My name is Steven and I am a hoarder. Or at least I am if you ask my mother.
Either before, during or after Channel 4 has aired its latest piece of sensationalism on the subject I will be invited to discuss my own growing “problem”. You see, I have four boxes of belongings in the garage at my parents’ house containing DVDs (mostly, with the Harry Potter set and a few others repeated on Blu-ray), books and other souvenirs from my 25-year existence. Four.
I personally don’t think that’s something to be worried about, averaging out as it does at about one box for every six years of life. I have so far only lived with my parents, in halls at university and in a flat with friends, so this concentration of clutter will — I hope — one day be spread out over a home all of my own.
The biggest bugbear seems to be the surplus of paper. To me it is only practical to hold onto paperwork, particularly given the bureaucratic nature of the society we live in. It seems you cannot apply for a job, fill out a form or sign up for a new loyalty card these days without having the last year’s personal admin to hand.
You never know what information you are going to need should you ever forget your password, become famous enough to warrant an autobiography, or live long enough to see zombies rise up and overrun the planet. Honestly, that old Physics workbook could be humanity’s last hope. It’s just called being prepared.
Admittedly, I am not the tidiest human being on the planet and my belongings could probably be arranged a little more nearly, but I am by no means as bad as the poor souls offered up by such programmes for judgement and general “entertainment”, each living in his or her own personal Room Of Hidden Things. My stock of newspapers doesn’t date past April, tops, and it’s far from a complete set.
The main issue for me at least is nostalgia. Whenever I can be coerced into rifling through old folders and plastic wallets I find myself overwhelmed with memories that I had long thought lost. Postcards remind me of forgotten friends, photographs take me back to distant places, and old essays make me question anew just how exactly I achieved a degree.
Hours have passed and I’m still sitting on the floor surrounded by debris, my flat or bedroom looking far more disordered than it had done to begin with. I still have old action figures and Pokémon cards, board games and my Nintendo 64. I don’t want to sound too materialistic, but these things are — or at least were — a part of me, and to simply throw them out just doesn’t seem right.
Paradoxically, however, there is a small part of me that wishes I could just chuck everything out and start afresh. As an aspiring travel writer, and someone who has moved frequently in the past, there would undoubtedly be an advantage in being able to live out of a single suitcase. Indeed, while I was in Russia I was able to live without my Futurama boxed sets and collection of decorative masks just fine.
But I just know that I’d almost immediately regret it, I honestly don’t see the issue with holding onto a few things. I’ve kept them for this long, why not a little longer? Wardrobes, Sky+ and in-boxes are there to be filled, and that’s just what I’m doing. After all, it’s much easier to throw things out than it is to try and one day get them back. They can always be thrown out at a later date anyway.
So what do you have lurking in your basement? Or is one suitcase all you need?