For years I have prided myself on my ability to be introspective, self-aware. There is very little I don’t know or understand about who I am. So you can imagine my surprise this past week when I discovered something new, something different about myself, something deep to the core of who I am.
My name is Kateri Allard and I am a hoarder.
That’s right, a hoarder. A first-world, can’t throw it out, but can’t resist buying something new hoarder. Sure, I love clothes and shoes as much as the next girl. So what if it have a pair or two of shoes I haven’t worn in years, my feet haven’t changed sizes and I may take up sailing again, or bring back the 5 inch silver wedges I out aged the day I brought them home. I own a hundred white tanks but I wear one almost every day, and I don’t care what they say; you can never have too many black pea coats, fleeces, or sweaters. But all of this is only the tip of the iceberg. I was only mildly disgusted with myself until I made it to the kitchen.
Five types of bread crumbs (I don’t eat bread), four containers of ground cumin, excluding the unopened cumin seed I have as well. Three bottles of apple cider vinegar, three balsamic, two red wine, two sherry cooking wine, canola, olive, peanut, coconut, and vegetable oils, six bags of chocolate chips plus five of other chip varieties. I have
– five frying pans, plus a grill pan and deep cooking pan
– ten pots of various sizes, with lids, and a stock pot
– two coffee makers
– a chocolate fountain
– a hand mixer
– a stand mixer with multiple attachments, including an ice cream maker
– a stand alone ice cream maker
– a crock pot
– a popcorn maker
– two waffle makers
– a panini makers
– a mini electric grill
– six wooden spoons
– five spatulas
– seven aprons
Disgusted with myself I moved to the bathroom
– two sets of hot rollers
– four curling irons
– a straightening iron
– two hair dryers
– seven brushes
– more lotion and soap than I am willing to count or share. Seriously, it was embarrassing, and felt dirty. Soap should never feel dirty.
If you’re wondering where all of your Chapstick has escaped to over the years, just move, you’re sure to find it, all of it.
I encountered similar discoveries of disgust throughout my house, but I will refrain from boring you with lists of my possessions. I will say though, that my initial sense of disgust in each room subsided momentarily to a feeling of guilt at the consideration of getting rid of, gasp, throwing out some of my belongings. My disgust soon returned, fortunately, but the whole thing has surprised me. Surprised me how easily we acquire belongings in our privileges lives, how we develop ownership over them, and in a way, an obligation to them.
Why would I ever feel guilty throwing away soap that was given to me years ago and never used? Why would I be reluctant to part with one of two sets of hot rollers when I haven’t used either in over a year? And why, good Lord why would I need ten pots when I only have four burners?
It is odd how quickly we develop bonds with our things, even things that go unnoticed, and untouched for years. It seems wrong to part with our stuff, yet we continually allow our relationships to fall away, we leave them in the past, thinking nothing of their end. How is it that we often feel greater obligation to a bar of soap than to a person who has shared our time?
So here is my request to all of you. As I move away, do not let me fall to the side, or let me allow you to slip away. I don’t plan to hoard you, but I hope to keep you close and special. And if I fail, gently remind me. I am hoping to significantly simplify the number of things in my life, but hope to never pack away the people.
Oh, and one more thing, if you are ever feeling tempted to get me soap, or lotion, or candles, please don’t. And if you do anyways, please place them in the box in the door. It will be ready to be sealed and donated at the time of my next move.