It seems to me that people consider hoarding a BAD thing, ever since that TV show, Hoarders, started running on A&E. I don’t see it that way.
Hoarding can be a fun and rewarding hobby. The problem is that the term “hoarder” has acquired such a negative connotation. We can solve this merely by substituting a more positive title. Instead of “hoarder”, why not call the passionate collector an…
Animal Lover: If giving shelter to 93 cats doesn’t scream animal lover, I don’t know what does. Same for that lady who provides a refuge for millions of homeless cockroaches.
Conservationist: Think of the tons of waste that are kept out of our nation’s landfills when people choose to store their trash in their bedrooms.
Collector: Most hoarders have a fixation on a particular collectible i.e. Beanie Babies, broken ceiling fans or Tupperware. You have to admire their single-minded drive to acquire more of their chosen collectible. One lady on the show had a collection of angels. She couldn’t pass by anything at the thrift store that had an angel on it. Also anything that had wings, feathers, or started with the letter “a”.
Museum Curator: See “Collector” for a description of some of the interesting stuff these curators are preserving for posterity. They should charge admission to their homes (providing patrons can get the front door open).
Mountain Climber: The hoarder gets a great cardiovascular workout every time she has to scale Mount Trash to get to the corner of the broom closet where she sleeps.
Recycler: Everything is reused, because nothing is thrown out. Nothing. Ever.
Orienteer: Navigating through narrow paths surrounding by towering mountains (of stuffed bunnies in ruffled dresses); using nothing but a compass and instinct to reach your goal (the hotplate, the only working appliance in the house, which is hidden under a teetering pile of dirty dishes) – this sounds like the stuff of merit badges, not fodder for ridicule.
Librarian: Preserving every Reader’s Digest Condensed Books ever published is a service to all mankind.
Antiquarian: There has to be some treasure hiding among all that junk, if only you can unearth it. Several other reality shows have sprung up based on this premise, with dealers picking through the hoarder’s stuff for profit.
Historian: The hoarder can tell the riveting history of almost every item in their collection, like whether they went with the kiddie Mac-burger or kiddie Mac-nuggets in order to land their coveted prize.
Archaeologist: No need to go to Egypt. The hoarder’s home is a gold mine for scientific inquiry. Where else can you analyze a core sample of the 2 feet of filth covering someone’s bathroom floor, and determine exactly what he had to eat for lunch on May 5, 1997?
There you have it. If we remove all the judgment-laden verbiage from our dialogue, maybe this fascinating hobby and those who pursue it will finally get the respect they so richly deserve.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to dash. It’s 50% off yellow-tagged items at the Goodwill today and I need to get down there before all the good stuff is snapped up.