The Hoarder Within

By Katiedid Langrock

August 22, 2015 5 min read

I've become a hoarder.

How did this happen? I hate stuff. Really, really hate stuff. Even all those folks joining the "Tiny House Nation" are nothin' but pack rats. My dream is to live in a van — possibly in a van down by the river. Chris Farley didn't know how good he had it. A change of clothes, a year's supply of Pop-Tarts and a toothbrush — what more do you need?

In my youth, my mom often remarked that she was concerned I wouldn't be able to make deep human connections because I never formed attachments to any pacifier, blanket or stuffed animal as a baby. I, however, maintain a different perspective: That didn't make me frigid; it made me a genius. All those other babies snuggling up to the bears, babas and binkies they barfed on daily should be the ones examined.

To this day, I have only a handful of items that would elicit tears if I lost them — items such as my grandmother's engagement ring and, ya know, my child. Frugality is the only reason I keep anything. The idea of spending cash on something I previously owned and discarded makes my skin crawl. Granted, the discarded item was probably something like a spider-infested sleeping bag that literally made my skin crawl, but still. I hate spending cash. And spiders. But spending cash more. Probably.

And then I had a child.

How is it that a single sock, permanently stained from heaven knows what, is now a must-keep item? Do I really need to keep a broken toaster that burns a silhouette of Mickey Mouse into bread and electrically shocks me every time I use it just in case my kid decides to have a hunger strike against all foods except Mickey toast? Mind you, he's never even seen the toaster or the bread because every time I use it, it's as if lightning struck my fingertips. Your hair is supposed to stand up on its own, right?

Bins of clothes, buckets of shoes, toys my son loved, toys my son hated, toys that were taken away and deemed to be choking hazards, blankets that were deemed to be choking hazards, books that were deemed to be choking hazards — all are now considered precious items that cannot be given away, sold or trashed. The garage, once so sparse that I had fantasies of turning it into a yoga studio — until I remembered that I hate yoga — is packed to the brim with towers of Tupperware bins holding memories in the form of objects.

And it's only going to get worse.

We are now in the process of turning the guest room into a nursery for baby No. 2. She will be here in a little over two months, and it's giving me anxiety. It's not that we're not ready; it's that we don't have the room. Sure, we have the space for her, but where am I going to keep all of her stuff as she grows out of it? The tiny saddle shoes with lace ribbons I was given will surely become a must-keep item — which is ridiculous, seeing as I know from my son that she will never once wear these zero- to 3-month-sized shoes. Seriously, what a crime even selling such a thing. A whole industry of baby shoemakers is feeding off the emotions of crazy mothers like me. The shoes could be made of acid and dissolve in water, but we would never know because they will never exist anywhere other than in a securely sealed Tupperware bin. In my garage. For the next 9,000 years. Only to be discovered by aliens.

At some point, you just have to stand up and admit to yourself, "Yes, I have a problem" — only I can't stand up because there isn't room. And I can't take this lying down because, you know, stuff. Anyone know a guy with a hover board?

In attempt to make room for baby No. 2, I have been throwing away my husband's and my saved treasures to make room for pink choking-hazard blankets and saddle shoes.

Maybe it's time I just commit to this whole hoarder lifestyle. I'll dedicate my house to holding past mementos, while my family and I move in to a van down by the river.

Ah, the simple life.

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