Friday, May 20, 2011

Hoarding and Tossing: Two Sides of the Coin

We hear so much about hoarding as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires medical help. Why don't we hear more about the parallel form of obsessive-compulsive disorder? Why doesn't it have a cute, catchy name? I propose "tossing." If you compulsively waste things that might be useful to yourself or others because you're obsessed with maintaining a bare surface, you're a TOSSER.

In the U.K., "tosser" is a fairly rude thing to call anyone...and as a person who's often blessed my ancestors who were sane, frugal savers of useful objects, and blasted the ones who tossed objects that might have been useful, I feel that a fair amount of rudeness is totally appropriate when we're talking about the people who waste things they or their heirs might actually need.

Tossers have a tendency to become itchy when they visit the homes of people who save useful objects. "Ohhh, how can you possibly clean all those boxes and shelves and closets full of stuff? Are you sure you're not a hoarder? Well, then you need to get rid of this stuff! If you've not used it within a year, it's useless! Gotta pitch it out so you can buy new stuff!"

Tossers need to be pulled up short, like runaway dogs. If it's something that might become useful, or acquire collector appeal, during the next fifty years, it's not useless. If it's something like a wedding gown that's waiting to be used by the next generation, it may need to be in an attic or storage barn rather than in your crowded closet, but it does not need to be tossed. Tossers need to be reminded that THEY need medical help...more than most of the people they rush to confuse with truly sick hoarders.

Here's a link to a friend (feel free to tell her you found me here) that describes genuine hoarders: