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Packing an old journal entry found.....

All we did was pack from sun up to sun up. 12 years of accumulating crap in one small 1200 sq ft house. Every single nook and cranny was crammed with papers, receipts, books, cds, dvd’s, happy meal figurines dating as far back as 1990. WB “collectibles” acquired from 3 years of working there. With every piece of paper, lint log and dust ball that I'd throw away, all I could see was true blue American consumerism. Mind you it wasn’t keeping up with the Jones’ consumerism, but it was just useless stuff nonetheless.

As the day’s wore onto weeks of packing, I began to throw things away…things I never thought I’d through away. Like, the scribbled Turkey drawing my son did when he was 2. (Honestly, the turkey he did at 2 1/2 was much better) and the mugs we’d been collecting since we first started living together. There were so many that were cracked and chipped, but for some reason the graphics on the mug were so special, signifying… nothing really.
Perhaps it was just laziness or the fear of change that lead us to accumulate stuff.

Then there was the box of Christmas cards. I have every holiday card sent to me since 1989. I almost threw them away, but as I read every single one, I remembered friends who were for a season, friends of lifetime, family members who I drifted apart from or became closer to over the years. Cards from those who have departed this earth, running my hands over their signature feeling the impression left behind by their pen, recognizing that yes they were once more than just a memory. No, I could not throw those away.

The birthday cards I have kept since I was a little girl. I found a card from my oldest friend: It said Happy Birthday 7 year old. Her name carefully scrawled at the bottom, letters unevenly spaced. How could I throw these things away? Relics of a lifetime. I decided that when I die, my son can throw the stuff away. So packed away, small pieces of papers holding deep and significant memories into many many boxes.

 



Frost & Hartl's ('96) definition of clinical hoarding: (1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be of useless or of limited value; (2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.


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