This is a guest post by Jane Knuth.
We get donations from families of deceased hoarders occasionally at St. Vinnies. They bring in boxes and bags of everything imaginable, most of which should have been discarded decades ago. Hoarders are a trendy fixation. There are reality shows about hoarders, books about hoarders, magazine articles about them, and jokes about them. There are newspaper hoarders, food hoarders, fabric hoarders, and cat hoarders. With all the recent press about hoarding, many people are looking into their closets and beginning to wonder about themselves.
I don’t wonder. I know. I am a story hoarder.
I keep stories that go back to my childhood that I haven’t told to anyone in forty years. My father’s and grandmother’s stories are in a safe place; I’m not exactly sure where, but I will never throw them away. If I hear a good story, the first thing I do is make a note on a scrap of paper and tuck it into my purse. If someone asks me any kind of question about anything at all, I will more than likely answer them by telling a story.
I don’t think intervention is necessary, but these things are hard to judge for oneself.
Perhaps I should have someone observe me…
Jane Knuth is the author of Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25¢ at a Time. She has been volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for the last 15 years.