There's no place like home. There's definitely no place like my home. The left side of a century-old three-story house, my apartment is hardwood floored and adorned with quaint albeit non-working fireplaces. The rest is filled with all manner of flotsam, jetsam and shoes. To me, it is a kaleidoscope of color and whimsy, as if my brain was some kind of awesome antique store, its shelves lined with my memories. To others, it's kind of junky.
There's a sort of tunnel vision one gets when it comes to their own house. And tunnel hearing, tunnel smell, etc. When you spend the most time in your own place, then it becomes harder to take in the things that surround you, as they tend to blend in the background amongst your everyday activities. A sink full of dirty dishes becomes something you pass by as you are going to and fro your millions of daily duties. Its resulting stink may just waft past you once, and then be forgotten under a pile of other responsibilities. And this, my friends, is how hoarders are born.
I've seen enough episodes of "Cat Ladies In Filth" and "Shopping Bag Avalanches" to know that I may be on the path to hoarderdom. There aren't any mummified critters squashed under piles of unopened QVC boxes or anything, but there are some things I could probably do without. I don't usually realize this until people come over and notice the crusty sink I totally meant to scrub out yesterday or the tumbleweeds of cat hair blowing across the floor. And that carton of expired eggs? Those are being saved for an epic prank, duh.
Let's walk through my living room: You are greeted by a giant stuffed walrus I saved from the side of the road (which was thoroughly Febreezed), which sits atop a curved sofa bequeathed from my grandfather. About a foot and a half of back issues of Spin stand next to the sofa, in case you need something to read for the next six months. A giant wooden toybox filled with shoes sits to the right of the door, with the most-used shoes for this season lined up neatly (well, usually neatly). Fireplace filled with about 200 VHS tapes (I still watch them all!). Chair filled with stuffed animals I won from the claw machine (I am a claw machine master). Bookshelf lined with books, yo-yos, Rubik's cubes, fancy gloves, purses, bobbleheads, crayons, broken sunglasses to be repaired, and a million other things that don't belong on a bookshelf. Computer desk littered with band stickers to be stuck, Coca-Cola caps to be redeemed, posters to be hung, CDs to be uploaded. And the less said about the coffee table, the better.
Yes, I still have my fourth-grade spelling bee trophy. Yes, I own not one, not two, but three Caboodles. Boxes of schoolwork from college sit in the basement in case I need to bone up on my oceanography and Venn diagrams. Two broken sofas sit in the guest bedroom waiting for the indiscriminate overnighter. I have roughly the number of plates my parents own, squared. A box of 600 plastic rosaries sits in my hallway, a birthday present I accepted no questions asked. Atari, Nintendo and Super Nintendo games live together in harmony in a box upstairs, nestled on top of a Nintendo Power Pad that I never used and don't know where it came from.
I have attempted to quell the wave of junk that threatens to engulf me. Once, after a roommate moved out leaving the bulk of his belongings, I had a party and invited everyone to take whatever they wanted out of his room. Lucky pals went home with lamps, old Cellular One employee shirts and boxes of coathangers. I had a reasonably successful rummage sale table last year, where I discovered that people will buy used human dog collars.
I'm not dirty, not necessarily messy, just busy and cluttered. I'm also sentimental, which has me on the lookout for future hoarding tendencies. I have managed to pare down my childhood into about four boxes. My whole houseful of stuff could easily fit into one moving van.
I Swiffer my way through the living room once in awhile. Antibacterial wipes are in the rotation. I'd say three quarters of the flooring is entirely visible. I'm OK for now. It's spring, and the scent of Pine-Sol is in the air. Cleaning soon will be done, and I look forward to dusting off, physically and mentally.
But as soon as my parents force me to take my stuff out of their basement, I'll have to start keeping a closer eye on my cat.