Tag Archives: keep

The Smaug Complex

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Good morning, dear reader.  How’s your Tuesday so far?

Today I’d like to talk about hoarding.  It’s on my mind because I’m visiting my parents today, where all the childhood things are.  All five of us kids insist that we don’t have that much stuff here, and that we’ve moved most of our possessions into our grown-up homes.  We have not.  We own a lot of tat, and a good chunk of it is being hoarded here.

There are many types of hoarding, and the one that my siblings and I are guilty of is downplayed hoarding: we are actually holding on to all sorts of books, toys and knick knacks accumulated over years of childhood, but we deliberately downplay it to ourselves because throwing our Year 2 exercise books away is harder than we thought it would be.  I don’t know why exactly (Year 2 was not all that, let’s be honest), but it is.

One of my best friends has a garage which she uses for storing all manner of things, including some practical items like furniture that she’s going to put on eBay.  So far so sensible.  Until a couple of months ago, she was also using it to store pretty much every item of clothing she’s owned since she was sixteen, and a veritable avalanche of shoes.  (She also had my A Level Philosophy & Ethics folder and text book in there, which was a pleasant surprise.)

Her hoarding type is cover-all-bases hoarding: you never know when you might need a dress you wore to your Year 11 prom.  I’m being a bit flippant about it, but her hoarding drive comes from a very good place: she likes to be prepared, and being the lovely person that she is, she wouldn’t want to get rid of something that might be of use to someone one day.  Having said that, she and I spent a day clearing out her garage a couple of months ago, and like a hero she willingly sacrificed a lot of her old shoes to the charity shop gods.

Every hoarder is different, and the drive to keep hold of stuff can come from all sorts of areas of our lives.  We might be prone to nostalgia, or be afraid of letting things go.  We might just like having lots of bits and pieces to decorate our homes.  Whatever our reasoning, I think that hoarding can actually be a good thing.  Not in itself necessarily, but because letting go of something when you’re ready can be incredibly cathartic.

Unless of course you’re an angry, thieving dragon who is sitting on a bunch of dwarf gold.  Have a stupendous Tuesday.