I, The Hermit Crab

Real Woman Philosophy #62:  No matter how much space you give us, we will fill it.

I don’t consider myself to be a hoarder.  Nor am I especially messy.  I’m certainly not an extravagantly wealthy woman with a large disposable income to buy trinkets.  Yet, somehow, I have a lot of stuff.  And like the proverbial hermit crab, if you give me a larger environment, my stuff will grow to fill it.  Give me a closet and I will fill it.  Give me a cabinet or cupboard, I will fill it.  Give me a basement storage area, I will fill it.  It does not seem to matter the size.  The home we live in now is larger than our previous home.  It is certainly not a mansion, by any means, but we went from a one-story ranch with two bedrooms and one bath to a two-story colonial with 3 1/2 bedrooms and 2 ½ baths.   Like some kind of wayward magic, I do believe I had every portion of this house filled within a year of moving in.

Does stuff just multiply?  I don’t recall going on major buying sprees, and much of what I have is not new.  But it has somehow magically accumulated in my environment.  I will have binge-moments where I do a major clean out, donate lots of items, throw away bags of stuff.  And for a short period of time I will feel cleansed.  I will enjoy walking freely through my basement. I will enjoy being able to easily find something in a closet.  Then-bam- when I’m not looking, it fills in again.  I know I have help in this – I live with my husband, my son, and a dog, each with their own large quantity of belongings that need to go somewhere.

Interestingly, this phenomena is not just reserved to rooms and closets in the house.  Our garage?  Full.  The car when prepped for a road trip?  Full.  My refrigerator?  Full.  My brain?  Full.

cluttered deskI was at work today, cruising along attempting to get projects done, and I suddenly realized I had done it again – my nice roomy desktop was completely covered.  I had once again filled whatever space I had.  I had sprawled and oozed onto the entire surface.  Now I will come clean (pun intended) and admit that every evening before leaving for the day, I pick up, put away, and re-pile.  Just like every night at home I can’t go to bed if there is a sink full of dishes – I am compelled to take care of them.  I don’t feel at ease unless I clean the house once a week.  So on the surface, a visitor would potentially never know about my issues with “stuff.”   Until they took a closer look and noticed the boxes and piles in certain corners, or dared open a closet door to peer in.

I wonder…do celebrities with ginormous homes actually fill their spaces?  Or is there a maximum size of environment that one has to hit to finally not be able to fill it?  Could it be that they live in homes with empty closets?

Yes, I suppose I could be better about not saving “stuff”. I could subscribe more closely to the theories of Living Simply.  I could not hold onto things for 30 years that I really don’t need.  But what is the fun in that?  Everything has a story to tell, every full closet holds the promise of a treasure hunt.  Maybe instead of feeling like I need to clean out, I should be proud of the fact that I’m apparently living my life – fully.




About Real Women

A "real woman" mom, wife, worker, friend, sister, daughter....
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