Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hoarding 101

I've been thinking a lot about hoarding since this week's Oprah shows. If you aren't a hoarder trying to make you understand would be the equivalent of trying to explain why an alchoholic wants a drink to a teatottler. Part of it I am convinced is wiring. The other part is learned behavior. And a very strong part of it is emotional. I started hoarding as a child.

"Things" have always had immense meaning to me. Some people are compulsive picture takers or movie takers... you know one of these people I'm sure... they have to capture every moment. It can get to the point that they never "see" any part of their child's birthday party they only "view" it through their viewfinder. Those people need to capture the moment.... I need to save it. I cannot throw out a picture. Not even a bad one or a duplicate. I can't throw out a birthday card or a datebook.... or even a freaking business card. Everything is tied to a memory for me.

When I was a little girl my parents divorced. I spent my entire life not being able to be with people that I loved and missing them immensely. When you are a child with separated parents the truth is you must become your own archiver. Your mother isn't saving the cards from your father and vice versa. For me every Valentine or movie stub was a powerful reminder of a good time I had with my Dad and since I didn't get to have that many I held onto them. Well where do you draw the line? I had a good time at the movies with my friend too... so I'll save that stub as well.... hey now I'm collecting movie stubs!... you get the picture. I have one box of mementos (not big) since my compulsion is to save small things I think as far as hoarding goes I lucked out. That is the majority of the stuff I am compelled to save and always picture my grandkids going through the box and saying "a movie for $5!?" and that kind of thing. But that has spiraled into my needing to save all the cards my kids receive (well who am I to decide which will be meaningful to them?!)... and they are well loved so that is a LOT of cards!

Some of you might confuse hoarding with compulsive shopping. That is not the case for me. I can't get rid of stuff that I am given. I don't have bulging closets or bins off old clothes and purses. I have NO problem cleaning out my clothes every year and now that I am done having kids I have no problem getting rid off their outsized clothes and shoes. But don't expect me to get rid of old gift bags, or ribbons! I could use those again! My hoarding is more based on a twisted frugality. I have a very hard time getting rid of potentially useful stuff.... it just seems wasteful. And although I do drop off huge bags of stuff at The Salvation Army every year (I mean seriously people we purge stuff all the time) we still get stuff as gifts and cast offs ALL the time!

When my grandmother was moving from her last house to her retirement village she had to get rid of a lot of stuff. My grandmother is a hoarder. She has always had large well appointed homes but her closets are stuffed to the tops with little special bundles wrapped in old plastic bags and secured with rubber bands. She didn't throw anything out. When she had to part with a lot of stuff I came down and dutifully loaded up my trunk. Why? Because I knew she needed me too. I knew she didn't want to give this stuff to Goodwill. It was valuable stuff that she had carefully saved to hand down... and I knew she believed I would honor it's importance. Not just it's retail value but it's importance to her. And I do. I really honestly do. So I have a hutch and sideboard FILLED with antique silver and china and crystal. I have a storage room stuffed with boxes of her collections of teak saucers (why?), marble eggs (classy Easter decorations?), decorative plates, heirloom linens, etc. Some of these things are immensely valuable and some of these things were just valuable to her. It is very hard for me to purge these things. I really feel like I am just the curator of her collection and it isn't my place to let it go (although I'm getting ready to purge the teak saucers.... shhh)

I wouldn't say any one "collection" is the problem. In fact when we moved here my box of mementos and my grandmothers tableware didn't seem unreasonable. The problem comes from the fact that Mr F is a hoarder too (although he is loath to admit it). And add to my collections, Mr F's cluttered desk and magazine hoarding, outgrown clothes & toys in holding for Baby, seasonal decorations, bags of hand-me-downs from acquaintances, our massive photo collection... you get the picture. The basement is what happens when hoarding meets ADD. I don't want to get rid of my stuff. Mr F doesn't want to get rid of his. My mother-in-law keeps sending us boxes and boxes of kids clothes and decorations. We don't have a big enough house to store the stuff... and the real kicker is that we don't have a place to sort things (hence the basement issues) and we don't have the time to do it.


************************************************************
Now please don't give us advice on how to organize. We know how to organize. We know how to purge. We know how to buy bins and labels. We have two storage rooms that are organized and sorted and labeled (well good enough). Just because I'm open about our problem area does not mean that I am asking for help and guidance. This is me processing my feelings and my issues. We can tackle this, and we will, when we are ready. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. Letting go of an old shipping box that might be the perfect size to send Christmas presents in is ours.

55 comments:

Marie said...

I'm not a hoarder, but dh is, and our basement looks eerily similar to yours (minus the finished part..). I usually have to sneak his stuff out a couple times a year, but in general we just avoid the basement. Even when I go down there to run, I don't really LOOK at it..just the treadmill and TV. And we KNOW how to organize too. All of the outgrown clothes are nicely sorted by season and size, and labeled as such in clear totes. And the toys that one has outgrown and the next is waiting for are organized by age. But there is just so much STUFF!!!! Right now my youngest is 9 months, and I am DYING for someone to have a girl so that I can give them all the baby clothes they can ever need!!

And to tell you the truth, if I took the time to REALLY REALLY go through everything down there, the rest of the house would fall apart, and by the time I got THAT cleaned back up, the basement would be a mess again...vicious cycle. As long as I can 1) still walk down there, 2) get to what I need, and 3)contain the "junk" to the basement only I am happy!!

Mrs. Furious said...

Marie,
Yes all I do down there is workout and do laundry. It's true... as long as my treadmill is clear and I have a straight shot to the TV what does it matter?!

Tell me about the clothes & toys!?! I think in the basement shot you can see 6 bins of Baby clothes alone. It is freaking ridiculous. But not having to buy anything for Baby is worth it in the end.

I think for the most part it is a time issue. Even the explosion of stuff in the basement could be put away... but that is how it looks when we have only gotten through phase one of a cleaning project... and there is never time for phase 2 or 3 before more shit gets piled up in phase 1 again!!!

When I see those organizing shows and they can actually take stuff outside to sort I am so jealous. If we could do that we could spend a weekend getting it all sorted and labeled and then put away... but we NEVER have a weekend where it won't snow or rain or get eaten by raccoons!

Mr Furious said...

Letting go of an old shipping box that might be the perfect size to send Christmas presents in is ours.

LOL! In the fall I purged dozens of boxes and our cache of packing materials (bubble wrap, foam peanuts, newsprint, etc) that for some reason we had been saving in case we move again someday.(As if the movers won't have that stuff, or there will be a worldwide cardboard shortage.)

Mr Furious said...

It should be noted that I have purged my magazines down to almost nothing, and same with books. Mrs F has yet to "step to plate" on that front.

Magazines are a particular challenge for me since it is related directly to my job, but I've tried to adjust to using the library as a source instead of having my own reference library, and the realization that if the magazine is a few years old, it is useless to me for design/style.

I used to have a mountain range of magazines...

One thing I DO have is hundreds of comic books—which I cannot toss or sell for pennies on the dollar, and Mrs F cannot relate...

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F,
comic books... whatever I don't have an issue with that. I had an issue with that when you had some financial stuff I though you need to take care of but that was it.

magazines... you have got to be kidding me. I could go down right now and document the truth all around your desk.

Randi said...

My MIL and FIL are big time hoarders. I am fearful of the day we have to go through their house when they die or whatever. With MIL it's knick-knacks, every available surface is covered in little ceramic angels or candles or other junk. FIL just keeps anything random. Not to totally blame it on them or anything, but their son, my hubby, has OCD and one of his biggest problems is not being able to throw anything away (if your hoarding gets too serious maybe you have OCD too? Apparently everyone has it to some degree...) He cannot throw away receipts, old magazines, old catalogues, sometimes on bad days even empty chip bags. Now he probably would have had OCD even if his parents didn't hoard, but maybe hoarding wouldn't have been the way it manifested itself. Not to give advice or whatever, but just realize the experience you're giving your children is teaching them that every single card and scrap of paper is important.

Something I try and remember when it's purging time (and relates the differences between my MIL and mother). when planning my wedding my MIL told me to make sure to get a good photographer since after the day is over, the pictures are all you have left. My mother's response was, "huh, I left with a husband."

Randi said...

why do I always leave such stinkin' long comments here! you pick good topics (or at least ones I can relate to)

Andrea said...

mr&mrs f. you both crack me up. I have to say my biggest hoarding issue is baby stuff I keep anything and everything for baby people give us stuff all the time and I dont know how to say know for example we have a radio flyer spring horse that is huge and we absolutely have no room for it I literally move it around the living room a few times a day to get things done. What am i to do, hubby says give it away but who wants this monstourous thing i thonk thats why it was given to us in the first place. Uggh dam horse he needs to go.

Mr Furious said...

Okay, okay.

Firstly, I'm NOT trying to imply Mrs F is the hoarder and my hands are clean—absolutely not the case.

We are both infected...In fact, we are carriers, because we have infected Kid as well. (I actually have hope that Baby is immune. She is already compelled to throw everything in the Diaper Champ.)

I have two additional afflictions that continue to cripple me even if I manage to fight off the hoarding—my indecisiveness and poor follow-through.

Throw procrastination in there too.

I can actually reach a "throw it all out and let God sort it out" threshold rather quickly, but each of us is reluctant to let the other make decisions on that.

What it really takes is both of us working together on the process, yet NOT simultaneously. For two main reasons: 1) because one of us has to divert the kids. 2) Mrs F will murder me and dispose of the body in the rented dumpster.

We need a turn-taking technique where I purge my own shit with extreme prejudice, and then have a staging area to place other things so Mrs F can veto/approve a purge, and vice versa...

Could that work?

Mrs. Furious said...

Randi,
"when planning my wedding my MIL told me to make sure to get a good photographer since after the day is over, the pictures are all you have left. My mother's response was, "huh, I left with a husband.""
that is really good!

Yes on the kid front. She already is like this... I seriously think there is a genetic component. She practically came out of the womb saying "that's special to me!". She's got a "special drawer" and if it fits in there that is her domain. Other stuff I try and throw out once she hasn't asked for it in a while. But absolutely... just like healthy living... what your parents do/don't do affects how you live later in life. I was not taught to pick up or purge and it makes it much harder for me now.

Andrea said...

I cant spell today Im blaming it on pregnancy.

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F,
I was just talking in therapy about a plan that could work.
You watch the kids and I do ALL the purging organizing of the basement. I am much more time efficient and naturally decisive and a better organizer. In return you have to maintain the system. I get things to maintenance mode and then you maintain them.
Obviously you have desk shit and whatnot that you will have to purge yourself but I think the reverse of your proposal is actually better.

Mrs. Furious said...

andrea,
"we have a radio flyer spring horse that is huge and we absolutely have no room for it"
We'll take it!

just kidding... no, seriously, that is what I'm like and why we have so much crap!

katieo said...

two random unrelated thoughts:

1) I'm very much a purger but give me a box of my grandmothers linens and flatware and yeah, I'll be holding onto that til I die. It makes me think of peter walsh (I think Nate does it do) when he talks about honoring the stuff that means a lot to you. (Was it in that Oprah where their baby had died and the ashes were on a cluttered shelf with other knickknacks?) Anyway, I love that concept of taking the stuff that has that emotional pull and "honoring" it. I don't always know how as we are severely space-constrained too, but as we get older and have a bigger box of the really meaningful stuff, I do want to figure something out. Even if it's just a fancier box.

2) I can't remember the second thing. I'll come back when I do.

SaraDru said...

This post could not have happened at a better point in my life, and I think my insight will be important. My mother is a hoarder, her mother was a hoarder. My g-ma died three years ago. My mother has just been diagnosed with demenia. My sister and I are currently moving my parents into an apartment. We now not only have my mother's hoarding "stuff" to deal with, but my grandmothers that my mother wouldn't get rid of. Three storage units, a two car garage, and a big house full of "stuff". they both fell into the shopping catagory of hoarders. They wouldn't buy just one toaster, they'd buy three, because if it was good for them, it was good enough to give as a gift. The thing is, the gifts were never sent. So basically, I guess what I want to say, is please think about how your kids will feel about the "things" your saving. Will they know their importance? I mean, I know an heirloom from a bargin bin sale item. It's the sale item(s) that are causing me the panic and stress. It's so overwhelming and I know it's a mental illness, I just wish it were something my mom (and my dad didn't help matters) would have worked on before it became the problem of her children. I want to spend this time with my mother, not cleaning her illness of the floor for weeks on end. Sorry for the rant...I love your website!

Mrs. Furious said...

Katieo,
yes it was Peter Walsh and yes he does talk about that.
As for fancier box... that is exactly what I did with our wedding stuff. Mr F got me a beautiful blue box from Red Envelope and I was able to go through all the saved mementos and invitations, etc and store everything in there (my tiara, an invitation for each girl to have, etc) and then I was free to throw everything else away.
If I had the time and the right way to store something I'd be HAPPY to do that and feel that I made smart, quality, decisions and then I could move on. My big problem now is I just hold onto stuff until I have the time (never) to weed through it and make a good choice.

Mrs. Furious said...

Sarsdru,
thanks for commenting :)

Did you see the Oprah? That sounds exactly like the woman they were helping (although as bad as your situation is this woman was WORSE). The gifts bought but not given... exactly like this woman.

Thankfully I don't have the shopping/bargin issue... or good Lord we would be in over our heads (literally).

I'm sorry you are going through such a hard time.

Mr Furious said...

I think the reverse of your proposal is actually better.

I wasn't suggesting either of us be lead purger, that we take turns and leave questionable things to one side for the other...

The fact that you want to "take over" scares the living shit out of the hoarder in me.

I don't know if I can do it. Is there medicine for this?

Mr Furious said...

Here's how crazy I am...

I would welcome a flooded basement or a fire. But the thought of somebody else going through my shit and throwing it away is something I can't handle.

hold me.

Preppy Mama said...

I know partly what you are talking about. I never was a hoarder until I got married. I think the saving and not wasting thing is my problem. Or finding something at a great bargain price and saving it for when I need it. Now my once bare closet shelves are pretty much packed to the gills! I have taken baby steps to throwing things out because my husband tortures me everytime he can't find something. My hardest things to let go of are the baby clothing and toys. I don't know when I am going to get pregnant again and I refuse to let this stuff go.
I too save every card given to me. I have boxes full and I am starting to let go little by little but things like that are so sentimental to me. You're not alone!!

Julie said...

Mr F, you are killing me here...so damn funny. Sadly, I know you are not trying to be funny:) Just kidding.

Yup, I save all the gift bags and stuff that may be "useful" or needed at some point. I have taken steps to just throw out some of this stuff (not the gift bags) and you know what, I have not needed the shit yet.

I also will put stuff in a bag and put it under my bed or somewhere until I either throw it out our donate it.

My husband on the other hand would throw out the dishes each night rather than wash them. He has no attachment to anything. I actually save cards for him (unbenownst to him). But actually he doesn't throw anything out either really. He just leaves the old receipts around or empty boxes or whatever...until I make him go through the stuff (that's putting it kindly...raving annoyed bitch session occurs first until he can't take it and actually does something with his crap.)

He also jokingly gave me a hard time when he saw me sneak throw out some piece of art or preschool project so now I have to save everything out of guilt. Now that Jack is in 2nd grade and will have word search work sheets or things on which he just circles the answer for pete's sake, I will throw those out(but I never ever let anyone see me do it...I hide it in the trash.) Yup, kid art and projects are the bane of hoarding existence. And yes, I do have a system, but I have outgrown it.)

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F,
Oh God.... "hold me".... so damn funny!

Seriously folks the background story is that we were on the phone and I had to say "your resistance is a sign of your hoarding!".

P.O.M. said...

I reuse gift bags and ribbons all the time. One of my favorite times at Christmas is going around and steeling everyone's tossed-aside ribbons. Then I take them home, roll them pretty and store them in a fancy basket.

(See, I am an 90 yr old woman stuck in this sex kitten body). HA kidding.

Mrs. Furious said...

Preppy Mama,
" My hardest things to let go of are the baby clothing and toys."
This is a hard one. And if you are going to have another I think it is worth it to hold on to it. We had sold a ton of stuff about a month before I got pregnant with Baby and it killed me to have to buy that stuff again! But it takes up so much space!!



Julie,
Kid art. I pretty much save it all. I really don't want to make the decision about what is "good" or not. I tape poster board together into a giant file and fill it up then can (in theory) tape it closed and write the year(s) on the outside. When she moves out she can take her art files with her and do with them what she wants. 5 years down... 13 to go. 15 giant files of art ... perfectly reasonable and sane (right?!?!?!.... right?!?!)... yes I realize it is crazy but I say in a contained organized way that is borderline acceptable.

Mrs. Furious said...

P.O.M.,
LOL.... I'm the exact same way.
And I often think of myself as a 90 year old woman... that is so funny!

lucinda said...

Funny thing is, as soon as I saw the post about the giant hobby horse I thought to myself, "Kid would love that. You should take it." At least you don't hoard giant pieces of furniture. I remember purging your room once only to have you ask me where the piece of purple paper that you were saving was. I felt so guilty!

Amy said...

I just deleted a really,really long response to this post. Suffice to say, My MIL has a huge hoarding problem; three-fires-in-her-home-and-business-huge. It is emotionally draining to her and everyone around her. I recorded those Peter Walsh episodes for my husband. I like when he tells people that memories are kept inside of you, not inside of things. I think that I tell this to my husband once a month as I try to pry a piece of junk out of his white-knuckled hands.

I am the anti-keeper. My mom used to 'rescue' things from the trash in my room, and I'd be forced to keep old cards, notebooks, and knickknacks. The one thing that I would keep was books. I had always imagined a library filled with all of the books I'd loved and read. A few years ago I realized that these great books were more of a burden; I know that I'd read them, my kids could get them at the library, and I wouldn't have to dust them anymore. So I got rid of my beloved books. Sold most of them at a yard sale when we left our house in Ann Arbor. It was so freeing, and great to see them go to smart people who'd hopefully appreciate them. I'm still giving away the hardcover books, but I'm down to a bookcase-full instead of a wall full of books.

Mrs. Furious said...

Mom,
Don't worry I don't remember the purple paper incident.



Amy,
From Ann Arbor?!?... sorry I can't get past that part :)

Deb said...

Hmm... I'm not sure I consider that hoarding. Although the quantities might suggest otherwise. But I save things like the giant red box that came from Red Envelope, because it really WILL be perfect for another gift someday. I do not save the ribbon that came with it. I have an organized little area for gift bags and boxes in the basement. Do I remember they're there when it comes time to wrap something? Never. So does that make me a hoarder? I like to think it's practical, but maybe you're right... maybe it's hoarding.

I'm saving ALL of The Ambassador's clothes, and they're organized by size in pretty cloth boxes, JUST IN CASE. Even though I'm not sure I want another kid. How long am I going to hold onto those? Until I hit menopause and I'm absolutely CERTAIN another kid is not in my future?

Okay, maybe I'm a hoarder, too. But I'm a really organized hoarder. LOL... Small comforts, right?

Now I've got some processing to do.

What do those teak saucers look like? I might need them. (For what, I have no idea, but it sounds like something I'd hate to see go to Goodwill.) Any teacups and saucers? I collect those.

Shoot...

Hi, my name is Debbie, and I'm a hoarder.

Deb said...

I second the "hold me" request.

Crap. I am processing quickly, and I do hoard.

I've now said "hoard" so many times in the last five minutes that it has lost all meaning to me.

Are you okay with me doing my own therapy aloud in your comment section?

Deb said...

I'll stop now. Stop commenting, I mean.

You have rocked my world, Mrs. F.

Mrs. Furious said...

Deb,
LOL... the further I was reading I was like "oh you're a hoarder".

I think the gift bags that you don't remember you have is classic hoarding. Or at least my brand.

Do I have teacups and saucers?!?! What do you think? You would love my china hutch. I even a few "breakfast in bed sets". China is my thing.

Now a lot of the misc stuff from my grandmother were things she picked up on her world travels. Teak saucers being one of those things... marble (and other kinds of rock/stone/etched) eggs being another. Nothing is actual junk.... but I can't display it all with meaning either. I really wish I hadn't taken it all but it was one of those "if you take this box of weird stuff you get a silver Tiffany bowl to go with it" arrangements. And I'm not about to walk away from that kind of stuff. And I do actually use the silver pieces all the time (okay 2 times a year).

Baby clothes... I had to get rid of some of it to actually realize I wanted another. It was part of my process as bizarre as that is.

Mrs. Furious said...

Deb,
Process away. I've got several hours before I rest...

Julie said...

Deb, you totally crack me up:)

Ok, Mrs F, what is a teak saucer?

Deb said...

We obviously need photos of the teak saucers.

My teacups and saucers do not match. They're a collection my father started for my grandmother when he was in the Air Force and traveling the globe. The beauty of the collection? It is housed at my mother's house, and I keep forgetting to add to it when I travel. See? I'm not a hoarder?



(I sooooo am a hoarder.)

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie,
I don't know!! 12 saucers made out of teak. no cups. I have no idea what they are for.

Mrs. Furious said...

okay there are only 6... I just unwrapped them. I'll try and put a picture up in the sidebar.

Mr Furious said...

The haul from Mrs F's Nana is such a crazy collection of disparate stuff...150-year-old linens (when it was your grandmother's grandmother's and your grandmother is 95 = ANTIQUE) that are either worth a fortune and really cool, or will disintegrate into dust if touched...but to get those you also have to take a crazy box of weird paper Simplicity™ patterns...

We lived in NYC at the time this stuff was passed down to Mrs F, and we took day trips down to PA to stuff her Jetta to the headliner with stuff. We had to put this stuff in a storage unit, because it would never fit in our apartment!

One thing I DO remember is insisting on taking a circa 1950s box of Saran Wrap. I was enchanted by the crazy old-school design.

What? I'm a designer!

Mrs F thought I was nuts.

She was right.

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F,
LOL... I've been thinking about the Saran Wrap but wasn't going to out you!



Okay teak saucer photo is up and to the left of this post. Now that I see them.... I kind of love them and can envision keeping my rings in them on a bedside table. And that is precisely why I have a hoarding issue. Don't see it... don't need it. See it... can't get rid of it.

Julie said...

I totally get the 1950's saran wrap...that is really cool. I don't know what I would actually do with it though.

Claire said...

I just want to say that scanning through these comments and reading your blog really made me feel like I was part of a community - I confess I am a hoarder/collector - {I prefer collector-you may smile if you want to)- that's all I'm going to say and thank you for making me feel so very not alone!

Mrs. Furious said...

Claire,
My mother has enough "collections" to house a separate house (and yet she does not consider herself a hoarder) ... literally... she has small rental house in town for visiting us and it is fully furnished & decorated with all her stuff that didn't fit in the house she now shares with her husband.
I'm going to start calling myself a collector too. ;)

Julie said...

Yeah, I like that...I am a collector of fine empty boxes of all shapes and sizes.

Heather said...

My stepdad is borderline crazy horder, with lately it leaning towards the filthy disgusting hording. I know that as my parents get older, some type of intervention is needed, but my stepdad has said for years that if my mom ever tried to get Clean Sweep to come in, or any variety thereof, he would ask for a divorce instantly. He's that attached to his things and that unwilling to process the emotions attached to them. It's terrifying. I've seen Pete exhibit similar behaviors around his design stuff, where he has to keep every single piece of paper he ever drew on, and it really scares me. Even the talk of moving his stuff from hard-bound binders to a file cabinet stresses him out.

Mr F, you funny!

lucinda said...

It's not hoarding if it's furniture. It's storing antiques that nobody wants.

lucinda said...

I consider myself a foster owner not a hoarder because if you want to give any of it a good home, it's yours. I swear.

Mrs. Furious said...

Mom,
Have you ever thought of opening an antiques store and being a dealer? That would be fun I'd work it while you travel.



Heather,
most of Mr F's hoarding he legitimizes with the design excuse... I feel for you ;)

E. Broderick Photography said...

Ooh! I love those teak saucers. Very pretty.

michelline said...

As I was reading this, I found myself nodding along, saying "yep, that's us". I too come from a long line of hoarders (both maternal and paternal) and it's extremely difficult to make yourself get rid of memories.
I have boxes and boxes of pictures. But luckily, we embraced the digital age of photography early on (our first camera was in January of 2000) so the bulk of my pictures are actually digital. Thank goodness! I've put all my paper pictures in gallon ziploc bags sorted by years (a different bag for each year) and I'm in the process of scanning them. It's definitely a labor of love and it takes so long because each picture represents a memory - so each scan is a trip down memory lane. It doesn't help that Chris and I are the same, LOL.

Mrs. Furious said...

michelline,
oh the digital pictures.... we have 8000 from the last year alone!

Some things are absolutely worth saving and passing on, if not just for a sense of tradition and heritage.

I have no plans to toss any photos either and I have up through 2003 totally organized. Then I have up until 2006 in photo boxes (that includes all film and digital prints). 2007 -8 are all on the computers.

Kid Art said...

I'm behind the conversation, sorry, but had to comment because I read this right after walking upstairs with a handful of cards my 7 year old received for his birthday...and wondering what in the heck to do with them. Save for him to decide later? Purge? ??

I come from a family who saves everything. My husband from a family who saves nearly nothing. In fact, his stepmother THREW AWAY all his childhood Star Wars toys without even checking first (while he was in college). Coming from two extremes it's a challenge to find the right balance... saving what is meaningful but not so much that we can't enjoy what we have.

And then I end up feeling guilty for spending mental energy on this when most of the world's population lives on less than a dollar a day... and would be thrilled to have these dilemmas.

But you can all see what I have decided to do about the massive influx of Kid Art! : ) Blog it and toss (most of it at least)!!

Emily

Mrs. Furious said...

Emily,
Mr F & I just finished a big talk about how we are going to attack the basement. And funnily enough I just finished *filing* Kid's art. I can't make a decision about it... I just sealed it all up in giant poster board files and she can deal with it. Done. With Baby I'm hoping to do a better job of being selective but I can't waste time weeding through Kid's now.
Cards? hard one.
I also save every little letter my grandmother sends me. Every single one...because I was thinking of compiling them into a book. (as if that will ever happen!).

I'm doing a purging post tomorrow.

Kid Art said...

ooh a purging post will be fun

I saved my grandmother's letters too and I did for a long time. I am a paper stuff saver (hoarder?)...

But I'm glad I did because they honestly don't take up much room (I have a couple of very small shoebox size boxes of letters/cards - from lots of people, not just her), and because she now has very bad arthritis and cannot write anything. So I'm glad I have them. But I guess a box in the storage room isn't exactly a place of honor... :)

The other thing I think about when it comes to written correspondence is, I think we are the last generation to have engaged in it during at least part of our lives. Writing letters was a big deal for me during Jr High (we had moved, so I wrote back and forth to friends and cousins) and during college as well. Obviously email has subsumed that type of back and forth writing virtually entirely...

Anyway good luck with the basement project!!

Mrs. Furious said...

Emily,
Hey great point about the letter writing... I'm feeling much better about my paper hoarding!

I left you a comment on your blog.

Kid Art said...

Aw thanks Mrs. F! I want to see a picture sometime! :)

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