Serendipity | Savers, Hoarders, Sorters



People who are savers do not understand people who aren’t, and vice versa. Saving here does not refer to money, but rather to what I call treasures. We can agree that “treasures” are defined in myriad ways by folks with dramatically different outlooks on life and possessions. Lately I’ve taken to referring to my treasures as archives. The latter word gets much more respect and credibility.

Growing up, I don’t recall hearing the word “hoarder.” It joins the list of many words I didn’t hear in my youth, but that’s an article I might not choose to write. My mother was a saver extraordinaire, but absolutely not a hoarder. That behavior goes much beyond sentimental saving, and is a mental health issue. Some people, like my mother, sister and I enjoy saving because if we liked or benefited from something the first time around, we believe it will be useful in the future. Many times it is, but not always. So we put it aside, waiting for the golden moment when it makes a comeback.

Bucket lists are another combination of words I didn’t hear growing up, but thanks to the 2007 hit movie, “The Bucket List,” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, we’re familiar with the idea of making a list of things we want to see or do before we literally “kick the bucket.” Travel is a frequent goal on the list, as is the purchase of a higher end item, a ritzy vacation, and other goals extending beyond most people’s everyday realities. For the past 11 years, I’ve been pondering what to include on my Bucket List. I’ve decided the top choice on my list, while probably not a favorite with many people, definitely appeals to me. I’m sorting through every item in my house and making a decision about continuing to keep it, pass it on to someone else who would enjoy it, donate it, or simply throw it away.

My purpose is not to burden others with my possessions. I relinquish control over things given to family or friends. If they choose to dispose of it, that’s their prerogative. If I donate it and it’s sold for 50 cents, so be it. If it’s one of my treasured papers among my archives, I hope someone derives pleasure from reading it and then in the shredder or the trash it can go. No strings attached to my give-a-ways.

As I sort through my keepsakes, I’m enjoying pleasures of reliving my life as I go through books, articles, magazines, cards received and even jokes I saved knowing someday they’d merit another laugh. And, yes, there are a few items for which I have no clue as to why they’re still around.

Sorting pertains to papers, decorations and general “stuff.” My youngest child is 41, and I’ve finally made the difficult decision to give away the chest of drawers that converted into an infant changing table. When its original purpose was finished, I used it for storage. I’ve given up storing so much.

This process is cathartic, heartwarming, sad, educational and entertaining. Even better, it’s making my family’s eventual task of disposing of my archives and treasures much easier. And I’m enjoying a grand time doing it. “Spring Cleaning” productively and enjoyably achieved!

Sandra Dempsey Post

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