Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Maybe Gift Cards Aren't So Bad

We are in the midst of spring cleaning. This is a very difficult time of year for me because I must admit that I have a shopping problem and a hoarding problem and a magazine problem and a guilt problem.

I shop too much at Target, it is still down from the old ten time a week habit, now I only go once a week. Do I spend a lot less? No, not really. Do I buy a lot less? No, not really.

I realize that I keep everything. The rose my sister gave me last mother’s day four days after I found out I was expecting. The dozen or so pillows with silly sayings on them. Every poster that hung on my wall when I was a cool teenager. All that sewing stuff I never use. That fourth vacuum. All those magazines that I want to read but never find the time to read. The Christmas stuff, a whole room in the basement is dedicated to trees and skirts, Poinsettias and tissue paper. All the fake flowers and rocks to fill vases during different parts of the year. All those Halloween costumes. Sofas.

The guilt issue? My very sweet grandmother buys us tons of things that should never have been invented and no one ever should have bought. Samples of these include (from this most recent holiday) massaging boots (the package says not to use them for more than 20 minutes and definitely avoid water while wearing them), two sets of Lullaby c.d.s (the poor woman thought that each of the twins needed their own), baked potato warmers, a locked jewelry box that I have never been able to open and a sewing kit from the 1950’s complete with rusted needles and chipped buttons. She means well folks, she really does. Which is why I can’t bear to part with any of it. The silly brass stars my half sister gave to me, gone. She probably just picked them up on clearance at Kirklands and later decided to give it to me but my grandmother really wants me to have this stuff. She truly thinks about every wacky gift. For example, this year I did not receive those battery operated ice scrappers which everyone else received (for at least the second time) because I have a garage.

My belongings will swallow me up one day because I felt to guilty about getting rid of anything.

I look at something I own. I don’t use it. It doesn’t match my d├ęcor. I don’t even understand why you would use it (i.e. rusted needles and battery operated ice scrappers). But I can’t seem to part with any of it.

We looked at the posters. We started to get rid of them and then I said “Oh, let’s keep this one of all the Beatles albums.”

So Ward said, “And let’s keep this one of The Pixies, Surfer Rosa.”

Ok, if you get to keep the one with the naked chick on it then I will also keep my Smashing Pumpkins and Luna posters.

And we didn’t get rid of any of them.

“What about this cat shaped buckwheat pillow from your Grandma?” he asks.

Well Bailey will love that one day. “And the pillow about cousins?”

Well Trauma and Trouble and X-man are going to be close and it will pertain to them.

“But we can get rid of the ‘Bad Chair’ though”, I offer.

“Now that we have kids we need the bad chair.” Ward chimes in.

The keep pile remains larger than the discard pile.

“We have enough to fill a mall.” Ward later complains.

More like a junk shop really but he has a point. I have a really hard time separating with any of my stuff.

My therapist says that it’s because I claim attachments to material things because my mom left me when I was so young.


PS- I DON’T really see a therapist. It isn’t tax deductible. Ah, taxes. Have I posted about that yet?


James said...

We have soooo much junk. Genetically, I'm predisposed to being a hoarder, so it's completely not my fault. But nonetheless, last year we began the road to recovery and are very close to kicking the hoarding habit. It was bad. Let me put it this way: just the master bedroom and closet yielded ELEVEN lawn and leaf size garbage bags to be pitched or donated. It took therapy in the form of a book just to get that far. That, and the fact that we were rapidly outgrowing our house. If you REEEALLLLY want to spring clean, I absolutely recommend this book. I'm even providing a convenient link to it on Amazon...

All that being said, our "bad chair" somehow still survived the purge...

wesley's mom said...

Your grandma is really sweet.

My husband is a stockpiler and I am not. It can cause problems. This very moment in our garage there are about 10 full boxes of those flat carpenter pencils (I'd guess there are about 40-50 pencils in each box), the other day he told me he really needed to get some more because he's a little low. ALSO he likes to get his junk for free. That's a big part of the experience. He has gotten every one of those pencils for free. He's very proud.

In our garage there are also a large countertop, 2 unicycles, 6 styrofoam coolers used for mailing perishable items, and a rubbermaid box containing the house plans that his father drew up for the addition to the house he grew up in(an addition that was completed 30 years ago.) None of these items cost him a penny, and none of these items has an immediate use (or even a future use for some of them) but we shall not part with them because you never know.

Ward and June said...

Thanks for the book link, I took a look at it but I am not to buy anything online until the end of May because I bought a new camera.

I feel like we are constantly getting rid of things and then replacing those few things with a bunch of new things.

I think WE have a box of those free pencils in our garage, they were a Christmas gift from Sullivan to Ward, Ward was very excited about them. I am the worst hoarder who lives here so I won't comment on Ward too much. Most of his stuff is here because we won't rent a warehouse for supplies.


wesley's mom said...

Sullivan must really love Ward if he parted with a whole box of pencils.