Walking With a Ghost (confessions of a “hoarder”)

A few days ago we went to an estate sale. At least, I’m pretty sure we went. It could have been a dream in which I was being guided by some character only Dickens could think up.

Ghost of Jacob Marley Closeup

As I walked through only two rooms of the home, I saw jars of beads, crates of fabric, paint, yarn, how to books on beading, mosaics, drawing, water coloring… I have all these books! I also have jars of beads, drawers of fabric, a closet full of paints, baskets of rubber stamps and stacks of paper –  don’t even get me started on the paper. Then there are the interesting assortments of miscellaneous items I’ve hoarded away, all of which I’m positive I need to create my magnum opus ..SOMEDAY.

I only made it through two rooms of the house because frankly, I got  sacred. I felt a surge of panic well up inside me. Much like a junkie might feel when they walk past an old familiar crack house. While I had an overwhelming urge to quickly hire a U-Haul to have all those wonderful goodies speedy delivered to my house, I also had a short (somewhat terrifying) glimpse into my future. Or should I say my kid’s future.

Scream Cropped

I could see the expressions on their faces as they sorted and catalogued all the items for my future estate sale.  Each hoarded item reaffirming what they joked about my entire life – “Yep, she was a crazy one”.  I imagined their confusion when trying to explain to my grand kids just what their grandmother could have been thinking by keeping all this JUNK.

What do you suppose she was going to do with this:

or these:

And why in the world would she want to save all this?

I can only imagine their horror and confusion at this:

The Skeleton I Found In My Electrical Socket

Now, I didn’t take this picture, but I did happen upon such a find last year while unpacking our house hold goods. My initial revulsion quickly turned to love at first sight as I thought of  how I could use this little guy in a nature collage. And yet, a little voice inside my head kept yelling:

Since I’m not 100%  ready to make the jump from artsy old cat lady to freakishly creepy shut-in I had to let him go; in symbolic recognition of my still intact sanity at least.

But yet am I really crazy? What I truly find crazy is all the stuff people throw away; the lack of creativity and resourcefulness. Sure, there might be little use for ten-year old cell phones or a decaying critter carcass, but I find it just a little sad when I see past “must haves” tossed out on the curb.

And while it’s true, I’ve hoarded away a lot of miscellaneous items which on their own are junk, I have managed to actually do SOMETHING with some of it (eventually).

I’ve blogged about a few of my “creations”; a pouffe from a discarded cable spool and fabric scraps; a painting from old cords, tiles and a ripped canvas; a mosaic stool from old CD’s and beads; a mosaic table from an old papasan chair base and a stack of plates someone threw away.

While my work may not be gallery quality, I enjoy doing it. I find great satisfaction in making something from nothing while feeling I’ve also contributed in a small way to the survival of mother earth.

Yes, I will continue to gather and collect, build and create and also question my sanity daily. So far, my collecting has little impact on our quality of life; my house isn’t cluttered or in disorder and perhaps my creations will give my kids and grandkids something amusing to talk about at my estate sale (rather than just rummaging through buckets of cords and jugs of buttons mumbling about my questionable sanity).

What about you? Are you a collector / saver / hoarder? Are there certain items you just can’t throw away? What creative things have you made with your found and saved objects?


  1. Glad you have found something (Art), that brings you joy. I tend to unintentionally collect paper: newspaper, coupons, bills, notes to self, important papers, and all other pieces of paper that have no purpose. Sigh.


  2. I run estate sales for a living and I have seen it all. Probably literally. Most houses that I do sales in are stuffed full of stuff. They aren’t hoarders (well, not all of them), they are just people who have held on to things that are important to them for one reason or another. Probably during the person’s lifetime, all of the stuff was neatly put away in closets, drawers and behind closed doors. Then I’m invited in and all of the secrets stashes come out. Most people who come to an estate sale these days have watched shows about hoarders, and when they see the amount of things in the sale, they make the assumption that the previous tenant was in the grips of the same disorder as those on the show. Not true, usually. That mound of stuff is likely the same size mound that you would find in just about any ordinary person’s home in the US, and probably in most of the civilized world. I’m pretty sure it’s true in the western half of the US, at least, because it has been true in all of the 200+ homes I’ve worked in. So, don’t question your sanity just yet.


    • Thanks so much! I don’t actually consider myself a real hoarder, and I don’t believe the home I talk about in my post was that of a hoarders either. I just scare myself sometimes with what I keep. I have to tell my self at some point Enough Already!


  3. twistnpout, I understand completely. I often use the houses to scare myself into straightening up and giving away so that I don’t have to worry about becoming an actual hoader. 😉


  4. I’m sure if someone tried to clean out my craft room, they would suspect hoarding tendencies. I got your nice note on my blog (Junk&Stuff) about linking to my Altoids tin tutorial. I replied on my blog, but I wasn’t sure you’d get a notification, so I thought I’d reply here as well. By all means, link away. I really enjoy altering Altoids tins, so I’m happy to share what I’ve discovered.


  5. Hi Twistnpout. I have voted you for the Lovely Blog Award. Your posts are enlightening, aspirational and I love reading them. My mum is a massive hoarder so I am the opposite. I like to not be attached to physical items and enjoy the satisfaction of bagging up and chucking/giving away. In fact I moved last week and was pretty brutal with my wardrobe of over flowing clothes and gave abut three or four bagfuls to charity. Boy it felt good! Clear the clutter and clear the mind! 🙂

    Anyway back to the Lovely Blog Award. As a nominee, all you need to do is follow these simple rules;
    Create a post including the Lovely Blog Award Logo, thank the person who nominated you and nominate 15 others. See my post as an example Happy blogging! x



    • Oh my gosh- what a nice surprise. Thank you so much. Give me a bit of time to get my self together on this nomination – not sure I can come up with 15 other blogs…

      TTYS soon. Thanks again 🙂


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