Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream.

We worked on the porch again today. At this point, everything has been sorted except for a tote of Christmas decorations, a tote of Easter decorations, and the toys, which I combined all into one of the gargantuan totes. I've decided to store them all in the garage at this point, because I really don't have time to go through them.

Not right now.

Right now, I need the porch to be completely finished. I need to have it done, even though it will likely have stuff from the storage pod on it in the next few weeks. But I will have completed it once, so I will know I will be able to complete it again.

In the meantime, I had to decide what to do with this elephantine tote that had sat unopened since I put the contents in it years before. The contents of the tote represented a dream that I had hung onto for dear life for so long. A dream I had to let go today, and it has been far from easy.

That big blue tote with the wheels held barbecues in the park, kids playing volleyball, teaching the little ones how to play croquet, horseshoes and badminton in the backyard. It held Scooter and Hopper jumping in a little bouncy house and playing basketball with the inflatable ball that would fit through the inflatable hoops attached to the house. It held laughs and friends and family time and lots of fun blowing gigantic bubbles with the gallon bottle of bubbles at the back of the tote.

Except that it didn't.

Almost everything in the tote was still brand new. The barbecues, picnics, and fun in the backyard or at the park didn't happen. Bugster grew up, never had her friends over en masse, although she had them over several at a time many times over the years. She just never had enough over at the same time to make a volleyball team. Or to have fun playing croquet and horseshoes. Or to dress up in the dress up dresses and play badminton like the ladies of her favorite Jane Austin novels.

Today, I had to take a look at reality.

It glared at me.

But I so want to overcome this hoarding thing that has consumed my life that I didn't look away.

Instead, I looked in the tote chock full of yard toys and realized that it was okay to let go. I took a quick inventory.

1 volleyball net with poles - new? or maybe only used once.
1 volleyball net - new in package.
1 gallon bubble solution (I didn't check to see, if it had been opened or not, but it was full).
1 croquet set - brand new.
1 set used horseshoes, slightly chewed on by puppy.
1 camping roll - used.
1 bouncy house/play structure thing with extra props - brand new.
1 backpack with air pump, never inflated balls, and a triangular boomerang.
2 sets of those little discs with the Velcro on them that allow you to catch a ball - 1 used. 1 new.
1 set of bottles that break apart when you throw one of the balls in the set at just the right spot.
3 kites - new in packages.
1 used and slightly weather worn elephantine tote to hold it all.

I figured I'd put it up on Craigslist and make a little money on it. Actually, I wouldn't really make money on it, but it could go into the Found Money Fund. First, though, I needed to ask my friend. My friend has a rather large family. She and her husband have 8 children. And you know, this would be perfect for 8 children to enjoy with their friends, with their cousins, or even just with one another. And I felt like I needed to know where these toys went. I needed to know they wouldn't just be used for one party and tossed. That somehow, they'd be used for a few years. Perhaps several.

I come from a large family. There were 9 of us kids running around growing up. We would have thought we'd died and gone to Heaven, if we'd have had something like this when we were growing up. The way it was, we used the clothesline as a volleyball net, and we had enough kids to play baseball, even if it was just us and no friends came over. And it was not uncommon for us to break out the croquet and play when relatives came over, or if we were celebrating a summer birthday in the yard.

And while I know part of it is a hoarding characteristic to try to find a home for each and every thing, this was different. I felt like the toys deserved more than just sitting in a tote for years waiting for someone to enjoy them. I wanted a family like the family I had growing up to enjoy them, because they would appreciate them. And they in turn would bring the family closer together and make life long memories for the kids.

And I think I needed to still fulfill a dream. It might not be my original dream, but it was a dream, no less. She asked, if maybe I wanted to go ahead and list them on Craigslist and get more money for them than what I was charging her, but I explained that it wasn't about the money. It was about the dream. And she helped salvage the dream I once had for the toys that were not meant for my family.

But it was hard.

Realizing a dream has died is never easy.


  1. How generous of you to be able to pass those things on for another family to build memories with.


  2. Sometimes it's better to know that they're going to be used, prehaps even be able to hear a story or two of the fun they've had with them, than to make a ton of money on something. Because seriously, what price can you put on your dreams? And remember, every time you let go of one dream, you open yourself up for a new dream, one that doesn't involve Totes of any size. -J

  3. Wowo this post hit me like a tonn of brick! I would say that dreams don't die , but they do change , and you found a way for the stuff to fill another dream , just not in the way you originally planned. Having gone through years of infertiliy and now this adoption circus , I tell you dreams... well they just need to be flexible

  4. I'm sure someone else's family will get as much joy out of the outdoor items as you wanted to get out of it.

  5. Thank you all so very much. :)

    Julianna...That's just so true. Looking forward to a life without totes!

    Fern...You're so right. Flexibility is a must.


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