Geez, Louise, but I’ve never head the condition of my garage better than this:
Because that’s my theory as to what hoarding really is: Reified potential. What might have been, in physical form. Again, n=1 here, so take this for what it’s worth, but the hoarder in my life has elaborate justifications for every single item she’s got, and they’re all of the “I’m gonna” type.
All those newspapers? I’m gonna make a scrapbook. The empty perfume bottles? I’m gonna turn them into wind chimes. She fancies herself an artiste — she even introduces herself that way — although the only actual art she’s ever produced is a series of sketches… from back in high school, which was a long time ago. They’re buried at the bottom of a big stack of sketch pads, all filled with nothing but “gonna.” I’m gonna start sketching street scenes. I’m gonna start tomorrow.
As you might remember, gentle reader, when I moved to palatial Nogglestead, I was spending a lot of time with a couple of toddlers and watched a lot of craft shows like Creative Juice and That’s Clever and hitting lots of garage sales where I bought a bunch of craft materials and things to do inexpensively. And although I did some woodburning and made a couple of clocks and other things, my purchasing ran ahead of my doing, and the completed projects piled up in a couple of boxes when I ran out of people to whom to give things. I’ve held onto broken things, stereo equipment or small appliances, that I’m hoping to fix.
I mean, for a partial example, here are some shelves:
What do we have here?
- 8-Track Tape shells I bought at a yard sale and gutted with hopes of making cell phone cases out of them. But phones have gotten too big for that.
- A bunch of wooden plaques and objects for wood burning.
- A colander missing a handle. Whatever will I do with that?
- A bunch of glass bottles that I’d hoped to cut the tops off of and turn into candles. Or to etch and make into little lights.
- Green pipe cleaners, or whatever the modern equivalent is. I think they’re designed to look like coniferous needles. Clearly, I was gonna make Christmas decorations with them.
- Various bits of old light fixtures. For my art, when I get to it.
- A vast collection of woodworking and repair guides. For when I get serious about those hobbies.
And that’s just one set of shelves. Not depicted: The boxes full of beads for making jewelry, the 1960s dressers that had been with my beautiful wife and I since our respective childhoods, the cookie sheets that I started painting with chalkboard paint but never finished (which have been on improvised tables in the garage for years now, buried under other accumulata), old computer monitor bezels that I intend to make into whiteboards, various découpage materials, a box of old National Geographics we got when my mother-in-law downsized which I will probably never look at but cannot discard or cut into découpage material, and so on, and so on.
The Nogglestead library is a bit the same way. The stacks contain more books than I can read in my lifetime, and I still buy more (but no longer by the dozens as when I would really go nuts at book sales). Very aspirational in that I’d like to read them all someday. But at least I can generally find something to read when I finish a book.
We’re fortunate enough that we have a large house for all the books, records, videos, and the personal relics that make up the other half of my semi-hoarding kind of life. As you know, gentle reader, my family, or at least the family that I had contact with in the latter part of my growing up, has mostly passed away. So I am loath to part with anything that I have received as part of their legacies, from the figurines that were on the living room shelves in the housing projects, trailer parks, and beyond (and which appear on the cover of Coffee House Memories) to the little tchotchkes that my grandmother has given us over the years (a little boy doll and train music box when my first son was born and a motion sculpture later) and beyond. Without people who remember my history to validate my existence or correct my stories as needed, I rely on these little icons to remind me of where I come from.
Regardless, the I’m gonna does capture the essence of a lot of crap around here and a very cluttered garage.
I guess I have three choices:
- Do instead of gonna.
- Go all Marie Kondo and clear the crap out.
- Die and leave it for my heirs to sort out.
C’mon, man. You know which one I’m going with. The Nothing.
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