoarder. Even before these books, I have been trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have. I think that besides the fact that it will help my family when I am gone, I think having less stuff makes it easier to clean the house, and have fewer places dust can hide, and I will have less to worry about moving if and when I move. But in the meantime, the stuff is taking a great deal of my time, as I sort through it to decide what to give away and throw away and what to keep. And to find better places in my home for the things I am keeping.