When you just can’t get rid of anything

Collecting things is actually a form of mental illness. Many studies have been conducted about this topic. None of which I can recall at this moment, but I did study this idea as part of my formal museum training. My collections are vast, wide and tend to be quite faddish. I went through a phase of collecting mugs, animal bones (for my reference collection), jewellery and so on and so forth. However, I think they are actually broader than this, I think I sub-consciously collect clothes that I never wear, baby products, books and general stuff. I am a terrible hoarder and gatherer of other peoples rubbish. To the point where the husband has banned Freecycle in case I clutter the garage up further.

Last year, I attempted to tidy and chuck things out. It wasn’t all that successful. I did try though. The trouble is, I am also a bit mean. For example, I cannot get rid of the baby stuff. I desperately want another child, I don’t want to end up buying it all again. Anyhow, it’s a waste. I could find someone that wants it, I could attempt to sell it, I could recycle the material and give the stuff to Fifi to play with with her dolls. There are millions of justifications for keeping it. All of which are perfectly logical. None of which solve the problem of space and having too much stuff.

I could leave it to clutter up my free space, destroying any vestiges of Feng Sui that there might be in my house. I could leave it to drive me to absolute distraction with the fact that surfaces everywhere are covered and gathering dust at speed. I could weep at the mess. I am a confused soul.

Unfortunately, the children have inherited the same instincts. Toddler boy has probably over 100 toy cars, people keep buying them for him, he keep asking for them. He is different in other respects in that he lines them all up precisely, everything must be ‘just so’. It must be hard for him to live in this house. Fifi is a gatherer of clothes, she is like a little moving cyclone gathering more and more items from her wardrobe to stumble about the house with. She thrives on mess and muddle. Oh dear.

What is strange is that I cant stand a mess at work, a place full of collections and I need to make sure that they are all ordered and tidy and I set my mind to achieving that order above all else. At home, I sit and fret, I watch the mess rather than the television. It borders on some sort of OCD compulsion. I feel unable to sort it though. This is clearly some sort of mental-ness, I wonder if it happens to all mothers?

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10 Responses

  1. Muddling Along Mummy 7th April 2010 / 1:04 pm

    I seem to spend a lot of time sorting but we&#39;re still knee deep in clutter. Current strategy is each time we finish a room we sort out storage. Only thing is it means our garage is full of stuff…<br /><br />Just think genetically some of us aren&#39;t meant to be tidy

  2. Nova 7th April 2010 / 1:57 pm

    I&#39;m sitting here right now thinking I really should go and do this, and this….the piles of papers get taller, the mess gets worse. I can&#39;t bear it and yet I can&#39;t seem to sort it out either. I need someone to come and de-clutter me! <br />My 12 year old is the same with teddies/cuddly toys. he has 100&#39;s and I&#39;m not allowed to move or throw any away.

  3. urbanvox 7th April 2010 / 3:43 pm

    ha… no way… I am the one that collects things in our household… heheheheh 🙂

  4. Mark 7th April 2010 / 6:30 pm

    Not just mothers.<br /><br />Some random thoughts:<br /><br />There is a difference however between &#39;collecting&#39; and amassing, which sounds more like what you are doing.<br /><br />Very good and funny book on collecting called The Error World available on Amazon – it is ostensibly based on stamp collecting but is much much more than that; trust me you will love it. <br /><br />Had some

  5. Kat 7th April 2010 / 8:31 pm

    I keep loads of stuff but regularly sort and edit what we have. Baby and children&#39;s clothing is limited to what we would definitely use or is totally yummy the rest is sold or passed on. We do a lot of Freecycling in and out of the house – still bursting at the seams 🙂

  6. Aussie Mum 7th April 2010 / 11:11 pm

    We are also a household of horders (Hubby being the worst) but I must admit I have an addiction for fabrics and craft supplies (for the children of course!). <br /><br />I put up with the clutter and mess for a while and then can&#39;t stand it and have a big purge (or try to – hubby usually sneeks it back when I&#39;m not looking). Very frustrating!

  7. the dipe squad 8th April 2010 / 5:44 am

    I don&#39;t know about all mothers, but it definitely happens to me! What a relief that I&#39;m not alone! In a pro-mommy anti-clutter blogosphere, I often feel a bit renegade with my inability to part with stuff. Yes, I can acknowledge its &quot;stuff&quot; status, but no, that doesn&#39;t help me part with it. If it did, my husband would be thrilled…yet alas. Sigh. I am a stuff magnet.

  8. JulieB 8th April 2010 / 10:04 am

    I too hanker after a clean, uncluttered environment, but am mainly hampered in this desire by my failure at being able to do any paperwork (reams and reams of filing seem to pile up – where does it all come from?!). Oh, and the fact that my husband is of the &quot;don&#39;t throw that out, I might need it&quot; school of hoarding, and I love to collect stuff. *Sigh*

  9. Pippa 11th April 2010 / 9:30 pm

    We&#39;re in the process of trying to sell our house however the house has been on the market since last Jul. Well back in Jul we had a ruthless clear out downstairs of everything we didn&#39;t want ready for the move, well now it&#39;s time to do it all again, I&#39;m sure the stuff just multiplies on it&#39;s own.

  10. allgrownup 15th April 2010 / 7:35 am

    Oh god, i do this! i collect utter crap that we don&#39;;t need and never get rid of anything ever, and sadly HID is the same. We (4) live in a large 5 bed house with two sheds and we DON&#39;T HAVE ENOUGH STORAGE! I&#39;m doing an NCT sale next month though, getting rid of baby stuff as Missis is my last. And HID has been selling on ebay, cash and a de-clutter, fab. It&#39;s a drop in the ocean

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