Maybe A Genetic Predisposition...

I am a hoarder.When I was small, I had a rough childhood. Social services stepped in more than a few times, and I spent time in foster care, too. Toys were always lost and broken at my moms house. I lived with her, a single parent, with two younger children. My mom was a classic Hoarders Show hoarder. The bathtub was always full of dirty clothes. The dishes grew mold. Trash blocked the entryway to our home. (I would say one of the reasons I try so hard to clean is fear of having my children taken away because of living conditions.)
Even our pinto hatchback car was full of trash. Ironically enough, the trash cushioned the impact of a semi truck that saved my life today. Unfortunately, my sister was not so lucky, she was killed when I was nine.(I also think this has some play in my hoarding.) After our wreck, my mom was in a coma for months, and I was sent to live with my great grandparents. They were born in 1920, and had lived through the depression. They are also hoarders. Clean ones, nonetheless, but 3 bedrooms with 2 dressers each-FULL of clothes with tags and never worn. They reuse trash bags, bread bags, and even plastic flatware gets washed. Upon leaving their house after 3 years, I went to live with my dad, who is also a hoarder. He has 3 storage units, and a home full of trinkets-tools, old cars, model cars, womens jewelry, all saving for that special day he may need it. I can't tell if my mom and dad are OCD, or simple hoarders. They both check the door lock several times, and even the trash has it's designated pile at my moms.
Now, at 26, I finally can throw away receipts for gas from 2 years ago, although I still have receipts for every bill I have ever paid. It's overwhelming. And I wonder if I was always like this. I try to think back to another time, but there was always all this 'stuff' I had to keep.
Part of it is guilt. I feel like I cannot throw away gifts, even if they are packed away in a storage box, and never used. I have recently gone through my 6 year olds baby clothes, (14 plastic tubs full-sizes birth- 2 years)and I had kept every single piece because of emotional attachment. I am so afraid I will forget thoughts associated with items that I can't throw them out or give them away.
Part of it is getting around to it. I am an artist. I'm crafty. This old pillowcase would make a great purse one day. This wooden knob looks like it's from 1905, so I have to keep it. Some things are in pieces, and I cant give them away until I find the last piece.
Another part of it is knowledge. I have 4 bookcases of books. I keep Parent magazines from last year, still in the wrapper. What if there's an important recall? What if there is CPR tips I might need in a very dire time?
I have been trying to take pictures of some things, then throw them out. That way I still have the memory, but some things I just can't do this for. I need to hold them and touch them, and breathe them in, like my son's first onsie.
Right now, I am working on decluttering, organizing, and sifting through unused stuff. One thing I seem to hold in my thoughts is what my aunt told me to ask myself, 'Does it bring you joy? If it does, keep it. Then display it.'
Moonstone3 Moonstone3
26-30, F
1 Response Apr 1, 2011

Thank you for sharing your story. I relate to much of it, especially your grandparents trying to re-use things, the emotional attachment, the fear of forgetting memories if you get rid of an ob<x>ject. I, too, have tons of books and art stuff . I'm always shocked whenever I see an artist's or crafter's space and it's stark and orderly! I have the information hoarding, too.