The Barbarian Hoard

I have a guilty secret. Well, I actually have more than one, but this is the only one I’m willing to share online, at least currently. I have, in the past, made certain revelations on this site about things I’ve done that hitherto had been unknown to my family, like the time I buried Ken’s slippers in the garden in retaliation for his refusal to move them from the basement stairs (they were a TRIPPING HAZARD, KEN), or my attempt to put Kate’s beta fish, suffering from beta bloat disease, out of its misery by pouring a bottle of absinthe into its tank:

Kate: You killed my fish and I find out ON YOUR BLOG?!
Me: He was really sick! I didn’t want him to suffer. Besides I told you about it at the time.
Kate: I was five! What else have you murdered?

But this time I’m not destroying anyone’s blissful ignorance. No, this secret is more like a guilty pleasure, and it’s the fact that I’m obsessed with the show Hoarders. You know the one I mean—a group of “hoarding experts and organizers” descend upon the home of someone who has been deemed a hoarder in order to simultaneously cure them of their disorder and make their house livable again. There are thirteen seasons of this American show, but because I’m Canadian, I can only watch when the American specialty channels are having a free preview month. But even then, it’s all just the early seasons of rerun—I can easily recite right along with one of the…are they contestants?… participants?..: “I wouldn’t classify myself as a hoarder; I would consider myself more of a saver, a rescuer of things”, and then I yell back at the TV screen, “Nobody wants your garbage bag of dirty diapers, LINDA!” So last week, in a fit of both pique at having to watch the same Wife Swap commercial for the one thousandth time on Paramount (leave the goddamn cat alone, KEISHA!), I broke down and bought Season 13 of Hoarders on Apple TV. And I was in my glory.

But why do you watch Hoarders? I hear you asking. A) Don’t you have OCD? B) Isn’t this show extremely stressful for you? And the answer to those questions is A) Yes, I do and B) No, it’s not. Because the best part about Hoarders is at the end, when they get rid of all the stuff, clean the house, and then present it to the hoarder, who goes through and cries about how beautiful and spacious it is. And the rugs are all symmetrical and the table is set with all the corners perfectly perpendicular, and it’s such an amazing payoff at the end. It’s almost enough to make me want to become a professional organizer myself. But the thing about Season 13, and the reason I know I’d be terrible for someone who has hoarding disorder, is that Season 13 features several people who’ve hoarded some very nice things, unlike the mounds of trash, dirty diapers, dead animals, and moldy clothing that have been the mainstay of other seasons. I lay there night after night, watching antiques and paintings going into dumpsters and it’s awful. Can you just imagine me, with my antique booth and 47 clocks that don’t work, trying to help someone with hoarding disorder?

Dr. Zasio: Okay Diane, I’m so happy to see you letting go of all this furniture.
Me (whispers): That’s a mid-century Eames chair, Diane. I’d keep that if I were you. And why are you throwing away all those picture frames? Put some chalk paint on those bad boys and frame old quilt squares with them—ooh, a mantle clock!!
Diane: I want all my sh*t back!!

Yep, I’d be awful at any job that required me to watch perfectly good stuff go into a junk truck. In fact, big junk day is where I GET my perfectly good stuff. But then again, I’m highly motivated to get things, fix them up, and actually resell them because if I don’t, I get accused of being a hoarder myself:

Ken: Another clock? You’re a hoarder!
Me: It’s a really nice clock. Besides, I’d only be a hoarder if I had a closet full of broken clocks that I never looked at but couldn’t bring myself to throw away. Speaking of closets full of crap you never look at and won’t throw away, how’s the closet in your office? Still full of magazines from 1988?
Ken: I just found this really nice clock online that you might like!

I guess there’s a fine line between being a collector and being a hoarder. Either way, I’m pretty sure who the hoarder is at MY house:

My office (there are five clocks that don’t work in here, and one that does)
Ken’s Office (only one clock)

55 thoughts on “The Barbarian Hoard

  1. There exists a very distinct and fine line between a hoarder and a collector. A hoarder is someone who simply cannot let go of objects, whereas a collector seeks out their objects and takes meticulous care of them. I have a growing collection of books, for example. I used to have a huge pile of letters that people had sent me over the course of several years, which I am now converting to digital so that their contents can be archived and searched digitally in a database.

    I am most jealous, however, that you have not one but two offices in your house. My wife and I use our living room as our office space. The greatest thing I ever did was to arrange the living room according to the most efficient use of space. Yes, I actually drew a scale floor plan of the house when I purchased it and drew diagrams of the most efficient placement of furniture.

    We have a dry erase board on our living room wall, two work desks, oversized memory foam bean bags, video game consoles, a projector for the large white wall (for occasional presentations), and a giant screen television. The printer, which is connected to WiFi, is open and communal (even to guests), so this sits in our dining room which is the center-point of the house.

    Life is good.

    Liked by 4 people

    • After a couple of years of working at the kitchen counter, Ken divided our dining room up so that I could have my own work space. Because even though he’s a hoarder, he’s still wonderful:-) Life is good indeed!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am both a hoarder and a lazy housekeeper…. and yet, I’m still nowhere near close to looking like any of the houses on Hoarders (the condition of which is, undoubtedly, heavily over-dramatized for maximum audience reaction like any other good reality show). In a cubbyhole under my TV I no longer watch are some unopened newspapers from 2009 when there was still a free paper delivered each week. I did throw most of them out a long time ago, but couldn’t part with all of them because on boring days I love looking back at time capsules like that years into the future…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The “Hoarders” show is a fascinating watch. At my new job, I’m supposed to help collectors (not hoarders) add to their collections with enticing product descriptions and advertisements–and help celebrate achievements, such as those who have collected thousands upon thousands of vinyl figures (toys). These figures are, at least, organized on shelves, cabinets, display cases–and I’ve started my own collection. (Help me.)

    Liked by 4 people

  4. You’re not a hoarder, Suzanne, but maybe you would be if you didn’t have an outlet for your treasures! Lol. I used to work with real hoarders and what a depressing situation. It really is a struggle for them to let go. And yes, Ken seems a little more on the edge! Ha!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. In Ken’s defense, it looks like he hoards or collects books aka knowledge, which is not a bad thing. I also really like that show and have the first two Seasons. I have never been a Hoarder but have had friends who are and the show teaches me patience in helping to deal with them.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I use to watch Hoarders too but then I saw an episode where they revisited previous people and two of them had their house even worse than before. That’s when I stopped watching it, I thought after all that trouble the Hoarder people did to help them and these mofos went back to worse than before. I was done, I can’t remember which episode it was.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My dirty secret is that I also love clocks. When I walk by places selling things and see a clock, I stop to admire it and think about where to put it in my house. But I don’t, SUZANNE, because I already have clocks. One that doesn’t work hangs in the garage. It’s thirty inches in diameter. It used to hang in the living room. I should give it away… Another one that doesn’t work hangs in the living room and is a faux Coke advertisement. A working clock in the office is a large one-dimensional blue coffee cup on a yellow saucer with metal coils representing steam rising from it. That’s it, other than the two clock radios, and the clock on the office weather station, and the crystal and silver clock that doesn’t work that IBM gave me as some reward for my service. Of course, there are also digital clocks on the microwave and range — blue readouts that must match the time on my Fitbit so that all of them change time at the same time — and the clock on the smart thermostat, of course. And computer and iPad clocks. And the television clocks. But that’s all. Because I don’t work and don’t go anywhere and don’t need no stinking clocks.

    Now it’s time for me to eat. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  8. So what exactly are those magazines Ken keeps in his closet? I’m going to guess they’re for photography, and there’s value in keeping relic–I mean records of a time before digital cameras even existed, much less standard, and photography required a whole set of skills that are most irrelevant now. And it’s not that hard to go from the hoarders to a show like American Pickers that I think helps people justify their hoarding habit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if people can sell stuff they’ve collected.
    Also here’s an episode I bet you’ve never seen.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I LOVE organising, but mostly the idea of it. I buy all the cool storage solutions, empty out a cupboard or drawer and just….regret all my life choices. It takes me a while but it’s so satisfying when the job is done! There’s a show on Netflix called The Home Edit which I adore, it’s not on the same level as Hoarders but still good!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I like the “happy endings”, too, but not for optimistic or compassionate reasons. I like to predict how long it will take the “former” hoarder to transform the place from Better Homes and Gardens to “condemned by order of the County” again. I usually place my bets on 2 to 3 weeks, maximum.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My wife is such a committed minimalist that when we watch Hoarders, she squirms and fidgets in her seat, mumbling, “That’s us… that’s us.” When the show is over, she shoots out of her chair to go “clean out.” Again: We’re minimalists, meaning we only keep things in the house that serve a useful, identifiable, and current purpose, so what she’s hustling off to throw out both confuses and worries me.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. but your office is much cuter & cozier… the sad thing is that I live next to one & it’s very sad – it’s like a part of the brain is in total denial – & when interventions happen, the place is back to horrendous within a short time. they eventually can’t get out of their own homes, sleep outdoors, in their cars – & forget about any child or pet who has to coexist…

    Liked by 2 people

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