I’ve never seen A&E’s Hoarders, but I know it has become a popular addition to A&E’s program lineup. The show is about people who have an unnatural attachment to their belongings and, therefore, save everything. These people are labeled “hoarders” due to this inability to part with anything. I’m afraid if my 7-year-old son doesn’t change his habits soon, he may end up on the next episode of Hoarders.
R likes to save things. He’s a saver. A pack rat. A hoarder. In his short lifetime, he has accumulated a lot of shit stuff. His desk is an absolute mess – piles of papers stacked on top, more garbage stuff crammed in the drawers. Sorting through the mounds of junk stuff is like a treasure hunt – the other day I found his lost library card buried in one of the piles. It’s a good thing we don’t have pets because I seriously think one day we’d find our pet Marcus’s carcass buried under a mound of crap stuff.
Here is a small sampling of R’s clutter stuff R has saved:
- Every issue of National Geographic for Kids from the past 2 years
- Old airline boarding passes
- Random ticket stubs
- The program from his 2008 camp talent show
- Weekly newsletters from the Spanish class he took last year
- Birthday cards
- The birthday crowns from his kindergarten and 1st grade birthday celebrations
- Valentines from his preschool and kindergarten classmates
- A 2008 Spongebob Squarepants calendar
- Weekly newsletters from this school year
- Every single bookmark he’s ever received in his entire life.
I can understand why he saves some of the stuff, but the rest of it…why he saves it is a mystery to me. I’ve tried to declutter his room by throwing some of the stuff away. Now don’t get your panties in a bunch, I never throw away anything that has true sentimental value. I only dispose of shit/garbage/junk/crap. But as they say (warning – lame cliché ahead), one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
R: Where’s my math packet?
Me: The math packet that you finished? The math packet that was already graded? The math packet that you don’t need anymore? I threw it away.
R: WHAT?! YOU CAN’T THROW AWAY MY MATH PACKET! (takes math packet out of garbage can) I HATE YOU!!
Great, my kid hates me. Not exactly the warm and fuzzy sentiment I was hoping for.
So my stealth Operation Clean Up was a failure. But I didn’t give up. My new strategy was full disclosure – before an item went in the trash, I would tell R the item was about to go in the trash. It sounded like a reasonable plan, but a strange thing happened when I tried to carry it out. Everytime I tossed an item in the trash, a few days later it mysteriously showed up again! Was I losing my mind? Oh no, I lost my mind years ago. No, my kid was doing a little dumpster diving. If I put something in the garbage, R would take it out. I thought he helped collect the garbage each week to earn an allowance but I guess it was really so he could salvage crap from the trash! Crap like an old Spongebob Squarepants sponge. That’s right, a Spongebob sponge. Now if he was going to use this Spongebob sponge to clean the bathroom, sure, I’d be in favor of keeping it. But I know this Spongebob sponge won’t be used for cleaning – it will end up sitting on R’s desk, taking up space and collecting dust. And that’s why I threw it away in the first place.
For now my little hoarder still likes to save things. Maybe one day he’ll grow out of this habit. But if he doesn’t, I predict we’ll have enough stuff to fill a few boxes. And one day he’ll grow up, move out and leave his boxes of crap in my house. Hmm…why does that sound so familiar?
I’m 38 years old and I still have boxes of my crap in my dad’s house. What’s in those boxes?
- Birthday, holiday and graduation cards
- Letters and postcards from childhood friends
- Programs and ticket stubs from school events
- Every special senior edition of my high school paper
- A Days of Our Lives magazine circa 1987
R’s little hoarding habit makes more sense now. It’s obvious where he gets his hoarding trait from….his father. Ok, ok, R may have inherited that trait from me. I may have been a hoarder at one point in my life. But fortunately, I outgrew that nasty habit. Now I hardly save anything. Except for this 1987 Days of Our Lives magazine that I just can’t throw away. But that doesn’t make me a hoarder. I’m not a hoarder.
I am not a hoarder.
Sigh, I think I may be a hoarder.
Next week on A&E’s Hoarders …mother and son hoarders. Be sure to tune in for this very special episode.
(Highest rated episode of Hoarders ever!)