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A titch of hoarder's blood

Published August 16. 2014 09:00AM

Just so you know, I am not a hoarder. Well, I am not a hoarder if you compare me to someone featured on the TV show "Hoarders." Or like someone Frank and Mike might encounter on one of their picks on "American Pickers" when they think they've found a honey hole.

The definition of "hoard" is "to amass and hide or store things."

Well, I think we're all a little guilty of that. So maybe I'm a titch of a hoarder.

I have a couple of drawers that might qualify for "hoarding."

My bedroom chest of drawers is where useless items go. Kind of like the Island of Misfits. Items I just couldn't seem to part with but no longer use. Because you know the minute I throw something away I'll look for it someday. (OK. That might be the mantra of every hoarder known to man. But it is true.)

It's a drawer I dread opening because it's filled with so much stuff it's almost impossible to find anything I'm looking for. But it's all stuff that's cool. I end up getting sidetracked because I have to "oooh" and "aaah" at all the timeless treasures and memories the stuff invokes.

Take my old eyeglasses. There must be seven pairs in there. Yes, of course it's smart to keep the last pair in case I break the ones I'm wearing. Yes, I should give them to the Lions who distribute them to people who can't afford glasses. But then I find the pair I blinged out with beads and sequins for a costume for a skit. Ahhh. Good times.

My glasses could someday serve as historical artifacts. The house might be buried, and centuries later could be dug up and anthropologists will be able to discern what the timeline was for its inhabitants simply based on my glasses. But they might be seen scratching their heads when they find my 1960s cat's-eye glasses next to the blinged out pair and wonder if its owner had fallen into ill-repute to go from a nerd to a hooker.

The drawer also holds a few wallets. One or two are like new, two came with Chinese auction wins (but I don't like them and I now have to wonder why I ever put a ticket in the baskets that had them in it), and one is old and scruffy. I'm clueless why I thought I needed to save the old and scruffy one, but far be it for me to throw it away now. Maybe someday I'll remember why I kept it.

I found sales slips from four Christmases ago. I guess it's safe to say they decided to keep those gifts. And if I haven't returned those items by now. ... Maybe I can chuck those out.

Shoulder pads. How long ago were they popular? The '80s? I still have two of them. Hey. I'll be ready if Krystle or Alexis Carrington from Dynasty calls and needs one. Or someday I could become really flat-chested and need to stuff my bra. OK. Maybe not. But you know what I mean.

I have a kitchen drawer that holds our stash of batteries. New and old. Why do we keep old batteries? Every time Harry needs one, he does that battery test where you drop a battery, and if it bounces and falls over, it's no longer good. If it doesn't bounce and stands up, it's good. I can be in another room and when I hear the sound of something being dropped several times on the kitchen countertop, I know he's testing batteries. Here's a thought I shared with him: Don't keep putting the bad ones back in the drawer. He counters with, there may still be enough juice in them in case of an emergency. Yup. That's a comforting thought. The next time I hear him doing the battery dance, I'll present this little scenario. I can see it now. It's an emergency and I run for a battery but first I have to drop it to determine if it's got a lot of juice or just a little juice, then pray it's enough juice to keep his battery-operated life support system going long enough for the ambulance to get there.

Mixed in with the batteries are enough bread twist ties that I could probably weave them all together and make a quilt. Hmmm. I kind of like that idea.

I can't bear to throw my calendars away because they have pictures on them that I'd like to paint someday.

I have a dish that has a stash of keys in it but we don't have a clue what they unlock. And you know the minute I throw them away I'll come across an old piece of luggage that is locked and there's something inside, which could be the last will and testament of a long-forgotten, long-dead great-uncle twice removed. Well, it could happen. I get emails all the time about unclaimed property.

Another thing I can't throw away are gift boxes. I have three shelves and the top of the refrigerator in the basement stacked high with them. I am prepared to be able to wrap up any gift of any size. If I need to wrap a chain saw, I've got the box for it.

Here is a line from the late and great Erma Bombeck, my idol, that lets you know if you should save something or not: "If it makes you happy when you see it again, put it in the kitchen drawer."

She was so wise. And my kind of girl. I'm thinking she may have had just a titch of the hoarder in her.

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