Friday, 16 October 2015

Confessions of a hoarder

This blouse was one of this year's purchases
My name is Mim and I'm a hoarder. Oh, not to the point where you'll see me pop up on one of those horrible exploitative reality programmes on telly, but I do have a problem letting go of things. I think it has two main root causes: moving around a lot when I was very young (I think my mum threw out stuff when we moved thinking I'd never miss it, but of course I did - and for years couldn't understand how I'd been so careless as to lose so many things!) and then the time a few years later when we were very hard up and I didn't like getting rid of things because there was no guarantee I'd ever be able to replace them.

I suppose one benefit of not having much money is that even if you're a hoarder, you think very carefully before buying anything, so that's one useful habit I picked up from that time. I may have amassed stuff, but I did it slowly.


This week we had to chase the kittens out from under the bed because they had to have their jabs. The amount of clothing I found under there shocked me. Because I've hung on to things like the dress I wore to see Fields of the Nephilim in 1990 (and the T-shirt I bought there), my favourite velvet dresses from uni, my graduation dress, the first few things I bought BRAND NEW for myself when I started working, the outfit I bought one honeymoon and so on, I have a lot of completely unwearable stuff stashed away. That's okay.

I also found I had loads of stuff that was now too worn for me to feel completely happy wearing, that I had no particular attachment too but had outgrown or that I'd picked up in charity shops and decided I didn't like. WHO ON EARTH HOARDS THINGS FROM CHARITY SHOPS? Me, that's who.

Clearing my mother-in-law's house this year was a painful learning experience. Most of us have things we treasure that no-one else will. Clothes are probably top of that list. And if you want something and can afford it, you might as well get it, because you might just wait too long. So this year I've been shopping more than ever before - I've probably got one or two things a month, vintage, new or from charity shops. With these acquisitions there simply isn't room for hoarded stuff. So, I've been clearing stuff out.

Earlier this year I got rid of two vintage dresses - black 1940s ones that were too small and not really my style, from my early days of vintage shopping when I had a tendency to pounce on anything that might fit and still was a bit caught up in my head with what other people thought was suitable. They went to a charity shop with a specialist vintage rail; I let the manageress know what I was donating so she could price accordingly. I thought I'd regret giving them away, but I didn't, I actually felt better for not having them lying around the place reminding me I was too fat for them. It's much nicer being able to go to the wardrobe and see garments that make me feel good about myself! So my worn-out clothes are now in a bag for the rag recycling bank. Wearable but unwanted ones are bagged up for the charity shop.

I'm still a hoarder. I still have all those 'memory' clothes I mentioned earlier. There's now space for everything, though! (Let's not talk about the wool and book piles right now...)

Do you hoard unwearable clothes, with or without memories attached?

(The kittens are fine, by the way, and Pippin now approaches us, if we're sitting quietly on the floor. Ziggy, meanwhile, has allowed us to see him, which is very brave of our Cowardly Lion.)

20 comments :

  1. I love this post! It resonates a lot. I do hoard clothing (and everything else) particularly if I can attach a sentiment to it. That sounds great but I can get attached to a sweet wrapper if I put a memory to it!

    When we moved to a smaller place a few years ago, I did have a big clear out. I let all sorts of things go and it was a bit painful to start but eventually very liberating.

    The only real downside was the reaction of people on social media - I got lots of comments from people saying they never could or would get rid of things, and I foolishly let that slow my momentum.

    I don't really save things for best, as life is just too short. I try and have a clear-out fairly often now. I already have a tendency to live in the past but I find that this helps me to keep moving instead.

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    1. I think only the person who owns stuff can know when it's the right time to get rid of things, depending on where they are in their own life. You're right, it can be both painful and liberating!

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  2. We really should meet up in a church hall, sit in a circle wearing name tags drinking tea and eating biscuits! I too am a terrible hoarder and so feel your pain, my problem is that I think I can use something for something else and so I have things in storage all over the house waiting for that day when I will need it’s spring, frame or wheel. Beth will ask me “what do you want this for?” and I will proclaim, “oh I thought it could be used for….” Inserting the name of an idea that’s either still on the table on paper or my head that I haven’t got round to yet… x

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    1. You hoard like my husband! Now, where that name tag...

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    2. Yes, I have a shedload of wool, craft things and DIY bits that 'might come in useful'. Come to think of it, I bet most people with steampunky inclinations are hoarders... it's not an interest that lends itself to minimalism.

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  3. Fellow Charity-shop collector,
    Greetings!
    You are, by far, not alone in this. With expenses going up, prices going up, bill piling up.. and paychecks NOT going up.. one must not only plan her shopping, but also play some might "monopoly" with her budget. The little of it that remains after everything else is settled can be spent on clothes, and - let me be honest, clothes is high priced yet low in quality.
    Second hand shops, friend of a friend who's got some stuff extra, an aunt whose gals "outgrew" their clothes.. are the best sources for me.
    ..and I would not change that experience of "hunting and gathering" for nothing.

    Marija

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    1. There's nothing quite like a brilliant secondhand find, is there? Getting that perfect thing for next to nothing is far more enjoyable than simply walking into a shop and buying something.

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  4. Well you know how bad I am, you have seen the pictures on my blog! you name it I hoard it.
    I have nostalgia clothes too, the mini skirt I was wearing the night I met Himself springs to mind, I doubt I could get one thigh in it now but I keep it because it has such happy memories linked to it.

    I always thing at least I'm not as bad as some which of course is sticking my head in the sand really.....

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    1. I do wonder where some people keep all their clothes. They must have extra rooms or something. My little wardrobe serves as a useful break on my accumulating (erm, when I'm not stuffing things under the bed, that is).

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  5. Better get me a name tag too. I am a terrible hoarder and my house is filled to the rafters with things that *might* come in handy and things with memories attached. I have moved around a lot too and lose things with every move. Talking of which I have one on the cards so it will be clear-out time again soon. How does stuff accumulate so much? Xx

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    1. 'Might come in handy' is definitely the hoarder's motto!

      I have been very good and put the worn out things I'd convinced myself I'd use for a craft project into the recycling pile - I haven't made said project so far, so by the time I do get round to starting it, I'll probably have more tatty clothes to use for it.

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  6. My Dad left the majority of my childhood books and toys in the loft when he and Mum moved out of my childhood house. That was back in the 1990s and its still a sore point with me even now, especially as there was so much that I could have passed onto Monkeychild.

    I've tried not to hoard and have clear outs throughout the year, which all goes to a local charity shop - not one of the 'big boys', but a county-based one. Its great when they send us a letter telling you how much our donations have raised.

    I've kept a lot of my old 'rock chick' clothes, boots and tour t shirts for Monkeychild and even now she asks me to keep certain items of clothing for her.

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    1. Augh, that must have been awful to lose all that stuff.

      She's going to have some cool clothes when she's big enough to wear them.

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  7. *Raises hand*
    I'll meet you all at the church hall.

    Books are worse than clothes as I can justify it as a "home library". The number of books we own is terrifying-we're dealing with the problem by teaching the kid to build bookcases!

    I do still have clothes I owned in the 70's, but if they became unwearable I'd likely ditch them. I have a habit of buying clothes that are too nice to leave in the thrift stores at bargain prices, but I try my best to find them homes quickly. My weight fluctuates quite a bit which means I almost always can't wear something in the collection. Six months from now, who knows-so I keep a range of sizes packed away.

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    1. We've got better at turfing books out/not bringing books into the house now we've got Kindles, though just as I'm never 100% convinced of the security of digital music so hold onto CDs, I do tend to worry that Amazon might just take the digital books off me one day so I make sure I have books I really like in hard copy too. When the zombie apocalypse happens, I'm going to need my books...

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  8. My mum (and my grandma) were both hoarders. My childhood home was like those homes you see on television programmes. Very few people were allowed to visit because of the state of the house. I tried for years to help them declutter and failed. Dealing with their stuff after they'd both died made their deaths even harder to deal with. xxx

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    1. I used to be the opposite - I'd throw things away every now and again, ruthlessly discarding things I didn't like anymore, regardless of their value (a Gina Bacconi evening dress, a Calvin Klein summer dress... I weep now at their loss!!). Now I am more sentimental, but also have developed that tendency to want to turn things into something else. So I keep the dress because it would make a nice cushion cover, or if I could just take in that skirt, it would be *perfect*! I am determined not to be a hoarder, and I have been clearing out bags and bags of stuff, taking it to local charity shops. My only fear is that my husband will buy some of it back unknowingly...

      I am fully aware that I have 'too many' clothes, by most people's standards but that doesn't stop me buying more - as long as I can shift some of the old stuff I figure balance will be retained.

      I love your blouse, that was a good purchase. Nice photo again of you xx

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    2. I'm a clearer-outer. This house really doesn't have much storage; we have 1 built in wardrobe between us plus another which only holds coats, jackets and suits. I feel like keeping things I cannot or won't wear costs me space I'm paying a mortgage on and it won't give me back the money I spent on it. So, I donate every few months as I like to think of someone finding a gem in the BHF or Blue Cross shop. We did the same with our old sofas and dining table. That said I am a very careful bargain-hunter and I don't pay anything for my shoes...

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  9. I'm a dreadful hoarder... But I've had to curb my bad ways since moving into my current house that has virtually no storage space, particularly for clothes. I've got one tiny single wardrobe and one tiny built-in single wardrobe, one dresser and that's my lot. It's forced me to become more ruthless, but I feel genuinely upset every time I throw/give anything away still!! I think if you're a hoarder you're a hoarder for life at heart...

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    1. Yup, there are things I really regret clearing out. And I rediscovered a skirt under the bed last week, thought, "But I like this skirt!" and then found it went perfectly with a top I'd never thought of matching it with. (Selective) hoarding for the win!

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