Today I see that #DeepThoughtsFromHoarders is trending on Twitter. No way can I say how I feel in 240 characters. I guess that makes me a word hoarder, too. So, I am taking that as the topic for today’s blog.
What is your reaction when you hear those words?
For most people it is negative. Likely it is ‘crazy.’
@HomeCrazzyHome we put two Zs in that word.
And yes, I have or do proudly own those others words, too. I am a prepper – sans the guns. And I have been accused of being a hoarder.
In fact, following @PanKwake’s diagnosis of autism, the only support we were offered by our local council was speech therapy and a few sessions with their counselors. But that had to be on a specific topic. Under pressure from my older offspring, I asked for and received counseling to address @PanKwake’s hoarding.
When she was younger, @PanKwake ‘needed’ a new toy every time we left the house, and sometimes when we did not. When I say ‘new’ that means new to her at least, many of her things came from charity shops.
Or ‘found’ items. You see that bike tire. It was stuck in a tree at our local park. @PanKwake just had to have it. She melted down and cried so hard that one of her older park buddies climbed the tree just to get it down for her.
At the time, we lived in a dinky two-bedroom flat in central London. So, that quickly piled up. To be clear, most of her ‘things’ were bought before Alan. On a budget that was primarily DLA, carer’s allowance, and child support. How? I did without. I used every pence for my child. And I don’t regret it.
In those three-sessions with the ‘experts,’ do you know the most important thing I learned?
To @PanKwake, her ‘things’ were more reliable than people.
This was an autistic child who had been traumatized by bullying in schools, whose parents were separated, who endured hours upon hours of ‘experts’ treating her like a lab rat to ‘diagnose’ her neurodivergence. She had one good friend and a couple of other partial friends. And though we tried very hard, London is no place to raise a child, certainly NOT an autistic one.
But going back to that lesson yesterday, that revelation, that understanding, allowed me to accept, unconditionally love, and respect my child’s needs. And those things were needs. At least then.
When we moved from London and began our new life with Alan, things changed. In a loving and secure home, with friends, and time, @PanKwake no longer ‘needed’ things. Plus in a bigger space, it was not such a hoard.
She began to realize too how much she actually had in relation to her friends – and how unfair that was. And she began to be more selective, at times even apologetic, for her requests.
I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming. One facet of that has been letting go of those things. Before all this began, one of the rooms that we managed to get redecorated was her playroom. When we moved into @HomeCrazzyHome, it was nowhere near as bad as our flat in London, it was still pretty packed.
When it was time to decorate, we moved all her toys into different areas of the house. Once it was finished, including this fabulous mural from our talented artist friend, Judith Sovin, we began to sort her things. Her tastes have changed so much in these brief three years. She has gone from a little girl to a young woman.
I feared that those hoarding tendencies would mean she could not throw or give away stuff. Yes, it was so bad that we had to keep broken things. Not so, she is exceedingly practical about the whole thing. And made some really good decisions about what was worth keeping and what we give away.
In fact, she might be better at that right now than I am.
Yes, I have my own hoarding tendencies. Though, we have a saying in our @HomeCrazzyHome.
The difference between a hoarder and a collector is organization.
Mind you, I don’t always abide by that rule either. Too often I collect at such a rapid pace that it turns into a hoard.
Now, certain things such as books and fabric can never be a hoard. In fact, Alan’s brother has a collection of over 3,000 books stacked to the ceiling in his bedroom and overflowing into their home. Nothing wrong with that. My book collection is a paltry few hundred. And we don’t know the extent of Alan’s until we put them back into the redecorated formal room – if that day ever comes.
But it is other things that sometimes becomes an issue between Alan and I. Things that most people just throw away without thinking. Things like:
Glass jars – all those pasta sauce, mayonnaise, jam, pickle, Nutella, coffee, and various other things. He and I have often disagreed (we don’t fight) on how much is enough to have. He almost always won. Yet, during this crisis when I needed them to store semi-perishables like rice, sugar, and beans, I ran low. I won’t give in so easily in the future.
Plastic containers – soda bottles, margarine and ice cream tubs, yogurt and sour cream pots, and certain fruit ones as well, even the huge black bags that my compost comes in can all be repurposed. Planters, watering jugs, and a dozen other uses in the garden and around your home.
Cardboard – Amazon boxes, of which we most definitely have a collection, loo roll tubs, and printer paper all make this list. Actually, we have begun a cardboard composting pile in one of the wet sections of our basement just for this purpose. I am thinking of growing mushroom down there eventually. Admittedly, my success rate with loo roll planters has not been stellar but I am going to give it another try.
Bubble wrap – Of which we also get quite a bit from Amazon. But this makes excellent insulation for tender plants to protect from frost.
Lent – Yes, I said lent as in dryer lent. I have just begun my fourth tightly packed jar of it. But don’t laugh, look at all the things you can do with lent.
Laugh or be disgusted with me all you want. I frankly don’t care. Any more than I cared when that woman made her rude comment about my overly full trolley of groceries being ‘ridiculous.’ As I screamed at her that day, we are stuck in TOTAL self-isolation due to Alan’s asthma.
And honestly, I wish I had done more.
I bought only slightly more that day than I would have normally had delivered to our @HomeCrazzyHome. But I could not get a delivery slot then. And I have not been able to since. Tesco has made NO arrangements for those on the 12-week list. And even if or when they do, we probably won’t be included since the accounts are in my name and not Alan’s. Bottom line – we are screwed.
Other than a few basic perishables like milk, cheese, butter, bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables that friends and neighbors bring, I may not be able to replenish our stocks. Unless of course, I am willing to put Alan’s life at risk.
I was almost prepared for that 12-weeks, maybe a tiny bit more. But a top scientific advisor for the EU has hinted that the elderly and those on the high-risk list may actually be facing a year to eighteen months of self-isolation. I am NOT that prepped. Thus the effort I put into my garden.
The UK has been in lockdown for almost a month.
The good news is that the curve is flattening.
The bad news is – that the supply chain we were told would right itself in a couple of weeks has not.
The horrifying news – is that neither the government or businesses such as Tesco where we loyally bought our food for years have made any reasonable arrangements for people like us.
So to that rude lady who called me ‘ridiculous’ and the rest of you who are thinking it, let me say once more –
That is the bottom line #DeepThoughtsFromHoarders – or at least this one.
Right now, with the alarming news about the world’s economies,
We all need to become more preppers and hoarders.
And it is my deepest hope that this blog will encourage some of you to do just that.
Until tomorrow, may the Goddess bless you and yours with an over-abundance,
From our @HomeCrazzyHome to yours