Boy! Do We Hoard?!


I was watching my little pup, Joey, stealthily sneaking away with my slipper into his den. He has made a number of little dens that we cannot fit into! Unfortunately for him, our hands do! His den has toys, used bottles, cardboard and anything he fancies (and he fancies everything) that he can lay his hands (read paws) on! I have grown up with dogs but just like most kids I was a fair weather friend and used to play with them when I had nothing better to do and so seldom had I observed them. Then again, Candy, the older one was mature and had no hoarding tendencies and Breezo was too busy chewing up everything to think about saving anything for later-he was an action dog!

Looking at Joey hoarding this way made me apply the zodiac sign bit on him. Crabs are known to hoard and he is born on the 8th of July. While researching on the subject I was enlightened with the fact the birds are the greatest hoarders and that caching was displayed by rodents and a few other animals too. However, with an exception of a few birds, animals usually stock food only.

Then again, I don’t think any animal hoards as much as humans do! It is a natural tendency. Why, I was sure my son wanted to be a rag picker when I used to see the tiny little fellow collect bottle caps, used cups, anything shiny or colourful- actually just about anything- while the other kids were busy playing or chomping on goodies at parties. Guess what, he still hoards and never lets go unless he cannot tolerate my sermon anymore! From his cigarette stub sized pencils to his dinky cars, his old broken toys, his gaming CDs that don’t work and many more such things.

As a kid, I used to hoard under the legitimate name of collection. Stamp and coin collecting because everyone praised my brother for his collection and I didn’t want to be left behind, feather collection, chocolate wrappers, stone collection, shells, shiny paper (Ok! I have let the cat out of the bag- my son’s rag picking tendencies have probably come from me) and even snake skin!! In my defense, I usually kept the collection for just a couple of years or less. My dolls, though, stayed with me till I had my kids, courtesy my Daddy, who kept them for me as I asked him to when I was leaving home (believe me, they weren’t worth looking at but I loved them). He gave them to me when he finally settled down and was giving away all his boxes much to the horror of my husband who wanted to discard the ugly lot immediately. Blood is thicker than water, said a wise man-Shakespeare, I think!!

I had never given any of this much thought till recently. For a couple of years now, I have been feeling the need to de-clutter and I do so often but I realize that hoarding has become a way of life. First I thought it was a part of being Indian, hoarding plastic bags, “dabbas” (plastic containers), boxes and any and everything that looked good and clothes! From the best party wear to very good to good to “ghar ke kapde” (clothes to wear at home read well worn to worn out clothes) to dusting cloth to poccha(to swab the floors) Indians can hoard and recycle everything but cannot think of giving away in time or plain throwing! I thought it was a middle class thing and then I realized the poorer you are, the more you’d like to hoard. Then you begin to realize that even the rich hoard- better things and for whatever reasons-cars and planes perhaps, but make no mistake, it is hoarding.

Again, as you age, letting go becomes even more difficult. You start collecting the good stuff while in your prime and in time you stock up for your kids, so that they don’t have to wait as long as you did to get that “xyz” and when your kids grow up they don’t want your prized possession (“Ma, what were you thinking? Gosh! No, I don’t want it”) but you cannot let go. If you are a daughter like me, you cannot say no to anything your parents offer so you take everything they want to give till you realize there is no place to keep anything including yourself!

Look at anything in your home from jewellery, to perfume to watches, to shades, to CLOTHES, to utensils, pencils, erasers, cosmetics, scissors-JUST ABOUT ANTHING-you don’t have just one of each item, you have plenty. We shifted to our new home, our own in April this year and for once, my husband and I were in complete agreement not to cart all our junk but to give away and we did- a whole, whole lot and guess what, our lofts in the new home are full, every drawer is full, every cupboard is full and our boxes in the garage are not empty either. Books, old diaries, papers (when it is time to burn them, they all seem so important-‘what if ‘scenarios come to mind and we quietly file them back in those sad looking file covers as we have for years), medicines (my home is a mini pharmacy), calendars, ear phones, highlighters- if you think my list is haphazard, well as I was writing I turned my head around the room and saw duplicates of all of the above!! Do you see the madness?

We are responsible for the Earth being in a danger zone, for we hoard more than we need, and manufacturers feed our weaknesses by manufacturing more and more, filling in their coffers not realizing that one day we shall all pay the price for this compulsive behavior of ours. Some simple methods include donating or discarding one non perishable item a day- we would have 365 things lesser in our home by the end of the year. To make it even more effective, every time to buy an item, give away an item. Sell stuff if you have to but stop hoarding! Fairly simple if you think about it.

While researching on the subject I found that not only do people in India and other undeveloped or developing countries hoard, I find that USA has statistics that show horrifying results! Now, you cannot get more progressive or richer than the United States as on date, so hoarding boils down to something beyond our personal and/or national economical situation. Besides, it is not as if we hoard on basic amenities, we hoard everything. Now hold your breath, I also found that hoarding is considered a disorder and that there are cases wherein due to emotional reasons people cannot let go of anything and find reasons including imaginary ones to hold on to everything reaching a stage when their living conditions become unhygienic with rodents infesting their homes thus making them prone to diseases and spreading the same in the neighbourhood.

I started out writing a funny blog but of late, no matter what I write about it seems to end on a serious note. I never ever thought something as simple as keeping stuff for sentimental reasons could end up showing such an ugly side.

Well, my dear readers let us begin to let go-material things and non material things like negative thoughts or sentiments beyond a certain point. After all, nothing is permanent, us neither, so why make unnecessary attachments and tie ourselves up in knots! Believe me, giving up material things is a lot easier than emotional baggage but the good news is that with a little effort it can all be done!


  1. Hoarder I am and that too how!! I still have my diaries from school days, school uniform , selective greeting cards from my besties and my prized possession- my books. I treasure each of these and no matter how much I know that hoarding is not good, my heart wins over my mind.
    Loved reading your blog, yet again. Keep writing dear friend and keep inspiring. Great read.

    1. Ha! Ha! Ha! I let go of my diaries a few years ago...a few still remain...trying to let them go too! Talking of uniforms, I had kept my sports rig from the cadet days and my daughter wears it now!! ;) Thank you Anvita, so much.You make me want to write more :) :)


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