Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Papa Smurf and Hoarding

For the past few days, I have been cleaning out and rearranging kitchen cupboards.  It's kind of fun.  And I look forward to trying out the new set-up.  It's entirely possible I will be shuffling it all back to the way it was but for now, I'm hopeful.

As I go through kitchen items, it becomes obvious that we have too many of some items.  So, off to Goodwill they will go.  When I look at some, I'm not sure that Goodwill will want them even though we were using them until last week.  I use things for a long time because I don't like to waste things.  I don't want to send items to Goodwill that they can't use and which will require disposal.  It can be a tough call.

I also have a bit of a tug-of-war about certain items.  There can be the sentimentality factor and a strange reluctance to get rid of something that we've had a long time.  I have watched shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding:  Buried Alive lately though.  What I've seen and heard on those shows makes it easier to get rid of some items.  They help to alleviate guilt when that is a factor in keeping something.  After all, according to those shows, holding on to things we don't need is a terrible thing to do.

While those shows do make me consider some habits, I've learned it's important not to take the concept of purging one's items too far.  I am so glad that with one of my older items, I hadn't done that.

Recently, I went to see The Smurfs Movie.  I really enjoyed it and was envious of the Smurfs' happy lifestyle in their community.  And I had not known that Smurfs are three apples tall.  You never know when you'll need that information.  Anyways, watching the movie, I started to wonder if I still had the Papa Smurf stuffed animal that I won in an amusement park in the 80's.  I had been excited to win him on my own; none of my boyfriends in the pointless relationships that dominated my teen years had to do it for me and that meant something to me.

I knew that I had kept Papa Smurf a long time.  Well, I don't want to say a long time because that makes me sound old but, yes, it was a long time.  I also knew that I have been clearing out stuff lately.  I feared for the little blue guy.

When I got home, I went to the room where I thought he might be.  I felt really bad as I looked and didn't see him.  I knew then that we can go too far in ridding ourselves of our belongings.  I knew then that I had to put these thoughts in writing.

Happily, I found Papa Smurf.  I was so relieved.  It doesn't affect my day-to-day life that much to have him around but he is a piece of my past.  After enjoying the movie, it's even nicer to have a Smurf.  Of course we can't keep everything but we can keep some special things.

I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with the fact that hoarding shows are on tv.  I have watched them, though, and I might do so again.  They seem exploitative and some, maybe most, of the people profiled seem to be really troubled.  It must be a horrible invasion of their privacy to have family and/or friends, cleaning people and a production crew enter their home.  I hope I have the resolve to do better things with my time than watch more episodes.

These shows can also make viewers, or me anyways, fear that if we don't throw things out, our homes will look like the ones shown.  I have been made aware of some bad tendencies I have.  But I am not a hoarder.  Those people are very troubled.  We don't have to throw out all our belongings.  There's a big space between keeping a few too many things and not being able to eat in one's kitchen and normalizing bug and rodent infestations.

I believe it's good and healthy to keep something like my Papa Smurf.  And he is only three apples tall.


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