Okay, here’s a true confession. I think I might have borderline hoarder disorder.
And I think it might be getting worse.
I spent the day today (my one full day of the week off) moving stuff around in the garage to try and make a more winterized space for the ATV, the ride-on mower, some furniture pieces my daughter has lined up to refinish, and for, well, other stuff. All that stuff that is too good to throw away, but not good enough to keep is stashed in my garage and storage shed.
Where does all this stuff come from? It’s not all mine. Every family member who comes home or who moves away, or who even comes to visit, leaves possessions that they want, but not in their own houses. This includes the belongings of my partner’s ex-wife, whose extraneous stuff takes up an entire corner of the garage. I have seriously considered changing the name of the place from Everyday Grace Farm to Everybody’s Stuff Farm.
I took a break from re-organizing to take the garbage and recycling up to the transfer station, and could not resist peeking into the cool sheds there; the book barn, the take it or leave it shed, and the clothing bin. The last thing I need is more stuff, but shopping at the dump is fun, free, and (I rationalize) fiscally responsible. It’s retail therapy that doesn’t cost anything.
Sometimes I feel odd when I take more away from the dump than I bring up there, but then I remind myself people are getting rid of this stuff, so in a way, aren’t I helping out? Isn’t it being green to repurpose and re-use? I get nearly all of my clothing and reading material from the dump, and have stocked my home daycare with awesome toys culled from the TIOLI, many of them in really good shape or only needing minor repair to make right as rain again.
It is almost a channeling technique. Come Saturday or Sunday morning, as I am sorting out the bottles, cans and paper recyclables, I find myself getting excited for the serendipitous adventure that is in store. What will I find today that I can use? It is astonishing to me how often a book by an author I have been reading or thinking about is right there waiting for me. I have been re-reading Madeleine L’Engle and three books were right there on the shelf this morning. The older girls who spend Wednesday afternoons at the farm asked for clay, and voila, a nearly full package of 24 colors. It’s almost like magic. True, the euphoria dissipated a bit when I got back home and realized I had to find room for the so sweet, only slightly damaged watercolor from 1937 (possibly of value, something that old?), the great casserole dish (with a LID, and I can always use another casserole dish, right?), and an armful of 4T clothing (Oshkosh, B’gosh!) that will come in handy when Gracie gets her clothes wet and her mom forgets to pack a spare outfit. Plus, I still wasn’t finished with the garage project; all of the stuff I had dragged out now had to go back in the garage, in a hopefully more organized fashion, but which in reality more often feels like I am playing a life-sized version of Tetris with STUFF.
One of my cute dump finds is a deck of black and white postcards with those 1950’s style housewives spouting smart remarks. You know, like, “Make yourself at home, clean my kitchen’. My very favorite is the lady languishing on her couch and thinking: ‘I dream about storage space’. I can totally relate. Maybe it’s not hoarder disorder. Maybe I just need a dry basement, an attic and a barn! Now that is the stuff dreams are made of!