My Life with The Sentimental Hoarder

Frustration of a friend: “I don’t understand why my mom keeps so much junk in the house. As I clean my room, I’m also digging through a ton of useless items: my baby clothes, toddle toys, middle school textbooks, stuffed animals, and empty cardboard boxes. I’ve asked of her to throw these things away several times but she absolutely refuses.”

I have the same frustration as my friend. I have bagged and attempted to throw out old useless items that I have gathered around the house during my great cleaning escapades. Note: this is not an overstatement. The act of cleaning my house is a true test of courage and commitment which can only be performed by an individual with a lot of patience…and a strong nose for dust.

You may think that being a housewife, my mom would be able to take care of the house just fine. Unfortunately, my mom absolutely despises the thought of cleaning. Her nose is so sensitive that even the thought of dust can cause her to sneeze like an angry hyena. Not to mention, my mom’s idea of a clean house is either hiding the mess or bagging the mess and leaving them in various corners of the house. Disposal is never an option.

My brother and I have always thought that our mom was a classic example of a grade A hoarder. When we ask her why she keeps so much old useless items around, her response is: “you never know when you’ll need these things. Once that day comes, you’ll be thankful that I have it ready for you.” The last time I checked the Merriam-Webster, her response compliments the definition of a hoarder. For a long time, my dad and I have tried to convince her that the malls and shopping centers aren’t going to blow up any time soon. If we really needed something, we could simply purchase it at a nearby store.

For a long time, I thought my mom might just be a compulsive hoarder. Fortunately, I was able to discover more of the truth behind her hoard-like ways last year. During one of my great cleaning escapades, I filled several bags of what-I-considered junk and left the bags outside of our entrance door. By garbage-day, I strolled up to my house after school and discovered that the all of the items in the bags were properly disposed off…or so I thought. I walked into my house and discovered a pile of middle school textbooks and toys that I included in the bags. During our typical daily dinner gathering, I asked my mom why she took the time to sort through the bags and pull out items to keep. Her response is the same as before: “you never know when you’ll need these things. Once that day comes, you’ll be thankful that I have it ready for you.”

Currently, this pile still sits in a little corner near the front door, reminding me of my mom, the Sentimental Hoarder.