Collecting vs. Hoarding- is your treasure really trash?

We moved! Which makes 4 moves in the past 5 years, yet I still don’t feel like an expert šŸ˜›

One of the aspects of moving I always dread is decluttering, and taking a critical look at the mountains of STUFF, and think if this is really ALL worth hauling along.
Let me be the first to admit- I am guilty of hanging on to ridiculous things with the thought that “This would be perfect in some abstract future situation”! But I think overall I keep this habit under control, restricting it mostly to craft supplies, and don’t get too attached to material possessions. This has been extremely important for me to do personally, as we mostly lived in small urban spaces with minimal storage.

This, however, is not the case for Mrs. B, my mother-in-law. She takes pride in her treasure trove of useless things that are filling up her closet, garage, and crawl-space. As an example, she has amassed a collection of 5 baby gates. Ā There is no current baby in her life, nor will there be any time soon, however on she goes to collect, like a squirrel at the first signs of fall.
This problem is escalated by her inability to refuse “free stuff”. By this I mean whenever a neighbor, a friend, a relative, or a total stranger says to her- “I’m getting rid of this, do you want it?” her answer will always be a resounding YES. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t actually NEED it right now, it doesn’t matter that its too big or heavy for her to carry home, it doesn’t matter that she has no use for it and even no space for it, she WILL take it.

As we were moving, we were getting rid of some things, and as always asked her first “do you need it?” and yes, we know this is making it worse, but we really needed to get rid of stuff fast and we know she would say yes, so we did it anyways. As she was loading up her car full with our STUFF, she said: “you guys know all this stuff would end up back in your hands eventually? But I know what you would do with all my treasures, donate it all straight to the thrift store”. The absurdity of the situation still strikes me, she knows we would inherit her junk and have to deal with it again, yet she collects anyways. We jokingly refer to her as a “borderline-hoarder”, but choose to ignore the facts that we are not only contributing to the problem, but that it would come back to bite us in the end, and it would again be our turn to deal with the all the STUFF. She looks at it as treasure, and chooses to surround herself with it and enjoy each piece, yet appreciates the fact that it would be dumped as soon as itĀ isĀ in our hands again.

Do you know a “borderline-hoarder” in your life? Do you collect “treasures” yourself? Where is the line drawn between collecting and hoarding? Leave a comment and let me know!

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