The collector.

I joke about being a pack rat. But this morning, after googling “pack rat” for pictures, I can safely say I AM NOT A PACK RAT. Dear Lord. If you can no longer see your floor for the mountain of clothing and debris, you need help. And quick! Before you are swallowed WHOLE.

SO. Instead of saying I am a pack rat – which I AM NOT – I will call myself a selective hoarder. Not quite the same level of commitment. Being a selective hoarder is sort of like being a secret drinker, but as I am open about my drinking, I favor STUFF instead of liquor. I stash it about the house, here and there. Tucked into little crevices, so neat and tidy you’d never suspect it’s lurking there behind that cupboard door. HAHAHAHAH!

Fortunately this hoarding compulsion really only translates to a few things. My kids, for instance. The walls of my office are lined with their drawings. I save school papers, scrawled messages, mementos. Birthday cards, locks of hair, teeth. I even have their umbilical stumps, like two dried-up raisins – why? Because. Boxes of old shoes and clothing line the walls of the attic. Even though I’ve given away a ton of it all, the collection still grows. We want more children!
I will NEED that stained, holey Purple Pony t-shirt some day. For this same reason I still have boxes of baby toys, 2 changing tables, cribs and an enormous plastic racing car bed. I am not sure how many more kids we’ll have, but it’s safe to say they’ll all have somewhere to sleep.

In addition, I retain paperwork. If we bought a small appliance 10 years ago, you can bet I have the manual sitting in a drawer somewhere. I have boxes of notebooks from high school, college, graduate school. Old report cards from junior high, paper awards from Highland Elementary. I have birthday cards I got when I was 15. Really. I’ve saved every letter, postcard, and greeting card I’ve been given the past 20 years. Our closets overflow w/ correspondence. I tell you, if I am ever famous I will be an archivist’s dream.

Against my will, I also collect plastic containers. I do not want to. But they only take #1 or 2 plastic in the recycling, and I feel guilty about tossing the others. On average, I eat two cups of yogurt a day. Our dog Max loves his Beneful meals, which (of course) come in these cute little lidded containers. I cook at home almost every day. Sour cream, cream cheese containers, foam packaging, all non-recyclable. I know the news is blathering on about the price of oil, BUT WHAT THE HELL are these manufacturers doing??! Putting all of this stuff in #5, 6, 7 plastic?? Wake UP AMERICA! This food isn’t coming from overseas. This is our shame, and all this trash is going back into the ground! What a waste. So much garbage. I HATE chucking these plastic things, but dammit my cabinets can only hold so much. I already have closets full of paper, where the hell can I stuff 35 jumbo yogurt tubs a month?? I will be buried in a mountain of plastic Stonyfield Farm containers when I die.

Now that The Daily Dish is on hold, I am spending time organizing my home. It is liberating being able to open up a closet and not have stuff fall down on top of me. And it is fun looking through old pictures. At this rate, my house will be so clean I’ll hardly believe it’s mine. But I know I not the only Collector out there. Tell me your secrets.