Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life in a Shoe Box: Purge vs Hoard

I have an issue with stuff. It's taken over my home. There are two reasons why this has happened. 1. My husband is a closet hoarder.  2. My apartment does not not have enough closets to hide it all.  

My number 2 is questionable because the 2 build-in closets and one walk-in mean that I have more closet space than 125 % of Cariocas.  So essentially I can't bitch. 

Except number1 and number 2 do not necessarily work well together. And no, I have no responsibility in this.  Zero, zip, Nada.  Ok, maybe a little bit. But number one is not far off.  You see, I was reading Danielle's post about packing and her move.  She made a comment that I totally related to: 

"How did we accumulate so much stuff? Where is it going to go?"

When we were moving my husband out of his childhood apartment and the amount those cabinets barfed up was astounding.  It was Crapapalooza and it was all being boxed and brought to my house.  

I'm not saying my dear Mr. Rant collects crap. He just has a difficult time throwing certain things away.  Maybe old tax statements make it easier to sleep at night. Quite possibly, the 3,000 pairs of shoes remind him of all the paths he has walked in life. And, perhaps, his multitude of 80s style photo albums bring his almost middle aged heart peace, as he has proof he has lived. 

I get it and it's awesome. Of course there's the whole thing that I have about 8 working cabinets, 2 kids, and no where to put anything.  It's a pain. I'm used to 2 stories of glorious storage space. Enough space where you don't  even know what you have stored.

And that gets to to my stage right now. I want to purge baby.  I don't understand why I want storage in the first place. Why in the hell do I need to stuff things in closest? If they are there, you aren't using them in the first place. I want to throw things away.

The Brazilians are not pleased with this attitude. Brazilians do not throw away.  They save, take care of, and give to other members of the family. They manage to store things until they are needed by someone they know. They find a way. Honestly, the storage force is strong in this breed of people.  The Container Store should come down here and ask the Brazilian people to give them tips. 

Then my husband, the shining star he is, came up with a fabulous idea.  We will give our old crib mattresses (yes we still have them, do you see what I mean now) and such to the families who lost their things in the flooding. We will take the things we feel clutter our home and let them fill the home of someone else.  It's a very romantic concept and a perfect idea.

Of course, I do wonder.  Are they in the market for a junk drawer? I mean, a home is not complete without one and I'm looking to give mine away!


  1. Ughhhhhh, husband hoarders!! We were going through Alexandre's clothes before he left. He had 20 sweaters. 20. In Brazil. I told him to choose 5 and we'd donate the rest. He said, "But I like all of them!" That's his logic. He keeps something if he likes it, not if he needs it. Our new apartment has ZERO closets. I've decided that we're just going to leave a bunch of stuff in his room at his parents' house. Would your MIL be down with that?? :)

  2. Wow Rachel, sometimes I think we are in different countries. If you ask my Carioca in-laws...Brazilians get rid of everything and Americans (based on me) keep everything. They even tossed the family photos. If I had a penny for how many times I have heard "tanto coisa", There is a line between sentimental stuff, clutter and chaos. I recognize this. Every time I go to the US I perge another layer as it gets easier with distance... My mid-western family even has the trunks that came thru Ellis Island compared with our life here... as generations passed in my husband's family I scrounged to find a vase, or mirror, a childhood game I could keep to have his heritage in our future home. They get significant amusement at my dumpster diving in their things to have an old chair or tablecloth. So many people in our circle here like to buy everything new and matchy matchy.
    I will always love my vintage flair one suitcase at a time. If I was not bringing back so many presents and ziplocks it would get here a whole lot faster ;-)

    This life is a constant opportunity to ponder! Thank you for reminding me again that not everything is "cultural".

  3. hahaha. Everyone is different. This is just the group of Brazilians I know. Our friends and family members are like this. And my MOther is constantly throwing things out! WEll, minus pictures. She also respects our wishes to keep a hold of our boxes, even if she doesn't like it.

  4. I have a recommendation based on personal (and very recent) experience:

    Try moving 3 times in 3 years (2 of which are international moves) and you will invariably end up with a spartan household like ours, with so many empty closets and storage space!

    Seriously, we have so much empty space, I'm always offering it to others that need a home for their stuff!

  5. My mother used to say: If you haven't used it since the last time you had to clean around it, throw it out.

    But then, I don't do cleaning anymore...

    Most of our "stuff" is little this and that we have bought in various countries while traveling. Luiz loves little "jingle-lingles" as he is fond of saying. They have a way of thinning their own ranks by getting broken.