I am a hoarder. Ask my mum. She would give an arm and leg to get rid of some of the things I have been carefully preserving and not using since years. She likes a “lighter house” while I think it’s essential to keep important things that I may need someday. Sometimes we have mild arguments on this. As I have aged, the arguments have become few and far between. Either I am improving or my mom is gradually giving up on me!
In my defence I would like to state here that I don’t hoard everything. Only things that are important are stored. I am not fixated but I find it difficult to let go of things I either value or like or hold close to my heart because of an attached sentimental value.
As a kid I collected just about everything- stamps, crayons, coins, stones, feathers, pressed dried leaves, glossy pictures from the TOI weekend supplement. You name it, I had it. Tucked away somewhere in my almirah or study table were these treasures. Mum wasn’t particularly excited about my constantly increasing stock of “treasures”. I wasn’t the most organised kid, so my things would be scattered around the room, sometimes extending to other rooms in the house and I would never ever find them when I needed them. In sharp contrast I had an older cousin who was a world class hoarder and organiser. She had everything in multiples of hundred. Ok, I exaggerated a bit. It was in multiples of twenty. Ok, ten. But I tell you she was worse than me! She and I were, and are, poles apart when it comes to personalities and so naturally we accumulated very different things. She collected stuff that I would disdainfully look down upon. She would squirrel away weirdly shaped and coloured bangles, tiny/medium/lager size cloth/leather/demin purses and bags, nail paints, belts, sun glasses, strange looking bottles of lotion. I was a simpler person, happy with my stones and feathers, unconcerned about her more up- market and stylish accessories. At age 6, I sincerely though I had better taste than her. Who cared about pink coloured lip gloss and matching nail paint?? Jeez!
Mum normally would not bring up examples of other kids when I was being pulled up. But every time the issue of my all-pervading, abundant “treasures” came up, mum could resist saying “Even G collects things. She has more things than you but she keeps things properly stacked and categorised in her cupboard. Why don’t you try to become better organised or if that’s too hard, reduce some of the clutter at least!” She would sometimes threaten to throw out my “treasures”. She never really did, but the though was scary enough to cause a full fledged panic attack. The issue with her wasn’t really the hoarding; it was the lack of order in the hoarding!
Every now and then I would wonder if I was a little bonkers for collection all those things. But these thoughts were short-lived. I loved my collection too much to care about what other said. I did, however, learn later in life that I wasn’t the only kid with a penchant for collecting. According to the Child Development books, all kids hoard. It is one of the ways of learning to collect, group and categorise things. It was normal. I was normal!! A much needed reassurance, even if it came 15 years too late! 🙂
I still hoard stuff but I have graduated from stones and leaves. I now refuse to let go of old books, notes from college which I am sure I will need to refer to someday (the day hasn’t come yet, but I promise you, one day it will!), old PJs that have lived much beyond their average life and should now be either chucked or converted into dusters, paints both oil and water (I am no Picasso but I love painting and will hopefully learn oil painting from a proper teacher one day. I am saving my box of oil paints for that), a small battery operated radio that dad got me from Switzerland (I don’t use it and have tucked it away in the bed box, but dad got it, so it’s important!! ),old letters and postcards sent by friends (they have too much sentimental value), tiny kiddie garments I made in the final year of graduation (they took a hell of a LOT of effort to make, are VERY cute and will be given to someone special who really deserves it! If I don’t find a special kid, too bad, I will keep the garments for eternity…or till they disintegrate!), lesson plans from B.Ed ( I know they don’t have any use but I think ten years from now when I read through the pages it will bring back so many happy memories. Plus some of the comments in the notebooks are priceless), embroidery and cook books (I love both the activities and I will actually find time to do both, sometime during this life time! I should have enough resource material when I actually get down to cooking and embroidering, right?).
This is a restricted list, I can go on. And on.
May be I am a little bonkers. Those Child Development books promise parents that kids outgrow the collecting fetish as they grow older. Since I haven’t gotten over this behaviour- I have either not grown up or I haven’t followed the expected growth and development chart or the books are wrong! I’d like to believe the books are wrong. What says you?
PS: I just wanted to let you know that cousin G is still as bad as she was. Unlike me, she hasn’t graduated to a higher level of collecting. 😛 Accessories are still the focus of all purchasing and stashing away. Only difference is that now more things have been added to the list. The last time I met her, I was taken shopping. She bought two pairs of identical shoes- one for rough use and one for office, she explained. Don’t think I am kidding you. We actually bought two indistinguishable sets of shoes that day. I didn’t understand why we went shopping in the fist place. There were some 50 pairs of shoes sitting in her shoe drawer already. Buying one more was senseless and buying two more was way beyond senseless!! But buy we did. Anyway, like mum always said she had a great capacity to stock and organise!
I hope to God she never reads this post!!