The hoarding cure

Posted by Rob Walker on April 12, 2010
Posted Under: Things/Thinking

Vis-a-vis hoarding — discussed earlier here and to some extent here (and also in a post on aesthetics of joy) — Salon’s Heather Havrilesky describes the effect that watching hoarding shows has had on her. For example:

[W]hen I watch these hoarders, kvetching over this bag of yarn or that muffin tin, I think about the old black-and-white photographs you sometimes find at flea markets and estate sales, photos of a couple smiling on their couch, or of a gathering of women in a backyard, holding a miserable-looking baby, or of a girl sitting on a swing, a dog wandering through the grass nearby.

These are someone else’s memories that were packed away in boxes, in an attic or a basement, and when that person died, no one wanted them. No kids, no sisters, no spouse, no second cousins showed up and dragged these photographs away — they were left in a pile somewhere, and now here they are, being sorted through by total strangers. How much stuff will I force my kids to sort through? How much of it will immediately be identified as worthless? How much of my stuff might end up like this, drifting through the hands of strangers? When you think about your stuff that way, 90 percent of it suddenly begs to be boxed up and driven to Goodwill immediately.

I know what she’s saying, although when I follow this line of thought it usually ends with me wanting to obliterate all material traces of myself, rather than cart them to Goodwill so they can end up precisely the Stuff Ecosystem described here, to be mused over by strangers after I’m going.

But possibly that’s just me.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

My wife and I are considering a move from a 1000 square foot home into a 500 square foot home. We worry about how we’ll have space for all of our stuff, but we also are excited about the possibility of getting rid of all those things we just don’t need but feel we do.

Written By Chris on April 12th, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

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