Friday, January 28, 2011

Project Order from Chaos, Day 28. Thought of the Day.

A lexicon to use to describe people who accumulate too many things. (Found here.)

  • HOARDERS – Can be referred to as hunter/gatherers
  • PACK RATS – Stockpile haphazardly and seldom use the things that are stored
  • CLUTTERERS – An out of control need to accumulate things
  • COLLECTORS – Orderly, systematic organization of things, often on display
To this list, I would add:
  • PASSIVE ACCUMULATORS - People who inherit things from others and want to do the "right thing" by it and those who don't throw away the broken item when it is replaced.
Bill and I are a bit of several of these.  I would say we are more than 50 percent "Passive Accumulators" with a bit of a "Pack Rat" mentality and a lot of a "Collector" mentality.

Much of what we own we inherited.  I would say that we have absorbed several households -- perhaps as many as 4 (My Papa's, my grandmother's, my parents and part of Bill's grandfather's).  We have duplicates of lots of things -- furniture and household items.  Many of the items are better quality than Bill and I originally owned.  Many of the items have sentimental value.  A lot of the items have monetary value (if you can find the market for them.)  What we have lacked is TIME and SPACE.

The things that are obviously trash are easy to dispose of -- just throw it away.  Other things are easy to give away -- especially if I don't have any emotional connection.  But others we are keeping in our lives because it hurts somehow to dispose of it.

An Example:  We have two decorative baskets that were in our downstairs bath and our master bath.  They aren't very robust; I don't think they were made to last all that long.  I've repaired the one in the downstairs bathroom.  Here's a picture of it that I posted earlier this week with other items I had marked "give away."

Bill's gut reaction to this pile of "give away" was so very visceral, "But my Mommy made that."  And that she did.  She made it several years ago with her own hands and gave it to us to use and enjoy.  When I heard he say what he said, my heart broke a little.  How well I understand that!  She's no long with us to shower us with her love and affection -- she's no longer with us to make us any more gifts. After a brief discussion, we agreed to give it away and keep the other that is in better condition and try to repair it.

Dr. Ted Hackett told a story to our sacrament class long ago about a man and a tube of lipstick.  He had that tube of lipstick in his pocket for a long time and when he laid dying, he refused to allow that tube of lipstick out of his possession.  People wondered why -- but to those who knew the rest of the story understood.  This was his wife's tube of lipstick; while she lay dying, he would carefully outline her lips with it and apply it gently.  It was his last and lasting service of love to his wife.  It had become a ritual item, a holy relic to him.

We have a hard time giving up small meaningless items so very often because they have become relics.  Of course, we still have the memory of the person, but these items become our physical prompt.  And for some of us, this is the main reason we become a "clutterer" or a "hoarder."  God bless us all.

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