You see, I have a dear friend that is a hoarder. Not to the extent that I have seen on television...but once she was darn close. When I met her I wondered why she never invited me to her home...ever! I think I knew her for a couple of years and each night she would come by my home to visit..sometimes bringing food she had picked up from a restaurant for both of us.
Eventually the time came when she could not get around it...and I will never forget the shock when I entered her home. I met my friend at a "Grief Closure" seminar after my husband died. Her husband had died only ten days before mine. We were introduce by one of the women who was running the meeting for people going through a time of grief. She was the nicest person..but sort closed and a bit distant..but it was evident she wanted to be friends. And we did become friends. Good friends. And as different as we are, our friendship has endured. We had very little in common really but we liked one another.
I will never forget the first time I entered her home...there were shopping bags wall to wall, the coffee table, under the coffee table, beds in guest room, her room, office, dining room, were stacked feet high with stuff! In the kitchen you could not see the counter tops or the sink or much of the stove. The table was at least three feet high with just stuff. Papers...mail...just everything. The garage was packed from floor to roof. There was a tiny path to get to the washer and dryer. She had cats! It was NOT good. Even the light switches were packed with stuff. I guess she put a piece of mail in behind the plate and then packed it from there...I had never seen anything like it in my life! I know she knew I was shocked.
Here is the thing. Many times she had told me she didn't want to end up like her mother. Her mother had the same ...disorder? Her mother was found behind her kitchen stove when she passed away. Her home, apparently was the same as my friends..but worse, according to what my friend has told me.
When my friend had to move from her house...it was sold by the owners, she had to move to an apartment, she was terribly upset and I traveled to help her. I had remarried by then and moved away. I stayed three days, but slept at my daughters home.
My friend suffered..she really suffered when she had to have a garage sale which lasted several days. Her sons rented a huge dumpster and hauled things out and just threw them in. My poor friend was horrified. She was actually traumatized. It was horrible to watch her and I had nightmares when I got home.
When I left and I cried for my friend on my long three hour drive home. I remember she didn't want help...but she did. I would ask if I could do this or that..and she would sort of panic. It showed in her face. She cried and cried. She got mad at me and another friend that was attempting to help her. She went though a hell of her own when it was all happening. Finally, with the help of two of her sons, she put everything in storage and that was five or six years ago and it is all still there and she pays good money every month to keep it. I ask, now and then, why she doesn't sell some of it..but she says she can't get it out of storage. It is packed too tightly in there. Thousands of dollars are being spent on the unit..and she probably always will. I have stopped asking about her plans...as much as I can. Every now and then I bring it up and kick myself for doing so...because I know she cannot help herself. I know that. But it never fails to frighten me and make me look at myself...and once again dump stuff.
After I went through this with her...I went home. I got into my things and began throwing away things. Keepsakes. Things I had kept from high school. I felt like this at the time...I felt that if it was all going to be thrown in the dump...I..wanted to be the one to do it.
And so...I dumped things. Things that I thought I should not keep any longer. Some things I set gently into the trash bin outside and cried. IT WAS THAT BAD! I didn't, I couldn't, even end up in that situation. This was my way of preventing it.
Later, one of my daughters found out and was so upset. She was irrate and said that it should have been left up to her and her sisters to decide about things like that. I guess they wanted to enjoy and remember things...and now it is all gone. It's done and I cannot undo it.
I realize that I should have just stuck to old clothing, knick knacks, whatever..but I was in a panic after experiencing what I did. Watching the pain my friend was in.
Yes, there is a difference...I know that. But seeing something like that can really have an effect on you when you are a person that saves...and loves your keepsakes, old letters greeting cards that friends, your children, your family, your husband, have all sent to you over the years. I am sorrier than I can even begin to express in words. I did keep my children's baby teeth. I did at least keep those.
So...just be care what you toss. I really must, however, get rid of stuff in that shed and in my garage.
My dining room chairs that my children sat on when they were growing up are overhead in the garage taking up space. We have two sets now and I cannot bring myself to get rid of them. I just cannot.
So...that's all I have to say about that. Shows like that can really evoke panic in a person who loves her things. I KNOW those are extreme cases but my dear friend was approaching a place where I do not see how she could function in every day life. They say that the rule of thumb is "if you haven't used it in two years, get rid of it" or some such thing.
I think keep sakes such as what I threw away in a total panic...is a different story. It's too late for me..but not for someone out there who just might catch that show...and panic!
Hugs to you,
The giveaway is below...wanna help me not be a hoarder??? :)