Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why am I a hoarder?

You might remember that I am supposed to be cleaning house this week. I would rather be in Oklahoma with my husband and doing a bit of knitting in between the occasional tourist thing. But I didn't go because Friday I have a mammogram scheduled, and I figured that with a few days of having the house all to myself I might get some cleaning and sorting done.

Yesterday I threw out a couple of things that I just never ever part with. One thing was part of a costume, and I never throw away costumes, especially those that I spent many hours making myself. The second thing I threw away was a pair of jeans. I never part with jeans that actually fit me, and I tend to hang on to the old ones that don't fit anymore, just in case.

The costume thing I threw out was a sort of bat-wing thing that attached to a dress I wore three years ago. It was uncomfortable to get into, it doesn't store well, and I don't think that it is my best work. But I've kept it for all these years, just in case. Yesterday I decided it was just too much in the way for something that I only wore once three years ago.

The jeans had to go too. They were my most comfortable jeans, and I've worn them so much this year that they were starting to get holes in the knees. They make patches for such problems, and I would have just patched them and kept them for ceramic class and such, but I think that if the knees were unraveling like that that perhaps other areas would soon follow, and those areas are not so easily patched. It would be quite embarrassing to be out in public and suddenly find that the seat of one's pants has split.

So while I'm putting things in the trash, in go the wings and the jeans. Of course I haven't put the trash out to be picked up yet, so there's still a chance that I'll change my mind and retrieve them. But for right now I'm still thinking that I should just part with the items and be done with it.

Other things that seem just as obvious are not yet going in the trash. There are books that have been damaged that I will probably never read again, but due to the damage I can't sell them either, so I resist just throwing them away.

What I'm really having trouble with is my record collection. I am pretty sure that they should go, but not today. I haven't listened to any of the records since I've been here. Not that I don't like them still, but listening to records is something that I do when I'm alone, and when we first moved here I didn't have that much alone time that wasn't being spent on some school thing, so I didn't listen to them much then. So the record player wasn't put in a convenient location, but I just figured that I would move things around after I'd been here a year or so and finished with school and such. I didn't move stuff around that much, and then a bunch of other stuff happened, and my record collection wasn't much of a priority. And then there were floods, and during one of them the entire collection got wet. Not much, just a bit damp at the bottom, but I didn't notice it. So when I finally got it into my head that I should maybe move the record collection and maybe even get out the record player, the record sleeves were all stuck together at the bottom. I suppose that the records themselves are still playable, but the sleeves are ruined. With some of my records, I was just as attached to the album cover as I was the album.

So I must decide if I should throw out the whole record collection and the record player, or if I should just throw out the album covers and put the records in new paper sleeves and then maybe make a minor repair to the record player. If you've noticed that your record player looks to be in working order, but whenever you play a record it sort of groans a bit during each rotation, you probably need to replace a rubber O-ring. Rubber degrades over time, especially things that got a lot of use, such as the record player you used as a teenager. So if you take apart the casing you'll probably see that one of the moving parts has this one inch diameter rubber ring around it, and the rubber ring looks like something took a little bite out of it. Unfortunately, there probably aren't a lot of people still selling rubber rings for fixing record players, so you'll just have to buy some that were made for other things until you find one that fits.

It seems a shame to just throw out the record player now that I know how to fix it, but I'm just not sure that I want to keep that and the records that I haven't played in over three years, especially now that looking at the damaged album covers just makes me ill. But the records are still where I moved them last year, and the record player is still in the back room, and I don't really have any plans to throw any of it away this week.

What I sometimes wonder is why I now have such trouble throwing things away? When I was younger this wasn't such a problem. Not that I ever was a neat freak, and not that I ever saw the necessity of cleaning things right away. I doubt that I will ever enjoy doing much of anything that requires the use of a vacuum cleaner, dish washing liquid, a mop, a broom, a scrub brush, furniture polish, etc.... But I do remember that when I was younger I enjoyed the sorting process that proceeded throwing away things that I no longer needed. I used to read old letters and cards, and look at magazines and pictures, and reorganize my clothes and my art supplies. Sometimes I found things that I thought I had lost. Once in a great while I even found money. Usually, it was not an unpleasant bit of business at all.

But now I put such things off until I just can't function until some sorting gets done, or until I've lost something that I just can't do without, or until there has been a flood or some other dreadful thing that happened. Last year we had a flood that was bad enough that I had to remove the carpet in the bedroom and the hallway, and so I had to sort and box up things in order to move them out of the room so that I could move the furniture and such before I started to rip up the carpet. I think that is the last time I got any real work done in this room.

Once I put aside some time for the task, I have no trouble doing things like throwing away actual trash. I can throw out the expired coupons and the junk mail and the notes reminding me of a doctors appointment and last week's sales ads. And then after I deal with the trash I can collect the towels and the socks and do the laundry. But then I can't seem to deal with the rest of it. The t-shirts that I don't wear anymore except on the day that I'm doing laundry usually can't be thrown out, even if they just seem to take up space, because most of them have sentimental value. I might want to wear them again, and even if I don't I'd like to make something else out of them. I might make them into pillows or book bags, or if I get enough of a certain theme I could make a quilt of them. But I definitely do not want to throw most of them away.

I am tripping over art supplies, yarn, and other craft stuff that I can never seem to get organized. There are always just a few more books that don't seem to fit anywhere on the shelves. I keep finding a few holiday things here and there that somehow did not get boxed up the last time I put stuff away, but either I don't know which box the items are supposed to go in, or I know exactly which box they are supposed to go in and it is either the box at the bottom of the stack or it is really difficult to get to in some other way and it hardly seems worth the effort. And there are just all of these little things that either don't have a permanent storage place or I don't remember where they go or what I meant to do with them.

I have maybe two or three hats, but they don't have a place for them. If I had a lot of hats, depending on what kind of hats I had I would have a box to keep them in or a hat rack, or maybe if I had a collection of baseball caps I'd have a shelf to display them. But I just have a couple of baseball caps and visors that I can't actually find when I need to keep the sun off my face, and I have a knit cap or two someplace that I can't seem to locate when it gets cold. So I have a few hats that I toss here or there and trip over them most of the time, except when I might actually want a hat. Oh, but I do have a few more hats, but those hats have places since they are costume hats and are either on a shelf in the back room or stored with the costumes.

And then there are boxes and bottles and jars, and they are scattered everywhere, but I have trouble getting rid of them because I'm quite certain that I will need them at some point for something. As an artist I am always needing boxes and jars for something, but it is hard to figure out ahead of time which of them might be useful for what and when, and then I don't know where to store them until I figure that out. I have about ten twelve ounce empty Coke bottles, which I am quite certain I put aside for some purpose, but I can't remember what, and that must have been six months ago. I have decided now to throw them away, since if I remember what they are for I can always go and buy some more Cokes and save those bottles instead. But other things are not as easily and as quickly replaced as empty Coke bottles, so they do not seem to get thrown away, even after six months.

And I am not sure how I ended up with a colander in my bedroom. But the really puzzling thing was finding it contained a tube of sunblock, a few packets of seeds, aspirin, and a few items from a store Condom Sense.

I do not know why all of that is such a problem for me. Is some of it like a mental illness, and did I inherit it from my grandfather? Is it just a bunch of bad habits I picked up after marrying my husband? Is it just a result of no longer living under my mother's roof and not having to live by her rules anymore, and this was all going to be a problem for me after I moved away from home no matter where I moved or who I married?

Back to work now. I must get the laundry done today so this evening I can relax and enjoy watching LOST.


dmarks said...

Maybe I could have done your same post (without obvious stuff such as costume bat wings, condom sense in collander, or knitting supplies).

There's a few hundred records there. A mouse ate much of my oldest favorite album, but other than that they are intact. I've got just about anything anyone having anything to do with Genesis ever made, and there are some Star Trek soundtracks there too. And I have not touched any of them for years.

As for the record player, it is probably easier/cheaper to replace the entire thing than to replace a part. Just look for that particular model on eBay. If you find it and prefer you old favorite player, you could use the eBay one for parts.

laughingattheslut said...

When I could find them, the rubber rings cost about a dollar. All the record players seem to eventually get this same problem. Once we fixed three of them on the same day. But my dad used to have all these odd fix-it things, including a box of assorted rubber rings. I have no idea what the rest of them were for.

The Diva's Thoughts said...

I hate cleaning so consequently I do it very randomly. lol I do keep things in order though because I hate clutter and things out of order. I'm anal that way.

I haven't owned or seen an actual record player in years so I can't give you any advice on what I would do with it because I have no clue.

Check on your records though before you get rid of them, maybe a few of them could be collectors items if they are old enough.

dmarks said...

And my dad had a box of rubber rings. And a box of old vacuum tubes.... And a box of tiny light bulbs. Seems like you know the type.