My 10-year-old daughter, Jaiden, is a hoarder.
I’d love to say that I’m exaggerating, and to a point, I might be. However, if I let my youngest have her way, she’d never get rid of anything. Ever.
When she was younger, getting her to clean her room was a nightmare. My girls — Jaiden and Abbey, 12 — shared a bedroom and after a while my eldest eventually got tired of cleaning up her sister’s junk. Her mess gradually consumed all the available space in their room. It got to the point where I could barely make my way to their beds to tuck them in at night.
So, I snapped.
I called an emergency meeting — sort of an intervention for the entire family.
It was time to purge ourselves of the mess we had created to regain some sort of order. The clean bedrooms in my house didn’t last long, but it made me feel better for the short time they did.
Jaiden now has her own room.
The scary part: My daughter has a few classic signs of someday becoming an actual hoarder. If I ignore them, I can only assume her non-stop collecting will have disastrous effects in the future.
I’m no doctor, but I’ve watched enough episodes of A&E’s hit show “Hoarders” to be concerned.
First of all, she likes to collect things. Actually, she likes to collect EVERYTHING — including toy packaging and partially-finished Girl Scouts projects. And, although a portion of those things used to include trash, I have helped her curb that habit. When prompted, of course, she will get rid of most items a normal person would consider garbage.
Note here that I said most.
Two of her favorite collectibles are broken toys and clothes that no longer fit.
Though both served significant purposes, initially, they just take up space.
The toys, she claims, can be refurbished and brought back to pristine condition. While she’s never made that exact statement, I can see the angst in her eyes at the mere mention of throwing away anything that might appear the least bit salvageable.
The clothes, on the other hand, are kept for more personal reasons.
It is a well-known fact in our house that once clothing becomes too short or too tight, it is immediately removed from the acceptable attire category and placed in the yard sale pile. Wearing clothing that is two sizes too small is not a trend either girl will be starting anytime soon.
So, as you can see, future potential use is not the concern here.
Rather, I believe she holds onto her old clothing because of the nostalgia each article represents. It’s almost as if she’s afraid she’ll lose all her memories if she lets go. What she doesn’t understand is that by keeping all of the clothes that do not fit, she is taking up much needed space from all the clothes that do fit.
Among collecting useless items, she also likes to collect practical items; mostly art supplies. While this is one of her better habits, her organizational skills are the issue here.
I blame myself.
Organization is not my strong point, so, sadly, she too lacks the ability to make the most of her space.
Her solution? Shoving everything into plastic bags or cardboard boxes as a way to feign order in a room full of chaos.
Needless to say, between the hoarding and lack of organizational skills, we have our work cut out for ourselves.
Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, wrote this guest blog for momaha.com
Read more of her blogs, by clicking here.
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