Tuesday, September 28, 2010



No doubt some of you have caught a glimpse of the current television show depicting people across our land who have become Hoarders.  If I'm being honest with you I never really thought about such a thing being possible.  Not to the extent I've seen on the show anyway...

Yesterday I received my annual flu shot and it did exactly what they do to me each and every year.  It brought about a full 3 hour long nap right in the middle of my day causing me to be wide awake at 1:00AM.  This of course led to really late-night TV watching and that is how I ended up catching the latest episode about Hoarding.

As I followed the camera it spanned mountains and mountains of STUFF and I was more than shocked by what I saw.  Trash and junk, papers, boxes, bins, food, clothing as well as heaven knows what else was piled so high the person who lived in the home, well...couldn't LIVE in the home!  What I saw with my own two eyes was overwhelming.  How in the world can anyone allow their home to become a sanctuary of trash?  It was then I realized the very home I was seeing on the screen, and the woman being featured on the show, lived in my own home town.  That is why she looked familiar to me...I've seen her about many times while I've been out tag sale shopping...

Now...I'm not a true 'collector' of things.  Although I have many pretty pink roses plates and cups and an array of decorative finds around my home everything is in order and they are displayed in a way where they can be truly enjoyed.  I don't like it when even the things I love begin to crowd in on me and that leads me to purge my closets and cabinets on a fairly routine basis.  This also keeps me from over-buying as nothing can upset me more than tossing out something purchased with my hard-earned money I once felt I couldn't live without... It can be a bit painful to realize that in the end I didn't want or need the item after all.  Worse yet is knowing something is languishing in a box that is rarely seen or even remembered.  This keeps my garage from becoming overwrought with treasures...both the good kind and the kind that need to be hauled straight away to the garbage dump.

However...there is one thing I struggle to let go of and even before the show I've wondered what to do about it...

I do believe I have every greeting card ever given to me from my hubbs and every card I've given to him since the day we married in 1978.  In addition, I also think I have every card or note given to me from my children and parents as well.  Trust me when I tell you that's a lot of paper and it takes up several bins stored in my attic.  Up until last night I just couldn't bear the thought of letting them go.  Now~in no way do I believe that holding onto such treasured keepsakes is hoarding.  But I can understand, even on the smallest of levels, how collecting and saving can get totally out of control.  The local woman I saw on the show feels about everything she has on her property the same way I feel about my old love notes and greeting cards...

This morning, no longer even a tad-bit sedated by yesterday's injection, I feel clear minded and more focused.  I'm more determined than ever to haul those boxes and bins out from their hiding place and whittle their contents down.  Now...I'm not about to toss out truly treasured keepsakes...never, never!  But I do believe it's time do a little intense organization and place them in scrapbook form!  I'm quite sure even I'm going to be surprised with all I find.

Blessings as you begin to choose more carefully the things you give a place of honor within your earthly home...

Love to you~


Goosegirl said...

Oh I am so bad with this. I could borderline on being a hoarder of some things. We have moved so many times and yet I find it hard to part with things. My husband calls me a "child of the depression" even though I am too young for that. But I am always afraid to part with something in case I just may need it and not be able to get it.
We will be moving again in the next few months so I have begun sorting and purging. It is so hard.
But when we get to our new place, I want to be light and fresh, holding only to things I will truly value.

Sheryl said...

I have watched the Hoarding shows frequently and realized I might have been a borderline hoarder. What cured me was moving from a home that I lived in for 20 years. I soon realized that much of my precious "stuff" wasn't so precious when I had to pack it into 1 truck. I really let go of of someday I'll fix that things. After 3 years, I routinely make trips to Goodwill with donations. Now cards are a different story..mine are in 2 old fashioned train cases.

Unknown said...

When it gets waist high? LOL Just kidding - it's sad to see some of those people's houses and imagine how ashamed they feel. I too am a card saver - have all of the hubby's and mine to him as well as from the kids. I did go through last year and separate them into clear shoebox type boxes (birthday, holiday, etc.). When I was looking at the anniversary cards I got to really laughing - my hubby had bought the same card several years in a row. After I found that 3 or 4 times and was showing him how much 'he' loved that card, then I found that I had done the same thing. I didn't even know they kept the same cards around year after year LOL I'm pretty ruthless when I'm cleaning out - the older I get the less 'stuff' I want hanging around. As long as I give it to someone that I feel will really appreciate it, then I don't feel so bad.

" SHABBY JUNK" said...

That's a good motivater for me. I start cleaning when I see how crazy those people have let "Things" run their lives. My husband is a building engineer for a high rise condominium in Dallas. It's in a very exclusive neighborhood. Sadly their are people in his building with the same problem of hoarding. They barely have room for a pallet on the bathroom floor. These are two educated doctors. It must be a pyscological thing. I have alot of white in my tiny house. I love to see my pretty things,not cover them up.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Dear Rebecca...
I must tell you something...and not certain this is the place to elaborate..so I will try to make ths brief.
I have a dear friend that is a hoarder. I meet her about 14 years ago when my husband died.
I think I will write about this..as it might have some little impact on someone else...so please wait before you begin tossing..ok?
Many hugs and much love to you,

Jan M said...

Thanks for the reminder about a flu shot!
That television show and the people featured is amazing. I too, have sometimes seen snippets of it and wondered what it takes to tip the scale to hoarding instead of saving. My dear mother-in-law saved every card, invitation, printed program, and other printed matter. At year's end, she would put them all into one huge scrapbook for that year, and it was placed in the attic. When she passed away, my husband and I just sighed and packed the scrapbooks with other items destined for our home. I have to admit that for awhile I couldn't figure it out, but now I do. We have turned to those scrapbooks time and time again. She did not always share parts of her life with us while alive, but she has shared it with us now that she is gone. It even helped our son, when other classmates had grandparents to bring to school or interview for special reports. He at least had something tangible about a special life lived. I now regret not saving more of the cards and letters she did send to us. It is a difficult line to draw. Enjoy your moments traveling through time and remembering as you sort and organize!

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Good morning my Dear friend..Girl I watched that TV all day on Sunday and was so shocked at how some people do live...I'm a mini hoarder ha ha!! But I try and toss out stuff I no longer have a use for...I never buy anthing that is the In thing now to have in your home or the latest fashion...of course having 3 married daughters they take alot of my stuff ha ha!! Hope all is well in your world today and each day my friend...Thanks for coming by and seeing my latest addition to my family...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Julie Marie said...

Oooh Rebecca... I hope you don't decide to part with those letters and cards from your family! After my daddy passed away, and we found all of the cards and letters he and my mama had ever sent each other, and many from us kids, we read them all and they brought back so many happy memories...it was as if my mama and daddy were right there again, reminiscing with us... we divided them up amongst myself, my sister and my nieces and each took little bundles home... if I am feeling blue, I will pull out my little stash, and feel even closer to my loved ones who have passed on... with texts, emails, voicemails and all the other ways to communicate these days, a handwritten card, letter or even little reminder note is a treasure to me... once they are gone... they are gone forever... don't let that happen! And to me, that is NOT being a hoarder... I never watch much tv and have NEVER watched a reality show, but I can just imagine the "garbage" the woman had, and now, I guess she will make alot of money for the show, then go buy more! There is a huge different between being a "hoarder" and collecting treasures, in my opinion anyway... love to you! Okay, I will get off my soapbox now!... xoxo Julie Marie

Theresa said...

I save cards too, not only my cards but the cards that everyone gave my Dad! I have been thinking about getting my stuff all out and passing on some of it to others! The cards could be made slimmer by trashing the envelopes:) I have thought about using some of them in cards for Christmas/Birthday cards and letting the recipient know the story behind the card.

Anyway, I watch Hoarders sometimes too and whatever I save is certainly not as bad as the people on that show! I feel bad for them!

Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Unknown said...

I've never seen that show but I'm aware of it. I will say, I too have saved EVERY card hub and I have exchanged for anniversarys etc. I have also saved every card my child has received from a FAMILY member. It got to be too much to keep those cute cards from friends. Anyway, in all honestly I do NOT consider saving cards hoarding.

I began saving my father's cards to me when I was married. They are treasures to me and I wish I had more. I will NEVER part with them.

So, for me, cards (and the little notes written in them) are almost like journals of the years. More special when I person is no longer with us.

I think if it is an heirloom or holds a special memory it isn't hoarding. Just my .02

Sonya Badgley said...

Oh my gosh, it is so sad how things can get out of control. I moved into a house three times bigger this last February and I got rid of SO much stuff. It was a wonderful, freeing feeling I have to tell you. Everything has a place and if it doesn't, I get rid of it. My craftroom is the only one that has a lot of stuff, but everything is put away. My home is so much more relaxing and enjoyable. I feel sorry for the people on that show, they obviously have some issues and my heart goes out to them.
I have to confess though that I too, have saved cards and things like that since I was about 8 years old...and I will be 47 next month so that's a lot of cards.:) But they mean a lot to me and I just can't part with them. But they are in rubbermaid containers and put away. And I do like going back and looking at some of these cards and notes from time to time.
Have a wonderful day.
Love, Sonya

Unknown said...

I have never watched the show but have heard many stories about it, I'm also a saver of cards but on the ones that aren't from beloved family members with special sentiments and if the card looks like it could be re-purposed then I do that within my scrap booking, or as in Christmas cards that are so beautiful or sweet I turn them into tags by trimming and mounting them on card stock then they have another life and are out the door and not trashed or I let my Grandkids turn them into projects as I handmade tree ornaments just for fun. If the envelopes are old enough to have good old stamps they like to make stamp books with them. Good children crafts, no money spent. Hugs, Marilou

Rebecca Nelson said...

Wow...you all are as passionate about card saving as I am and always will be! I like what Marilou has done! GREAT IDEA!!!!! xoRebecca

Angie said...

This is a subject very personal to me..as I have a close family member that is a hoarder. And, let me tell you...it is not something they choose to do. It is a sickness and it is sad to see someone you love deal with this.

The show attempts to help these people and offer them help as in therapy and cleaning....not monetary. I know this because I contacted them. In the end, it was decided airing the situation on national t.v. was not going to be the right way to deal with it for our family.

I don't think that saving cards from loved ones counts as hoarding. What a trip down memory lane it must be to look through them. How lucky you are to be so loved!

Hugs to you my friend, Angie

chicroses said...

I have watched alot of the shows and my dh doesnt understand why I do but it is fasinating. But what I have decided on the show is some are actually filthy and some are clean hoarders. I should be painting roses instead..but I am slightly a hoarder but I have lost both my parents and I do have plastic containers stacked with things from them plus my & my sons childhood things. Even like clothing from my son.Now I am having trouble with my Hattie Janes things.. They are memories..but otherwise I hate clutter.
But about your keepsake cards and things I would keep them. It would be to painful to let them go. I think a little hoarding is alright.But not when you cant walk in your home..Love your pillows..oh have I said that before? hugs sally

Connie said...

This made me laugh, sugar, because several years ago I wrote my kids and told them I wanted to know what they wanted for themselves when we died so I could put it in our will, which we were updating.

Well, their answers were a shock. Neither one wanted a thing we had except photos which I've tried to give to them since then. They each have their own things that mean much to them, but our "things" don't have the same sentimental value to them. My daughter even went so far as to tell me to get rid of it because when I died, she was going to put it on eBay for 99¢ with FREE shipping.

Let me tell you, chick, that opened my eyes. I've since started giving it away to newlyweds, thrift stores and even threw in the occasional garage sale....screeeeeammmming!!! Yikes, I hate them.

Anyway, that definitely put things in perspective for me. Oooooh, and so far I've given away 17 boxes of fabric and that's not including ANY of the room full of it in my craft room.

Why do you think I have the "giveaways"?!?! I have to let some of it go to women who appreciate it! LOL

Good luck!!!


Mari said...




Unknown said...

Well, I did read where landfills are not becoming as full as they used to, perhaps because of hoarding.

Heaven's Walk said...

Wow, Rebecca - you hit the nail on the head and got us all thinking about what "stuff" we have around us. I've been thinking about that same thing lately (after spending all summer traveling to flea markets and bringing home more "stuff" to feather my nest, then of course, blogging about it all. lol! But did I need it? Nope. But I just had to have it... My mother always told me if I brought one thing into the house, I needed to give away two things. Same thing for my clothes closet (where I think I've lost family members, pets, and a previous husband in....). You've certainly inspired me to start the cleansing process. Off to GoodWill with all those extra jeans, tops, and shoes! :)

xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

cottagepinkperfection said...

Rebecca, every time I see that show I feel the need to purge. Last nights episode was the worst I have seen by far. It is really sad to see! I myself, not too long ago went through the many hundreds of cards and letters from family and friends and threw away probably 90% of what I had. It felt good afterwards. I still hold all the memories within my heart.

Unknown said...

My best friend's mother is a true hoarder. Like right off the show. It is a horrible, painful life. There are a lot of factors that go on in this realm. One is mental illness-sometimes full blown, other times borderline personality disorder. The other curious part about this is that the people who hoard truly believe these items they hold onto have a life of their own. To throw out a bag with who knows what in it would be similar to putting your child in a bag and tossing it out into the garbage. They are driven, driven to obtain things, and spend their days doing so.

It's always good to watch these kinds of shows and question where we are in our own messes...I hope you find a treasured place for all your cards and memories that will bring you peace!

Barb said...

I don't save a lot. I have to have order or I lose my sanity.

My darling Ron is exactly the opposite and it is the one thing I would change about him if I could. Our attic is filled with who knows what. He was raised to save everything. I always thought an attic was something you went into if you had roof problems. yikes!

I haven't seen the show but it sounds like something that would give me hives. Give me order any day of the week.

Also, Rebecca, I have tossed all the envelopes but keep all the cards Ron has sent. I just love my hubby to pieces.

Happy day sweet girl,

Victorian1885 said...

Dear Rebecca
I think we have have a bit of Hoarding in us..I have realized I have way too many treasures now that we are thinking of downsizing to a condo! My mother saved every doll I ever had so I come by it honestly..take care and have a great rest of the week!

Ginger said...

Like you I have saved greeting cards, especially from my children. I will NOT part with them. I even have cards from both my grandmothers, they are so special to me.
I was in Edmond today getting my mammogram and almost called you to meet me for lunch but thought you might be busy. We will plan a get together.

Ginger said...

Like you I have saved greeting cards, especially from my children. I will NOT part with them. I even have cards from both my grandmothers, they are so special to me.
I was in Edmond today getting my mammogram and almost called you to meet me for lunch but thought you might be busy. We will plan a get together.

Lin said...


I saw that show with the lady from your town and wondered if you knew her...

The thing I remember about that particular show was the broken rake head....that she didn't want to throw it out because she saw people decorate with them. The poor guy trying to talk her into putting it in the trash pile finally hung it on the wall in her kitchen to prove a point. There it hung, just as it was. It was absolutely hilarious!

I watch that hoarding show once a week to keep me in check. Dad was definitely a bit of a hoarder - don't you think? (He sure did love those tape recorders and coffee pots!)

I can easily get out of control with stuff and 'some day' project items if I'm not careful.

I save all my cards (and emails...) We are so much alike in so many ways!

Looking forward to your visit!

Love you, Lin

Patti said...

Here's what I did about twelve years ago in order to cut down on the amount of cards I was keeping. I do this with each of my kids and with my husband. I have what is called a "love journal". Instead of a card, I write in each child's journal...no reason notes, thank you for a good job notes, happy birthday, graduation, etc. They, in turn, use the same journal and write notes to me...birthday, Mother's Day, encouragement, no reason, etc.

I do the same thing with my husband...anniversary, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, birthday, etc., and he writes in the same journal back to me. So, the journals are love journals between me and whomever.

After so many years, I am on my second journal each...but it has kept the card pile to a minimum...at least between the four of us.

And I only keep other's cards if they actually have a lovely handwritten note in them. If they simply sign their name...out goes the card, as there is nothing sentimental or inspirational in that.

On another note, I have watched the Hoarders show before, and I truly don't think that having nice things (even alot of them) neatly displayed makes one a hoarder.

Blessings to you, sweet friend.


Donna Lynn said...

I tuned in to watch these shows for the first time about a year ago, I was shocked by the stories and the messy lives of each of the people on the shows! It worked for the good in my husband and I, we got rid of a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, made over $10,000 dollars on furniture, a boat and just stuff we had laying around, I have been moved not to keep anything I don't LOVE either...I feel like this show will make you rethink your life, measure it up to these truly ill people and change for the better! I am not a hoarder, but the lessons can be applied to any ones life, a collector can turn into a hoarder in a blink of an eye if we don't keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and what life is really all about...

Great post Rebecca! Thanks!

June said...

I do believe I could be a hoarder of some things. Lace and old fabric just gets me going. I have bins (about four) full of the stuff. I know I cannot get rid of it. I just hope some day I will be able to have the time to make the things I have in my mind.
That show really gets me thinking and I love it! I think I NEED to watch it. I go shopping now, and I think about things twice before I buy, and I think I have the show to thank for it. And I stay OUT of dollar stores!!!
I LOVED this post.

Rebecca Nelson said...

I LOVE your idea about the Journals, Patti! Now this is something I wish I had started long ago! What fabulous keepsake books your loved ones will have one day...xoR

Unknown said...

would you please do a favor for me? Please visit my blog and take a look at teh mirror I painted. I have had several ladies comment on how they think I could sell it for, 'big bucks'. Just how many bucks is mig bucks? I'm new to this refurbishing furniture thing. Would you please comment in my blog comments section on how much you think I could charge for it?
Thank you!

Shirley said...

Hi Rebecca, You talked about your cards. When we moved my mother-in-law into an apartment from a three bedroom home, we had an auction. we had scrapbooks filled with old cards, postcards, and etc. I was amazed how much they sold for that was for sure. I tried to watch the show once and it wasn't something I wanted to see. We are all quilty of keeping somethings that maybe we should give away. My problem is finding the time to do some of the things I want to do. I work full-time and am a primary caregiver, which doesn't leave a lot of me time to do other things. My kids still like to look at the scrapbooks we have left because of the precious memories with both sets of grandparents now deceased. Have a great day. Your Missouri Friend.

NanaDiana said...

You are right, Rebecca-there is quite a fine line between collecting something and obsessively coveting it. Those shows just really weird me out and you just wonder how it ever got to the point it did.

I do believe it is a sickness that needs to be treated just like any other addictive illness. It is just so sad to me how THINGS can come before family relationships. I think that happens sometimes even on a more minor level with WANTING that which we don't really need and dragging it home in spite of spouses saying...NOT ONE MORE...whatever.

Okay...that's just me- Thanks for shining the light on this subject today- Hugs- Diana

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I only keep cards with notes written in them, not, "To the best Mom" It has to have a paragraph or 2. Now about the show! Some of these people just seem messy, and lazy, some truly have a problem, but I wonder where one leaves off and lazy starts! How great to be lazy and then label yourself with an illness??? I would love to know the answer!


Unknown said...

If I ever thought about keeping too much of my "stuff", sorting through my mother's house for the last year since her death has cured me of that! She was a closet hoarder. You know, every closet, cabinet, drawer was packed full. It's been overwhelming and we're still at it. It has cured me big time! I NEVER want my children to have to go through what my brother and I are.
Nice weather we're having here in Oklahoma, huh? Finally!!

Carolyn said...

Hi Rebecca,

I saw this show for the first time a couple months ago with my daughter....I could not watch the whole program. It was so so sad! My heart breaks for anyone having such a horrible problem living in piles of filth; especially for these homes with children!

My sister somewhat has the problem...but it is not filth. She buys new things...many expensive items...then leaves them in the bag and stacks them in her rooms. She is going through a divorce now bec her husband can't deal with it. She is purging ALL the stuff...selling them in garage sales, etc. But it has been heart-breaking for her to learn the hard way to kick an extremely bad habit of shopping just to be shopping. :(

I too love all of my sweet cards and letters from my loved ones. I don't feel the need to sort and purge them yet. Maybe once the sweet notes and cards start coming from my granddaughters, maybe then I will get more than I can handle. :) I do know that when I lost my mother to Alzeheimer's, it was such a comfort going through each letter, note, and card that I gave to her that she thought it to be of value to keep.

Hugs, Carolyn ~ Cottage Sunshine

Pellie / Penny said...

I too save cards from my family as well as numerous other things - but I know I'm not a hoarder - I can still walk around my house.

As a crafter - I always felt as soon as you throw something away - your going to need it. So while I don't keep trash, per say - I do keep many things so I can recycle them into something artistic.
Opps! maybe I am a hoarder them - just a neat, organized hoarder.


Patty said...

Such an important post...I hate to think of the money I've wasted buying stuff that sits in closets tightly packed. You've inspired me to pare down and only keep the treasured and useful (hopefully they are one and the same). Patty

Anonymous said...


{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Oh Rebecca.... I'm re-doing my sewing room (soon to be called the studio, just because it sounds sooo much better) right now and pitching so many things I really don't need. Things are pretty darn small here at the cottage...and I can't stand messy.... But, I know for sure that next week I'll need one or two of the things I've pitched. :-)

I keep every single little snippet, letter or card that somebody's written to me. I figure in my old age I'll sit and re-read them alllll.... I don't think that's all that far away. I have some from my parents.... both gone now... and my grandparents... Such sweet words and I'm so happy to have them.


Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Hi Rebecca,

I have watched this show, and I am just in shock to see how some of them live. I do have a lot of sentimental stuff, including cards.
I have saved little notes too that the kids have written to me. I even have some of their outfits, and shoes from when they were babies. I am always sending stuff to the goodwill though. I lovethe idea too of the journals.


Rose said...

hoarding is very emotional and a person may need some help professionally. hoarders keep everything, not just collecting as a hobby. we had a relative who kept everything including paper cups. keeping something for a sentimal connection is different. i like the idea of a journa or scrapebook. Why do we wait until someone dies in the family before we pass it on, might consider doing this now. this way a personal talk with that person about the item can give it extra significance rose

Home and Heart said...

Sweet Rebecca, saving love letters is romantic, and nostalgic. Not hoarding!! These are treasure your family will be so thrilled you saved. How wonderful to re-read memories from your earlier days!! KEEP THEM!! :-)

Dolores said...

A great and loving post..... I love cards too and can't part with any of them.
When David's mother died a few years ago, we found every card any family member or friend had given her over her 80 some odd years..... We each took the cards we'd sent her, and it was such a good feeling to read them again....

I love watching the show about hoarders...... it blows me away that people can live in such filth.... sad.

Kit said...

I too have come across this show and I too know a person who does exactly this. I was shocked when I visited my best friend after not seeing her for many many years. I was amazed how every surface was covered. I felt so uncomfortable I had to get out of there. I wondered, could this happen to me? I too save cards and letters and will hold on to them forever. Like my husband has said, I save and collect but I also know what to get rid of too. So save those cards! It is A-OK! Kit

Anonymous said...

Ive seen those shows as well Rebecca.It kinda made me sick.Its actually a disease.....people hoard some much they cant live in their own space.They actually go throguh treatment to help them stop hoarding.

Anyway I know Im not a hoarder.I have many many cards I kept over the years of the girls birthdays and communions etc.I even have a big box where I ahve my birthday cards as well.I always loved keeping cards but I find now Im not into that much as I get reminders at birthdays of my age ha.

Happy weekend ahead!

ileyssilver said...

It has more about our age and why do we have all this stuff?
My boys aren't going to want it.
Love ya,

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