When I was younger, I could’ve been a candidate for the TV Show “Hoarders”. My bedroom was a disaster some of the time, but since I shared it with my sister I actually did have to keep it semi clean every once in awhile. However, the bedroom had two closets, one was a long shallow closet that we actually used, and the other a narrow walk in closet. I claimed the walk in closet as my space. It was a fantastical mess. I say fantastical because it was like a magic treasure trove. I’d be sitting on a heap of junk, shift my weight, and voila! A toy I hadn’t thought about in 6 months would appear! It was wonderful. And also a disaster. My mom called me a pack rat because I had this irrational fear that if I threw anything out I would instantly need it within the next 24 hours for something exceedingly important and crucial. I had all these grandiose plans for my stuff that never actually happened-usually because I forgot about the grandiose plans as the stuff sunk slowely deeper into the abyss and out of my immediate view.

Well, I’d thought I’d kicked the hoarding habit, or at least contained it within reason, as I grew up and faithfully purged wherever I was living from accumulation every few months. But this weekend, I realized in shock that I hadn’t kicked the habit at all, I had just organized it.

My sisters and I gleefully brought our scrapbooks for viewing this weekend, swapping the stories of our lifes and ooing and aaahing at the clever uses of hole punches or the cut out collage of pictures. We then shared stickers and quote packs and fancy paper, commenting on how our husbands now saved ticket stubs and programs and all manner of receipts to satisfy our scrapbook piles. I very happily shoveled my newly acquired stuff into my uncompleted scrapbook and happily unloaded it onto the floor when I got home. It wasn’t until later when I was cleaning my room from scrapbook scraps and trying to decide what stubs to save and what to discard that I had my epiphany.

Scrapbooking was no more than a socially acceptable method of organized hoarding.

I SITLL have piles of junk in my closet, saved against the day when I just might need them for that scrapbook page I was working on. They are better organized piles, neatly tucked into a giant trunk, some of it also sorted into seperate shoe boxes or plastic containters, but they are still piles. Not only that, but what is a scrapbook but a careful hoarding of memories? Forever perserved in double sided tape and stickers. Decades and decades from now they will literally be junk, old faded paper and yellowed photographs of people nobody knows.

That thought almost had me throwing in the towel on the whole scrapbooking institution. But then I realized, what does it matter if they DO become worthless piles of trash in the future? I’ll be happy in heaven with the people who made up those memory pages in the first place. But right now, they do have value. One, they allow me an outlet for my hoarding addiction; and Two, I can’t explain how nice it is to have all that concrete evidence of my memories and to open someone elses book up and explore theirs. People have been collecting and perserving momentos of their lives for years, stored up for sweet remembering and tale telling. I scrapbook because it makes me happy, and keeps my desire to save things from growing into uncontrollable compost heaps. Bite me.

So to conclude; I am a hoarder, but I don’t have a problem, I’ve figured out the solution.

And I say, hoard on fellow scrapbookers! May your double-sided tape never crinkle and your glue stick never dry out. Keep your scissors sharp and your memories sharper and I’ll join you at the Michael’s clearance rack whenever I may.


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