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Things I Have Learned: Hoarding something of value

Today’s Wisdom: “I can amass countless fortunes and yet stand with empty hands.” Craig Lounsbrough

Like most folks I am fascinated by the television shows exploring the living arrangements of hoarders. While I understand there is an element of mental health involved in the most over-the-top cases, the desire to hang on to stuff is shared by many of us.

I also find it a bit odd that if our stash is in our living space it is considered an unhealthy life style, but if it is all in a barn out back it is an interesting hobby. We look with pity on the lady with trails weaving through the stash in her home watching Hoarders but drool over all the cool stuff the guys find in the shed on American Pickers.

I am proud to say that my home will attract neither program. While my wife thinks my work bench and office might be strong candidates for a show titled Unorganized, neither will provide much of substance to my eventual auction.

In rural America, those auctions are a normal part of life. I have been to many, usually coming home with little to nothing. I find them great places for people watching, however. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of folks leave this world with an awful lot of stuff left behind. I can tell most of it they haven’t used in years.

Perhaps they hung on to it because in some way they felt it was a part of their identity. In fact, one does pick up some of that in observing their tools, toys and accumulations of life. But I have never heard a conversation at an auction or anywhere else about what a great guy or gal this person was because of all of their stuff. That stuff is forgotten by the community by the next day.

What I do recall hearing many of over a lifetime though, are people’s stories. What did they accomplish? Who did they help? How did they fit into their community? Why will we miss them? I doubt it will be because we miss their stuff. I suspect it will be because they had a great story. Perhaps what we should be hoarding are stories.

I’m just sayin.’

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