Dear Keepers of All Things,
One day you are going to die and all your keeping will have come to nothing. Your legacy will be just a bunch of useless stuff that your next of kin has to try and fit into a skip they ordered in the hope there'd be enough room to get rid of a rusty old trampoline that sits down the bottom of the yard, acting as a daycare centre for local cats.
He who dies with the most toys, back-copies of RACV magazine, lawn mower engines, spare blankets, non-specific occasional sporting goods and small items made to inhabit ledges, still dies.
Look, the hoarding gene is probably genetic. There's not much you can do about that. Maybe it is something we should screen for at birth so that those around the little future-hoarder can take precautionary steps. Steps that include avoiding exposure to garage sales (good move for anyone really), never asking for help with spring clean-outs, avoiding leaving the house on hard rubbish night and blocking IP access to eBay and GumTree.
You need to understand is that hoarding doesn't just impact your quality of life, but the lives of those around you. How can one's house look like an IKEA catalogue when an entire wall of a room is devoted to storing all previous versions of said catalogue for 'future inspiration'?
Your hoarding isn't just about keeping stuff that you don't want to part with, it's also about collecting and hoarding stuff on behalf of others. Whether that need is real or assumed. My mother dumped upon me the other my entire collection of high school report cards that she'd been hoarding. It made for 20 minutes of entertaining reading but I have no need for them ever again. The experience has been had, the memory lives on and the clutter can be cleared.
A hoarder would see it differently though. The hoarding anxiety would kick in and the mind would start to fire - what if one day I am required to justify my suitability for CEO by providing a certified copy of my grades from Year 9 Textiles? What if I one day want to start my own private school and base the reporting structure of the 1990s Victorian curriculum? What if I one day am writing my memoirs and want to recall a quote from Year 8 Geography about my keenness for a smart comment and polo shirts?
As an onlooker, you may find yourself reading this and wondering - am I a hoarder?
Here's a simple, quick test - do you keep your birthday cards?
If the answer is yes, then you are unfortunately too late. That is assuming you are not some sort of toddler-genius and can read quirky, rambling blog posts. If that is the case, then you still have some time to adjust your ways, but maybe learn to use the toilet first.
If you find yourself hoarding birthday cards that don't even belong to you, then you are probably struggling to read this amongst piles of old Tupperware containers that threaten to topple upon you at any moment. I know there are also cats roaming around in your vicinity, but that is for another post.
My appeal to you is to de-clutter. Not just your home, but your mind. Clear from it any idea that another Belgian Waffle Maker from the ALDI sales basket will be any different from the two in your cupboard. Actually, while we are it- just keep clear away from ALDI! That place is for Hoarders, what a Jetstar flight is for travellers - relatively cheap but ultimately costly.
Yours in space,