Friday, April 24, 2009

Collector or Packrat?

And this is only the tip of the iceburg
Do you still have your children’s kindergarten journals?
Do you have the dress or outfit you wore when you got engaged?
Do you have any text books from your high school or college days?
Do you own a twenty-one year old car that you seldom drive?
Do you have over one hundred souvenir key chains?

My answer to all these questions is yes.

Some of you are cringing already. You’re having an anxiety attack at the thought of having clutter in your home. Others are thinking that it is perfectly reasonable to have some or all of those items...okay, maybe not.

My husband and I were “older” when we married and had well established lives. He had stuff; I had stuff. We added three children to the equation, and now we all have stuff - too much stuff!

My mother visited recently, and as usual, got out the dust cloth to help with the much appreciated cleaning. As she moved from room to room, attempting to dust each dresser or desk surface, the look on her face became more and more bewildered, until she couldn’t stand it any longer. “I would dust your desk, but I don’t want to move any of your things.”

After a few more comments, she moved to Hayley’s room to see the mountain of stuffed animals stacked up in the corner. I laughed when I saw her reaction. I think she thought the animals were going to get up and attack her.

You’re probably thinking my home is a mess. Ironically, I get compliments on how organized it is. (Are they just being nice to hide the shock?) Of course, I have shelves and containers galore!

Truthfully, I would like to have less stuff. I give away lots of stuff, but when Christmas, vacations, birthdays, household projects, school projects, etc. come along, the stuff grows again.

There is a difference between things that give you joy and things that are useless. I’m working on getting those useless things out. Check on me sometimes to see how I'm doing.

A few of my current collectibles:
I buy a key chain at every museum, airport, historic building, and attraction I go to. My husband gives them to me as gifts when he travels, and just a week ago, Kelly bought me one while on her school field trip!

The classics…I’ve been collecting since the 80s. I’ve read a few, but will never read them all. Still, I enjoy looking at the leather-bound books accented with gold, and browsing through the pages. Maybe the kids will read them.

The kids and I collect postcards. We ask family and friends to send them to us from anywhere! The postcards come from our home state to as far away as other continents.

Anita and Family
P.O. Box 1853
Mechanicsville, VA 23116

hint, hint :-)

What do you collect?


Judy Thomas said...

I collect nothing, except maybe plants for my garden, though I am out of land/space for those. I have a rule- if it isn't used in a year, it goes to Goodwill and I pretty much stick to it. The only piece of clothing that I do not wear and that I haven't given away is my wedding dress (a simple, off-the-rack white dress, not a gown-though that 100% cotton item is decaying and I won't have it anymore soon!). I don't like stuff-it feels oppressive-it needs sorting, arranging, dusting, ugh. I don't even collect books- the books I have are for reference, to be read soon or they are gone.

Anita said...

I'm going to be like you when I grow up, Judy! :-)

Hilary said...

I am a collector, and when I feel that I am bordering on pack-rat like tendencies, I purge, purge, purge. If it isn't nailed down or whisked out of the way as I come through, forget about it. I used to collect all of the books that I read until I watched this episode of Seinfeld where Jerry asks why someone keeps books. "Are they trophies to prove that you can read?" he quipped and to the used bookstore I went! Thanks for visiting my blog and here an epistle back at you. It was great meeting you on Saturday and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Anita said...

HILARY, I'm glad you mentioned the Seinfield episode. I'm going to admit to the world that I probably have most of the books I've read as an adult. Half of them are still packed in the attic as a result of several moves, which boils down to a waste of space and a waste of a book that someone else could be reading. Gotta ponder that one. On another note, write an epistle in my comment area any time! I enjoy reading them...the more the better.

Annie Z said...

You sound like you have very well organised 'stuff'. I think there is a difference between collecting items that you love and random clutter that has no use at all.
What were the three rules again?...
Do you use it? Do you need it? Do you love it?...
I think thats right. I can see how your postcards and keychains come in the 'love it' category.

Anita said...

NEWMUM, thanks for the encouragement, and for validating my keychains and postcards! :) But, I need to write the three rules on cards and put them in various places in my house for CONSTANT reminders.