Exploring what life could be like if we weren’t buried in clutter, burdened with too many possessions, and surrounded by chaos.

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From whence the drive to collect?

March 14th, 2013 · No Comments · Collecting, Excess of Possessions, Hoarding, Packratting, Philosophy, The Packrat Mind

I admit i have a bit of a “thing” about collecting. There’s a-whole-nother category that lies somewhere between packratness and hoarderliness, and I’m in it.  The people in this category are called “collectors” instead of packrats or hoarders because they collect things in a systematic, purposeful and orderly way, display their collections in a proud and dignified manner, and often spend a lot of money on them. They are driven by something they all have in common, a condition I’m hereby naming collectivitis.

(Note that I’m not bailing out of admitting I’m a packrat. I overlap in both categories. If you recall, I explained earlier why I don’t place myself in the hoarder category.)

My earliest memories of these urges are from when I was eleven and began to collect bottle caps. I amassed shoeboxes full of them. Precociously, I recognized way back then that if I was going to indulge this compulsion, I’d better pick something small (we moved a lot) and cheap (my income was …. an occasional peanut). For that I deserve a TON of credit — which, by the way, I never get.

Certain people, such as the one I live with, might express a little gratitude once in a while that at least I’m not like a guy I used to know who collected office machinery — and I don’t mean staplers. I mean xerox machines and the like. Besides the money he doled out for them, he had to rent a warehouse for their storage. His wife resented it horribly.

how would you like a warehouse full of THESE?

In light of that, How can you really find fault with pen caps and sock hangers?

But never mind. I’m over it. For my own clarity of thinking, I’m taking the brave step of purging these collections from my environment. Fortunately I don’t have to throw them away. I can give them to SCRAP, which makes it a lot more bearable. There they’ll capture the heart of some other loon, and be adopted forthwith — thereby assuaging my abandonment guilt.

I realize this new, emancipated Self means that from now on, whenever I find a pen cap, or acquire a sock hanger, I’ll be tossing those babies right into the rigid plastics recycling bin in our garage. I’ve been mentally practicing doing this, and I’m fine with it.

Years ago I got rid of my huge collection of tiny tasting spoons (see blog banner, above) and now, in my new incarnation, after tasting something at the deli I toss the spoon ruthlessly into their recycling bin, with a debonair, nonchalant “Off with its head!”

See? People can change.

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