I don’t watch the show “Hoarders.” Mostly because I’ve had the experience of cleaning out a hoarder house a few times in my life. It wasn’t mine (sheesh! How could you think such a thing?!). If you’ve ever cleaned out a hoarder house it will change your life and you’ll never leave a dirty plate for longer than 30 minutes. You definitely won’t leave a dog inside that isn’t house trained, or similarly, let a cat litter box sit dirty for longer than 12 hours.
The photo above isn’t even what I’d call a real “hoarder house.” It will probably seem nuance to most of you, but the photo above kind of makes me feel like begging the owner to let me organize it. Like I said nuance. It’s a fine line between hoarder and overflowing with ideas. This owner has so many ideas that the furniture can’t contain it. It would be a hoarder house if there were feces all over the contents. That’s where I draw the line.
This weekend I was up helping my friend prepare and manage a yard sale. We’ve waded through about 1/3 of the house’s contents so far. You’ll remember me mentioning my friend having moved into her late grandparents’ home. To be clear….NOT a hoarder house.
The problem is, every time I go up, I bring home some treasure I can’t live without like the sewing basket above. I love chenille, so I’m over the moon about this treasure. The thing is, loving secondhand stuff can quickly overtake your home if you’re not proactive. The stuff is so cheap, or free, that it’s easy to justify bringing it home.
So, to protect against impending “Hoarder” fame, today I cleaned up the insides of the sewing basket that I brought home yesterday. My idea was that this would be a prettier place to keep my embroidery stuff as opposed to the plastic bag that I keep near the couch so I can work when I watch TV. I knew that if I just stuck it in my studio it would never find it’s way back to its intended home.
I picked up this hand-embroidered table cloth at a thrift store last week. Having a square table makes it hard to find linens and I’d been looking for something to put on the table for daily use because it’s really starting to show it’s age. There isn’t one stain or moth-eaten hole on the piece, it’s stunning. $12! You can imagine the Happy Dance that took place when I ran across this.
When I got it home it needed a good washing to get that thrift store smell off it (what is that, anyway?). Ironing was in order as well to get the nearly permanent folds out of it. I know for a fact that if I had put it away it would have never graced my dining room table. Strike when the inspiration is fresh, otherwise, it’ll collect dust. I promise.
Sometimes you buy stuff just because you can’t walk away without it. This happens with thrift shopping a lot because items cost nearly nothing. The “Hostess’s Complete Handbook” in the background of this photo cost $1. How could I walk away? The thing is, I don’t know what to do with it……I just had to have it. (I know some of you are out there yelling, “Read it, Moron. Learn a thing or two!” I started to read it, but it talks about things like polishing silver and using manners….EWWW!)
My advice when you make impulse buys with no plan? Stick it somewhere that you’ll see it every day, that way it will be in your face every day saying, “Why did you leave me here? Surely there’s a better place for me!” (Of course there is, and stop calling me Shirley.) If you walk by it every day you’ll eventually find a better place for it.
This is where I read in the morning while drinking my coffee. It doesn’t look horrible there, but I’ll be reminded every day that surely there’s a better place for it. (Probably, but again, stop calling me Shirley).
To sum up: The difference between hoarders and people with a lot of ideas……..time. My best guess (based on personal experience) is that if you commit to using your thrift store finds within 7 days, you’ll probably avoid being the subject of a “Hoarder” episode. It’s a guideline………….not a promise.