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Saturday, 4 September 2010


Are you a hoarder? I’m not. But I know many who are. I am the type of person who throws things out the minute I bring them home. Well, almost.

It could be the Virgo in me, it could be because keeping busy tidying keeps me from facing up to the real issues of my life, it could be OCD. But I spring clean my apartment ever couple of months and during the process, I can fill a huge box with stuff I don’t want anymore.

And interestingly, I never once regretted throwing these things out. Except one time when I gave away my Xanadu soundtrack and then had a bit of a girls night and we wanted to sing aka Olivia sans leg warmers.

Thank goodness for YouTube.

Hoarding is like safeguarding the future. We keep dresses we will one day fit into again. Old dinner sets that perhaps the kids will use when they move out. Handbags with the strap broken because we'll get around to mending it.

We won't throw the ski mask out. We haven't gone skiing since the 20th century but you never know. The wonky ironing board could be used for something so just pop it in the shed. Keep that container of odd nuts and bolts, because you never know when we'll find out what appliance or piece of furniture they belong to.

The hoarding queens are my parents. They have some seriously good stuff, dating back almost a century, like letters my great-grandfather wrote, and black and white pics of dour-looking family members (mind you it was during the Depression, so fair's fair).

But chat to my mother about a newspaper article that appeared circa 2005 and she’ll find you the original clipping. Ask dad for something to keep my gardening implements in, and he’ll pop out to the shed and come back with the perfect hold-all.

Reminisce about the fancy dress costume I wore to the 1972 Sunday School fundraiser and mum will open a box and show me the Cinderella original. Tell dad how I was trying to find a “Slip’n’Slide” for my daughter to play on, similar to the one we had as kids, and it’s back to the shed and the offering of a “Slip’n’Slide” original.

Those things are as rare as rocking-horse poo.

Mind you, there’s worse. Much worse. Someone who keeps 498 pieces of the 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, just in case the other two show up someday.

Or someone who meticulously washes and stores every yoghurt container and meat packaging tray, just in case.

Or the other someone who keeps the stand from a broken lamp just in case.

Just in case of what? Broken lamp stands make a designer come back? Along with Datsun 120Bs and sunbaking?

To be honest, as a writer my one hoarding weakness is paper. Lots of lots of paper. Scraps of paper where I’ve scribbled down an idea for a story. Pages ripped from magazines where I wanted to purloin some ideas. Quotes I’ve printed from the internet. Post-it notes galore.

But it is all put to use at some point.

Where do you think I got that line, “as rare as rocking-horse poo”? Read it about five years ago and knew it would come in handy.

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