I’m saving that for later

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You know, sometimes children can be so rude! My children have known for many years that I am a borderline hoarder, but it’s no reason for them to point it out. This week, however, my older daughter sent me an article, which in essence, said that a person should live their life in such a way that when their children have to clean out their houses, they spend a lot of time saying, “What in the (foul word) was she saving this for? She added that maybe I would be sitting on a cloud somewhere laughing as they tried to sort through the “collections” in my house.

Now, if you’re reading this while you are at the same time looking at a collection of old rubber bands and ripped up hair bands or maybe your collection of broken silverware, you are a person who understands me. No one knows just when I might need those bank books that are no longer current and no longer on any bank still operating in the state, but maybe I can use them for my memoirs. And if not, then my children will have to say, “What was Mother doing with these?” as they pitch them out in the overflowing trash.

I have magazines that are so old, they may be considered first editions and I have no intention of throwing them away, because they contain crossword puzzles that I will do “someday” or they contain recipes I want to try if I ever collect the bizarre ingredients. There is even one in there for a hair rinse formula that is homemade and will give your hair a lustrous shine, but I have to keep all of the magazines so I don’t throw it away, right?

I come from a long line of “collectors”. My mother always saved those covers that grocery stores put on cakes and other baked goods. When I finally helped her clean her attic, we filled a large trash container with them…along with the families of bugs which had lived in them rent-free for years. My grandmother, on the other hand, diligently saved the little foil wrappers that came covering her snack cakes. I once picked up a bread bag filled with these neat little tin foil squares and asked, “What are you going to do with these?” Without missing a beat, she answered, “They will be your wedding present.”

So you see, I really have no choice except to be a hoarder. I have collections of yarn in various containers throughout the house. I am afraid to collect it all in one place because I am afraid it would fill a large closet and I’d be forced to do something with it. My children will have to sort it out when I’m gone, saying things like, “Would you tell me why Mom was saving three partial skeins of dirt-gray yarn? What are we supposed to do with this?”

Collecting has always seemed frugal to me. For instance, doesn’t everyone have a button jar or something containing all the broken, mis-matched buttons they have collected over the years? You never know when you will find a button that works perfectly for an empty button hole. In the same closet I have held on to every dress pattern that I ever acquired. So what if some of them are for sundresses only the young could wear and most of them are of a size that I maybe never was? They might be useful someday.

It will be up to my daughters to figure out what I was doing with a dish full of china pieces (I planned to glue them together one day) and why there is a medium-sized basket which contains all of the obsolete keys I have ever collected. I have this recurring dream that I will come across a door someday that has the secrets to life behind it and it will be locked and only I have a key–somewhere in that basket! I kind of hope my children have enough of me in them that they will be afraid to throw away those keys for fear of facing that very same locked door.

So yes, when my children are finally forced to sort through my houseful of junk, they are going to have to separate the wheat from the chaff as they go. Something tells me that there will be a lot of, “What the (bad word) was Mother going to do with this?” as they sort through the jar lids that are bent, poked with holes or missing their rubber rings. I will look very mysterious when they find the bag full of mis-mated socks in the hall closet and the collection of plastic lids (with no containers) falling out of the kitchen cupboards. They should thank me, though, because I am convinced that the plastic shopping bags I have crammed into one large cupboard on their own will be worth something as collectors’ items. You never know!

So I say, yes, I will be sitting on a cloud watching my children staggering through the houseful of junk. But I won’t be laughing. Instead I’ll be screaming, “Don’t throw away all of those used twist ties! Do you know how long I had to save those to get so many?”

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