Friday, April 22, 2011


I have compulsive hoarding tendencies. I'm very aware of them. They've have been passed down through generations of Walshes. When Rog passed away (I called my paternal grandfather by his first name) it took weeks to get through all the stuff. The garage was so full you couldn't even open the door. THe attic, which at one point was bedroom to many children, was unbelievably cluttered. His bedroom was filled with books and papers. It was unreal.

He passed those lovely hoarding genes on to my father. My parents' garage has no doors, but to hide the embarrassing amount of shit in there, they have tacked up some tarps. Hello, trashy? My father takes home things that his work is "getting rid of". He picks up things on the side of the road. One man's trash... right?

His sisters, my aunts, are also hoarders. I won't name names, but more than a couple have hoarding compulsions, ranging from yard sale obsessions, to just hanging on to/buying too much stuff. We all joke about the "junk room". Most people have a junk drawer, maybe a closet. Walshes have a junk room, or floor! I have two rooms. Yes... two rooms.

John is less than understanding about this issue, and I don't blame him one bit. I should be more clear, John is understanding, but he is not an enabler. He gives me time & space, but has put his foot down before things get out of hand. As I posted before, we cleaned out the garage last week, and organized the blue room too. I'm on my way to getting back in control.

I've often wondered why I do this. I'd like to say there's a "real" reasons. I can understand people that grew up in poverty having a compulsion to hang onto every little thing. That makes sense. I can understand people that have gone through significant trauma will hang onto things that help them cope. That makes sense. I have no reason for hanging onto things. I don't know what's going on.

I hang on to seemingly random things. I was given a lot of clothes and baby gear when Lucas was born. I feel like getting rid of them makes me seem ungrateful, but I only used about half of them. I realize this thought process is illogical. I also know that another family could benefit from my surplus if I donate my extras, but I still feel guilty. I feel like I'd be offending the gift-givers and hand-me-downers. Silly. I also hang onto any gifts that I receive, and I mean ANY gift. Since I come from a family of hoarders, I often get a lot of crap. I know that the "crap" I receive is well intentioned. I truly appreciate being thought of, but some of it is fairly useless to me. But again, I feel like I'd be disrespecting someone by getting rid of it.

John understands my wacky thought process. He is very patient with me, and tries to talk some sense into me.    I'm afraid that someday he'll give up, and our house will be on a TLC show. Funny thing is, his Dad is similar. He has two storage bins, a huge barn/garage, and basement full of things that "someone might need someday".  I wonder if the bug will bite John someday. I hope not!

I'll hold this quote close, as a mantra of sorts, until I can figure this all out:

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. - Thoreau

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