Hoarding: One Woman’s Manifesto

How many of you watched “Hoarders” on A&E? Be honest! I bet most of you. I have. It’s like looking at a smooshed kitten on the side of the road—you can’t help stare at the horror even though you’d rather stab your eyes with toothpicks to keep from seeing it.

Thankfully the docuseries ended in 2013 so we’ve all been spared further heebie jeebies. Until the next equally disgusting reality show comes along. “Dating Naked” on VH1 looks promising. (Is “reality show looks promising” an oxymoron? Are you a moron for watching it? That’s on your conscience…mine is clear.)

Last year my husband lost his corporate drone job and we decided to downsize so we could lead a more frugal and “real” life—and so we could afford the occasional Americano from Zanzibar’s. We went from a 2,300 square-foot home to a 1,400 square-foot apartment. If you want to see an example of what the opposite of our “cottages” look like, take a read through Sharon Hughson’s recent blog post where she let her readers into the world of Portland’s Street of Dreams.

We had to get rid of a lot of stuff, including entire rooms and an entire floor (like a library, fourth bedroom and basement) most of which we’ve realized a year later we really didn’t need.

The point is, I do not hoard. I can get rid of useless, unnecessary crap with the best of them. With the exception of my one vice. My one obsession.

The reading list on my Safari browser.

It is enormous.

It is ridiculous.

It is out of control.

And I blame you, you Internet bastard.

Like most people, I have a bunch of blogs I read, authors I follow, websites I like, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Unfortunately, I follow, friend or circle some kickass, generous people who share good shit.

On any given day, I can easily add ten to fifteen tidbits of I-can’t-live-without-you knowledge to my reading list. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider I’ve been active online only since late February, that’s about…

180 days X 10 items added per day = who the hell am I kidding

I know this isn’t any huge revelation, in and of itself—I’m a writer and writers like to read. We all have gazillions of books in our TBR (to be read) piles.

But my obsession goes beyond my physical TBR pile and Safari reading list.

It’s Safari bookmarks too.

I have an odd system for which pieces of info I put where:

  1. Reading list items are entertaining, quick hits that I’ll eventually delete once I’ve read them. Kind of like articles in People magazine, but much higher quality, of course.
  2. Bookmarks are more like reference material in the Smithsonian or Chicago Public Library (which was named the nation’s best urban public library system in a recent German university study): tomes that will enrich my life and that I’ll go back to time and again.

But then somewhere along the way it got all mixed up and I just started shoving links any old place that sounded good at the moment.

Why, if it’s so easy for me to let go of tangible objects, do I feel compelled to keep all these digital tchotchkes?

Because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on a critical piece of information.

I have this feeling that if I just read one more blog post or website article about what it takes to be a better blogger, author, wife, mother, etc. then I’ll unlock the magical key to perfection and easy street.

But what I’m finding is I rarely go back to read what I’ve saved and, most importantly, put it to use.

I’m like a squirrel collecting nuts in the fall.

At least those little bastards go back to their stashes and actually use them.

squirrel with nut

This guy knows a good thing when he finds it.
Photo Credit: Pieter v Marion via Compfight cc

All this information hoarding is making me anxious—like that squirrel would be if he knew he had to cross six lanes of traffic to get his booty home.

It also makes me feel like a failure. I have all these digital delicacies just waiting to be scarfed up and then purged into a suitable receptacle (otherwise known as my brain) and I’m not doing jack with them. And you know what they say: A brain is a horrible thing to waste. Unless you’re eating it. Not like Hannibal Lecter. More like the French.

My one consolation is that at least my hoarding doesn’t involve turning my house into a giant litter box or making it smell like Uncle Ted died in his BarcaLounger thirty years ago and nobody took him out.

So today I’m making the case that the Internet must stop creating content.

Just stop it.

You’re like a frickin rabbit. Or a trillion of them.

There is already so much that even if the average person read a gazillion blog posts, articles, etc. per day for her entire life, she’d never get through it all. That’s a statistical fact…kind of. Just look at this sweet infographic and you’ll see I’m not exaggerating.


This post was created as part of WordPress’s Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge.

So, what about you? Do you hoard anything; if so, what is it? Does your hoarding make you happy or like you’re about to throw up? What would you do if you had to get rid of your stash…would you be able to? And for the love of cute baby squirrels, will someone please come get Uncle Ted?

10 thoughts on “Hoarding: One Woman’s Manifesto

  1. Hi Kelly! I was actually expecting a REALLY LONG blog post this time 🙂 but this one is good too. As you may or may not know my husband and I did something similar as you and your husband…we went from 2,300 to 1375 and yes it was an adjustment but in so many ways I am MUCH happier! 🙂 I call it right sizing and encourage everyone to do it as well….

    BUT…I’m like you in that I can’t believe how many bookmarks I have on my browser. That’s why I’m still with Safari because it makes it so much easier (Google Chrome is supposed to be better and faster but I haven’t figured out the whole bookmark thing.) Of course I do use it a LOT for research like you say, but hey…when does the hoarding end? Let me know if you find a good solution. 🙂 ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…Why We Mourn The Death Of CelebritiesMy Profile

    1. It’s funny, Kathy, because my husband and I are actually talking about downsizing even more after our daughter has flown the coop. We’re really excited by the small/mini/tiny house movement, and have our eye on a 700 square-foot plan. I think we could totally do it!

      I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who hoards links. It’s the “silent” type of hoarding 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. This hilarious because it’s 11:30 at night, I’m exhausted and I’m still up reading blogs. Trying to get caught up from being sick one day. My Dropbox is a mess along with my inbox and bookmarks Lorrd don’t even get me started on that but in 2011 after my husbands business closed and I became terribly ill we sold everything we owned, rented a one bedroom apartment online sight unseen because of a terrific job offer 400 miles from the only home we had both ever known. We did it, both of scared to death and it ended up being the best thing we ever did. We slowly got our stuff back even better than before so definitely not a hoarder here, except my online stuff too!
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…WHAT IN THE WORLD IS EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME?My Profile

  3. Oh my, I think you have voiced the thoughts of many, Kelly!
    Last week I wrote a post, A Chance to Catch Up. I was inspired to write it when I realized that, as much as I struggle to keep up with writing posts, we all struggle to keep up with reading them!
    Computers have simplified our lives in many ways – but they have added to the stress as well!
    I think a photographic memory chip imbedded in our brains may be the only solution.
    Susan – ofeverymoment recently posted…Wishing you a sunny weekend …My Profile

    1. That’s the other thing I didn’t mention, Susan—I feel horrible not reading and commenting much more than I do on others’ posts. I know how much that means to me, so I do the best I can, but it never feels like enough. I’d need about 20 more of me to spread the kind of comment love I’d really like to.

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