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A hoarder or a minimalist?

Until just a few years ago, I don’t believe I ever heard the term “hoarder” in reference to anything but squirrels and other animals that store up nuts and foods to be used later. The television show called “Hoarders” that started in 2009 introduced to us a condition some people have, in which they fill their houses with accumulations of stuff. What they amass literally fills their houses. The person who does this is known as a hoarder.

Minimalist lifestyle is another term I hadn’t heard until recently. This is the exact opposite of a hoarder lifestyle. A minimalist simplifies life by having only what is needed, or eliminating items until just the minimum amount of stuff remains in the home.

My husband and I started watching “Hoarders” on TV when it first aired. We were awestruck to see what was happening in these peoples’ homes, and as we looked around our own home, we compared their houses to our house. It was a relief to know that we were not hoarders. Although we had a lot of stuff in our home, we felt we had a certain degree of control with our accumulations.

I am a very sentimental person, and I cherish the things given to me by loved ones and items that were passed down in my family, particularly those items I remember as a child. I also treasure what my husband and I have accumulated together over the years. I have a collection of thimbles and he has a collection of beer steins. We became interested in lighthouses, and so over the years we collected pictures and figurines of different lighthouses.

All over our house you will find our collections and our family mementos. I love our home, with our assortment of items. It’s our beloved home, the one my husband and I have cultivated over the years, with its character that matches with our own. There are not many monetarily valuable items in our house. They are valuable only to us.

I come from a family of junkers. We love to go to yard sales and thrift stores, auctions and estate sales. My parents did these activities long before it was popular. I remember as a child having furniture in our house that came from auctions, and I grew to appreciate the frugality in buying used items. As a family we always had such fun finding treasures that were cast off from other homes.

About 20 years ago, I made a determination that what we have in our house needs to belong to any one of five categories: 1) Must be consumable, 2) Is being currently used or displayed, 3) Is seasonal, which means it can legitimately be boxed away until that season, 4) Can be gifted to someone, or 5) Needs to be pitched.

I would say that we are certainly not minimalists, and hopefully we would not be classified as hoarders. We are somewhere in between the two extremes. I hope we will never become a hoarders. However, it is hard for me to think as a minimalist thinks. I cherish too many of the items I have.

One thing we must always remember. It is not the material possessions that are important in this life. It is who we are and how generous and loving we are to each other. Look in your closets and cupboards and rooms. Do you see something you don’t need? Maybe someone else would like to have it.

• • •:

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

— Matthew 6:21

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