Mom said that when I was a kid I was fastidious at keeping my room clean. Everything had a place, and everything was where it should be. I was a neat freak. I would apparently get very frustrated with my sister who was more lax in her efforts to keep the room clean. Now, however, it would appear as though my sister and I have changed places. She is the neat freak, and I am...well...not.
What's funny is that I remember having problems with keeping things well before I even made it into my teens. One of my brothers had won a 6ft long stuffed snake at the fair for me. Actually, we had two of these snakes. He gave one to me and one to my sister. Mine had yellow and light green spots on it, so of course it was the one he picked out for me given my affinity for yellow. I remember having a love/hate relationship with it. I loved the fact that my brother had thought of me when he won it, but I never really knew what to do with the thing.
I believe I hung it from the ceiling at one point, because it didn't take up as much room up there as it did on my bed. I'd try to get creative with it and coil it up, but the thing was so stiff it didn't coil. . And it was so full of stuffing that it didn't even bend in half unless forced. When I finally got a toy net, it hung along the back of the toy net so it's head hung out the one side with it's tongue sticking out, and that was as close as I ever came to having a permanent place for it. As a toy the snake was rather useless. I couldn't cuddle with it, because it smelled dusty. It always made me want to cough, which I'm sure is because of the asthma I've had my entire life. We'd hang it outside on the clothesline to try to air it out, but even that didn't help much. It didn't really work as a weapon, although it may have, if Mom hadn't put an end to our attempts at battery. It was simply a thing to display.
The thing is...I think I may still have it. I think it's out in the storage pod in a box of things I didn't know what to do with that I packed up several years ago. If it is in a box, it's because after 30 years it is finally creased in places it was never meant to bend. If it's not there, then I may have finally donated it after agonizing over what to do with it one too many times over the years. I do know that I hung onto it for far too long, because I didn't know how to give it up. I didn't know how to let it go, because it symbolized the love my brother has for me.
I still have the Orange Blossom perfume another of my brothers bought me when he went to Ft Lauderdale, FL for Spring Break one year. I was probably about 8. It doesn't take up very much room. The bottle is only about an inch high and 3/4" wide. I kept the seashell it was wrapped in for years and years. I have no idea what happened to it, but I apparently parted with it somewhere along the way. The last I remember seeing the shell was before we moved into this house 9 years ago. This summer I finally parted with the long sleeved Ft Lauderdale t-shirt he got me the following summer, but it was really, really hard.
I guess my point in all this is that I've had hoarding tendencies all my life.
Even when I was a neat freak, I had trouble letting go.
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.