Confessions of a Former Hoarder

I used to be a hoarder. And by hoarder I mean someone who would surround herself with paper products like magazines with cover lines like, “200 Fashion Tips for the Fashion Foolish,” “101 Great Canapes,” or “The Sexless Marriage: You Decide.”  All of which I was always *thisclose*  to using in my work as a journalist and magazine editor-in-chief, which ultimately ended up being used. Not. At. All.

I wasn’t exactly like the poor souls that shared their home with used carbon paper, boxes of menthol cigarettes, and dozens of rat traps from Costco (their sales can be the bomb), but I came thisclose.

One time a guy I was dating came over to my meticulously clean home, and by clean I mean I tossed everything into my closet even my dirty laundry which hadn’t been touched washed in months weeks days. As we were leaving for dinner, I looked for my keys, and to my horror realized that I must have also tossed them in the closet.

So, I opened the closet door and everything came tumbling out; bras, panties, blouses, socks, random ripped out newspaper clippings, unopened boxes (I owe the UPS man from 2002 many apologies–the packages WERE delivered), books and of course lots and lots of magazines.

Unperturbed I jumped into the pile, with the enthusiasm of a toddler throwing herself into a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, shifted around a few bras, packages, papers and magazines, and happily held up the keys like I had won the lottery shouting “I found them.” He looked at me as if I were holding up Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress and I knew he found me hot (or was it disgusting)? Or both. Because isn’t a Meat Dress both hot and disgusting?

Well, it took another boyfriend, he of the dour disposition coupled with the abilities of Mr. Fix It to avail me of my habit. As one day he forlornly watched me go through my piles of crap, his only sullen comment was, “Estelle, do you think you’d miss that?” in the tone of Henry Higgins trying to rein in an unruly Eliza Doolittle. My overly defensive response: “Yes, this 1995 Better Home and Gardens recipe for beef lasagna might be useful some day.”

Here is the gist of our conversation, at least what I remember (you know the fumes of that Meat Dress stay with you).

Him: You don’t cook, nor do you write about cooking, or edit a cooking magazine.
Me: I might one day.
Him: You never eat pasta.
Me: I might one day.
Him: Get rid of it.
Me: Um, ok.

Finally, my apartment was clean, about one year before I met my husband in 2003. And today, despite the presence of a very covert preschooler, my home is clutter free, except for the bedroom. It’s the one place my husband and I can indulge our inner hoarders, and pile up our laundry. Have I mentioned we hate doing laundry? But we’re working on it. And by working on it I mean Not. At All.

And my subscriptions to magazines have all been cancelled. And by cancelled, I mean I read them, but at the manicure place. In fact I’m reading one now. And Lady Gaga is on the cover. But not in a Meat Dress. That would be messy.

About the Author

Estelle Sobel Erasmus is an award-winning journalist, author, blogger and columnist who went from dating diva to married lady to older mom in the blink of an eye. She is a 2012 BlogHer Voice of the Year, a 2012 Listen to Your Mother NYC cast member, and a 2012 Circle of Mom’s Winner for Top 25 Best Family Blogs by a Mom. In her blog Musings on Motherhood and Mid-Life she chronicles her often humorous, sometimes serious, and always transformative journey through motherhood and marriage. Her latest funny escapade involves Preschool Speak for 5 Common Phrases Used on a Cruise. Her goal this year, to crack that Babble egg. Find Estelle on twitter at @mommymusings011.


photo credit: bravenewtraveler via photopin cc

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  1. Lovelyn says:

    I’ve used the closet trick before, but never had to find something in almost the mess while my company was there. How mortifying! Loved your post.

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  2. Cindy Brown says:

    Love this piece and your writing style. Great sense of humor! So nice to “meet” you. Meat you? That dress WAS something, huh?

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  3. I can get a bacterial infection just by listening to Paparazzi.

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