Okay, who else has been watching that Hoarders show on A&E and getting a little freaked out? Granted, I’m nowhere near the folks on this show, as far as having that much stuff … but once in a while it hits kinda close to home. I mean, who among us hasn’t bought random unnecessary items and then held onto them way longer than space or need required?
Let’s face it, a lot of us yard-sale fans probably have a wee touch o’ the hoarding. I’d even venture to say it’s one of those “spectrum disorders” — some people might have a few symptoms yet still live completely functional lives, while others (like most of the folks on the show) are severely affected by what seems to be a true psychological problem. I mean in those cases, it is severe, and it’s not a matter of “they should just stop” — it seems like a lot of them can’t stop.
But for the rest of us, when is it that things get taken too far? What if you collect bottles. You might have a lot of them. Is that hoarding?
Probably not. But what if there’s more?
And more? Along with other glass items. Lamps and beads, anyone?
Maybe there’s too many to have out on display. You might need to just start filling up boxes. Hey, is that a crap-ton of polished rocks over on the right?
Maybe you need some boxes to store all of your decorative Avon bottles, too.
As you may have guessed, these photos are all from one estate sale, which we hit last weekend (after a several-week-long sale break). What you also need to know is that there were more bottles, more rocks, more Avon, more beaded necklaces … lots and lots more. Enough that it was definitely starting to feel a little hoardy in there.
But this person didn’t hoard everything. There were some vintage clothes that she’d kept around, but only about a closetful. Books, records, sheet music, kitchen stuff … positively reasonable in number. And the house was huge. If you have the space, and keep things organized, is it really hoarding if your collections have just gotten a little (okay, maybe a lot) out of hand?
Hmmm. Probably not. But what if you also have multiple containers of decades-old instant coffee in your basement?
And some equally ancient cans of food?
What about stuff you canned yourself … about nineteen years ago?
And what if all that was in an entire room full of about a hundred times more of it (plus a heaping helping of more glass bottles and other random crap to boot)?
I don’t know. Like I said, the house was big. It was probably all very organized (things were laid out on tables and such for the sale, but it seemed pretty tidy). Although the stuff did fill up almost every possible inch of the house — even a little nook on the back side of the furnace.
And it often didn’t seem like deliberate hoarding, so much as just buying stuff and storing it away and then never thinking about it again … for like thirty years.
Now, people in houses full of weird thrifted crap probably shouldn’t throw any stones. But going to this kind of estate sale does feel a bit like watching the Hoarders show (except that you’re left to your own imagination as far as the people involved). Both of those leave me with the urge to really pare stuff down. I mean, it’s fine to stock up on useful items, or have collections, or do crafty things like make jewelry or can food. But when you never use the stuff you stockpile, or you end up with way more than you could possibly ever appreciate or even remember you have? What’s the point?
I’ll leave you with perhaps the best and worst of this sale. This assortment of products and packages was presumably collected, not stored since their original purchase (though really, who can be sure). As with every single picture in this post, what you are seeing is just a small subset of similar items at the sale.
And finally, you know how sometimes people have a junk drawer? This house had an entire junk room. Here’s one little bit of it.
Phew. Time for us to start going through our own stockpiles and start planning our next yard sale! In between hitting some more of the always-questionable off-season offerings around town, of course …