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The hoarder in me 3 June 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

I have a confession to make.

I am a hoarder. I like to keep things, I get attached to things. My brother would here interject with some lame joke like “don’t let the stuff own you, man”.

But it is true. I like my stuff. I only buy stuff I want.

I have an enormous box in my parents storage with plush toys. I am unable to give them up, because I gave them names and personalities. I can’t bear the thought of not owning them, even when I do not play with them. After all, they are tucked away in a box. It’s like my childhood is sitting there, safely, for me to collect one day.

Which is why my recent spring clean here in Vietnam was quite difficult for me. I have started to prepare for the move, by sorting, cleaning, buying, and, believe it or not, throwing away.

It’s not so much the broken items and my threadbare clothes, I can mostly get rid of them, especially when they have been sitting in the closet for a while. If I can rationalise enough to say “I will never wear this again, not even while painting a room” or “what was I thinking at the time of buying that” or even “I have gained 15 kilos since I bought that, there is actually no chance in hell that I will ever fit into that again”, then there is a good chance of it going out the door.

But, the Dutch in me hates throwing out things that are not broken. I hate wasting things. Especially clothing.

Luckily, I have been quite good at getting rid of old clothes here in Vietnam, because I know that it will be used by people who need it. So instead of taking up space in my cupboard, I place it in large, clean, plastic bags, and I bring it out to the curb, knowing that someone will end up picking it up and reusing it.

There are a few items of clothing that I am really attached to. Mostly, they are still in good condition, neat and beautiful. Most likely, they are from a different stage of my life (and I have had some crazy stages). Mostly, they are the mid-rif t-shirts I bought with my own money 15 years ago, but which were too precious to wear too often.

But I still love them. They express a sense of style of a younger me. I do not have a particularly good sense of dress, but they are just so… “me”. They are me 10-15 years ago. They are the me I worked so hard to discover. And that I was so happy that I eventually found. But they are not me now.

So they have been dragged around the world, from place to place, through moves and wardrobe changes. But they have not been worn for years. They have slowly sunk through the piles to the bottom of my wardrobe, never to be taken out except during spring cleans, when they are taken out, shaken out, smiled at, and refolded. As I was cleaning this time, they were still there. And I was going to keep them. Again.

But then, I changed my mind. What am I still doing with a bunch of teeny-bopper t-shirts that I will never ever be able to wear again? I don’t wear mid-rif t-shirts anymore. (And the world is thankful) But they are not worn or bad quality.

So I donated them to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

It was a difficult decision. Bringing them in, I almost changed my mind at the last minute. What if I was not doing this for the right reasons? What if I did eventually shift those last (15) kilos and became that skinny person again? I might… NO!


But today, a week after the donation, I saw one of the kids in the centre wear my favourite one. The one that I almost fished out of the bag after donating, almost took back home. The girl is about 15 years old. And she looked so wonderful and so proud of her new t-shirt. And it fit her perfectly.

And now I am at peace. I made the right decision.



1. BuddhaKAT - 3 June 2011

that was lovely to read!

2. HJK - 5 June 2011

When you own stuff, the stuff ends up owning you, man.

Oh, wait…

3. lizeth - 6 June 2011

Lovely written and…..well done!!

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