Finally Accepting that I Might be a Hoarder

By Casey Wood

“Okay, why are we keeping this empty box?” asked my wife as we were packing our things. 

We had just bought our first home, and this was our first time packing up all our belongings together. When we married, I had been done with school and living on my own in an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment for about a year and had acquired enough stuff to fill said apartment until it was bursting at the seams. 

My wife, however, was a sophomore in college and could fit pretty much all of her worldly possessions in three and a half boxes. Not a lot of adjustment was required to combine our households, and so, apart from trading my video game, movie, and comic book ‘bachelor pad’ décor for more tasteful, ‘family’ décor and photos, nothing was really packed, unpacked, or sorted through.

“Well, that’s a good box.” I said, grabbing the box from her.

“A good box?  What does that even mean?”

“It means that it’s sturdy, looks nice, and we’re not throwing it away. Besides, that’s our Instant Pot box!” 

“Yes…And our Instant Pot has not been in that box since our wedding.”

“That’s because we haven’t moved since our wedding. But now is the perfect time to pack our Instant Pot into it!”

“You’re a hoarder.”

“No, I’m not!”

I am.  Yet, only recently, after taking a look at our belongings as we reorganized our garage, was my wife able to convince me that I am, in fact, a hoarder.

As a small child, my mother and I visited my great aunt. In passing, she mentioned that she had finally replaced her old hairdryer. I asked her if I could have the old one and, for some reason, my great aunt agreed, and my mother let me take it home. I don’t know what need a young boy has for a hair dryer, but I do remember storing it in my bedroom.

As I was a teenager, I was known for carrying an inordinate number of things in my pockets. On any given day I carried (at a minimum) two pens, two mechanical pencils, spare lead, spare erasers, lip balm, mints, gum, a small bottle of White-Out, a miniature stapler, and a keychain (with no keys, because I didn’t have a car or house key yet) in my right pocket, a full-sized TI-86 graphing calculator loaded with video games in my left pocket, a huge wallet filled with every photo I’d ever been given, but almost no money, in my back right pocket, and any spare change or other items I wanted to carry in my back left pocket.

To this day, I have every birthday card, letter, kind note, or Valentine’s Day card (yes, even the mandatory ones from elementary school) I have ever received sitting in a box in my garage. I have, sitting next to it, four huge boxes full of DVD cases (the DVDs themselves were moved into a large disc wallet in my living room years ago).

“Fine, we’ll keep that box. But surely, we can throw this junk away,” said my wife, pointing to a small pile of old, unidentifiable cables and a rubber band.

“No!  Those cables are still useful!” I exclaimed.

“Fine…” She sighed, “then I’ll just throw this rubber band away.” “No!”  I shouted, snatching the rubber band and stretching it around my wrist, “That’s a good rubber band!” (Wood is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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