Collector Checking In… #MFRWAuthors #10

Warning:  Long post ahead.  Just could NOT find a way to shorten it up!

Several of you have heard me talk about my ‘Green House’ and my ‘Brown House’, that we are cleaning up. Both houses came with our mortgage, and we plan to tear down the Green House, and I plan to turn the front half of the Brown one into my office/library.

THIS is a prime example of Hoarding:


This is the back room of our Green House, when we first went in to start getting rid of junk that the hoarder who owned the property had crammed in here.


Front room of the Brown House, right side, before we began sorting through it.

Hoarding:  Chaotic, organized or not, that takes over one’s home.

I’ve spent the past three years ‘helping’ my mother ‘clean out’ her own home, and after I realized we were mainly simply moving stuff from one room to the next, I began bringing some of it home to donate.  I’ve also realized I’ve inherited my mother’s ‘paper hoardering’ tendencies.

Mom’s House:

When I began cleaning out Mom’s massive piles of printed emails, catalogues, and sale papers, I at first would run everything past her….until I noticed a pattern of what she was okaying me to toss, and just started going through it on my own.  She even told me later she had to refrain from going through the trash bags, to ‘make sure’ I hadn’t thrown a forgotten card or letter away, but realized I was doing her a favor.  I told her the only emails I’d tossed were reminders of upcoming events which had already passed.

I also convinced my dad he didn’t HAVE to give Mom all the catalogs; he could simply throw them away!

I’ve been making a conscientious effort to curb my own paper-hoarding.  It helps that I only read TV Guide every two weeks, and we no longer take a newspaper.

Here’s an updated picture of our dilapidated Green House:










And the Brown House:

Much better, yes?








Collecting:  Multiple items, neatly displayed

What do I collect?  I have a stamp collection that I started in my teens; now I only add to it whenever I get the specialty stamps at the post office (Elvis, Harry Potter, Christmas, Star Trek, etc).  Haven’t really added them to my album; ‘one of these days’ I’ll track them down in the lock box or dresser drawer and add them.

Music:  I still have my 45s, my LPs, and even a few 8-track cassettes, plus over 200 cassette tapes and 300 CDs.  As soon as I get the front room of that Brown House cleaned out, I’ll get all my musical items on shelves, in their storage containers, and start playing them again (as soon as I get a working record player!)

Books:  Surprise, surprise…..I own over 1300 print books (see pic).  That’s the number I discovered back in 2010, when I took complete inventory.  I’ve since added more titles plucked from our now-defunct used book store, plus the ones I’ve bought over the past 8 years.  This doesn’t count the E-books I’ve read over the past twelve years; I found the ziplock baggie of the ones I’d saved to floppy disc (remember those?)  Yeah, I need to go through them and get them transferred to a flash drive…..

Dolls:  My grandmother began buying me Madame Alexander dolls when I was two, and when my own mother passes, I’ll inherit her 30-doll collection.  Last year, my dad finally built a wonderful case so she could display her dollies, and I even found the sheet of paper where I’d written down all their ‘names’, including their ‘back stories’ from when I played with them in junior high, having been allowed access to them at the tender age of 10.  I also have some favorite stuffed animals downstairs in a rubbermaid tote, since they’re rather fragile.  My daughter is not interested in the dolls, but my hope is that my granddaughter will continue her love for them!

And yes, I have a ‘collection’ of old TV Guides, letters, cards, writing magazines, swag from conferences, and old notebooks filled with stories.  Some are published; some are partial WIPS.

But as long as I don’t let it get out of control, that doesn’t make me a hoarder, does it?

Except the books.  If you borrow one, I expect it back.

What about you?


I did indeed manage to get myself hired, and so far it’s working out well.  I completed my computer training last night, and have discovered I rather like working in the Lumber section, as a cashier.  Tonight is my 3rd night training back there, and I have until Saturday to ‘master’ it, since I’m training with a friend of mine who moves into Head Cashier position Saturday morning.  So here’s hoping I remember which F keys to hit in the correct order!

8 responses to “Collector Checking In… #MFRWAuthors #10

  1. That looks like a lot of work. I am slowly doing deep cleaning and getting rid of some stuff too. Last year we cleared the plastic shed of ruined trash fixed the leak moved it to the new spot and it is now my garden shed. One tiny outside step. I would love a Madame Alexander doll but they are out of my budget lol. When I reorganize the craft room this summer I am hoping to move my dolls in there maybe…
    Good luck with your job and new office. I can’t wait to see it!

    • I will be posting pictures when it comes together:) My great-grandmother had an assortment of Hummels; when she passed, my mother inherited the cabinet and several of them. I was allowed to choose my favorite, so I’m sure in the next twenty years or so, my sister and I will be ‘negotiating’ over the figurines….and probably rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock for the cabinet, ha ha….

  2. Your description of your parents’ paper-hoarding tendencies rang a bell. My dad was, I realized after he passed, a superbly-organized hoarder, hanging onto every receipt from long-ago vacations, for example, and instruction manuals for old appliances. Mom’s having a hard time letting go of things that “just might be useful,” like outdated bits and bobs of electronics. My eager weeder fingers itch whenever I visit, but too much sorting through causes her mental distress. Too much reminder of Dad’s loss, I guess. So we pick at it a bit at a time. At home, I’m paring down to only those things I actually use and a few items of sentimental value that bring me joy when I look at them. But keeping up with papers is a challenge, for sure.

    • I’m having a hard time with the items we used to have displayed in our home from 1991-2006. I’ve got pictures I want hung, and shelves put up, but am having issues getting the spouse motivated. I might have to enlist the kids’ help this summer. Another thing is, I open boxes and think, ‘Oh, I remember that!”, then close the box and move onto the next. There are several steps we need to do in order to empty the boxes, and unfortunately, they all begin with the spouse getting off his butt and rewiring the house. If he’s not going to to do it, then decorations are going up, with the kids’ help!

  3. I am profoundly grateful that I haven’t had to deal with real true hoarding, although it’s possible my husband comes close. Don’t go into the garage. Just don’t. It’s scary in there.

    • LOL! I’ll admit, when I first walked into both houses, I was a bit overwhelmed and wondered where to start. Who knew I’d enjoy going through other people’s stuff? Hire me; I’ll clean it out for ya!

  4. Big difference in the before and after pictures of the rooms. That must have been a lot of work. When my family downsized to a smaller house, it was a huge job weeding through everything that was saved and stored in the new basement. Not fun. Also, I don’t blame you about expecting a borrowed book to be returned.

    • Since there’s no heat over there, I can only work April/May-October in the houses, and I was gone much of that time last year, helping my parents. The work you see is what I call my ‘running away from home’…..when the kids get too demanding, and don’t want to help me, I go next door, crank up the music, and start sorting. And dreaming about what it’s all going to look like, once I move their stuff out, and get mine set up! Forget ‘She-Shed’….it’s my writing cave! Or as Laurann Dohnner calls it, my Office House.

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