Keeping things just for the sake of keeping things.

February 1st, 2019 by John Morris

Hoarding stuff is not my way although my wife, Lyn may disagree. One thing keeping me from this extreme way of life is my history with hoarders.

When my Dad’s mother moved from one home to another, he assigned me to help her. My Dad decided I would help her after school and on weekends. I wondered why I was the chosen one since I had two Aunts and four cousins living near her. They knew to get scarce I guess.

GrandMa had worked at a local thrift store for years. When I walked through her home, the message I got was the store didn’t throw anything away, my Grandmother just boxed it up and took it home. Once there, she simply stockpiled it never to be used again.

We’d load volumes of low worth items into her station wagon and unload them into the new destination’s basement. I was at her home for about two weeks and rejoice when I got the word I no longer would be going there.

I wonder whatever happened to that mobile junkyard she kept. I am better off not asking.

My business partner, Harry Crosson managed to fill his home with so much “stuff” visitors would need to move boxes around to get across a room. When he moved, he asked me to help him with the move. He had family, but he would suffer the high price of their disapproval.

Moving Harry from his single home to a one bedroom apartment required the rental of a storage locker equal in size to a tractor/trailer. His belongings in the new apartment caused a redecoration in the fashion of his old home. Stuff was jammed into all conceivable areas. The move took a week of six hour days, and the move was only two blocks away.

A story to illustrate the way of the hoarder.

As we started the move, I suggested to Harry that he first go through his stash and throw things away. “NO!”, he said. I then reached into a box and removed a nearly empty box of chocolate covered cherries. It looked to be years old. I said, “Why are you keeping this?” He shot back, “Well, someone may want it.” I said, ” May I have it?” After he said, “Yes”, I threw it into a trash can to make a point. Harry used moves and reflexes of a younger man as he scurried across the room to reclaim the box. I tried to explain there is zero chance anyone will ever eat the candy so it a burden to keep it and all the other things like it. The chocolate in the box went to the storage locker. It was still there when he died. Then it was someone else’s problem.

In 2016, I reorganized my humble bedroom using the KonMarie method*. I cleared a lot of stuff I was not going to ever use. Even today, I stored clothes and other items a la KonMari.

Maybe with my past history with hoarders and my newly found “sparking joy” way of life, I will not descend into the self-loathing ways of hoarder.



The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.