Remember that scene from The Jerk- the “That’s All I Need” scene? Steven Martin is leaving his fancy house and his fancy life, and he doesn’t need to take anything with him, except an ashtray. And a paddle-ball game. And a remote control. Then a lamp. A chair. His dog? Each time he added another item, he declared it was all he needed.
Ronnie and I cleaned the garage yesterday. It was a mess. A big mess. We did it, but he reminded me of Steven Martin the whole time, grasping on to junk like he somehow needed it. I don’t even think he can explain why half of the stuff in there is even there at all.
Seems to me he could be dealing with some hoarding tendencies, and he of course is in denial, so I took the liberty of finding a diagnostic test and taking it on his behalf. This will, naturally, be scientifically accurate and utterly indisputable.
DURING THE PAST WEEK.
0 1 2 3 4
Never Rarely Sometimes/Occasionally Frequently/Often Very Often
1. How often do you avoid trying to discard possessions
because it is too stressful or time consuming?
We put off cleaning the garage for several months because of all the stuff. We knew it was going to be an all-day ordeal, which it was. 3
2. How often do you feel compelled to acquire something
you see? e.g., when shopping or offered free things?
All I can say about this is that I found lots of merchandise still in the bag from the store that he bought for projects that he plans on getting to one day. 3
3. How often do you decide to keep things you do not
need and have little space for?
me – Ronnie, why do you have this kitchen sink faucet?
Ronnie – Because it’s a perfectly good faucet.
me – Then why did you replace it in the first place?
Ronnie – Because it’s a piece of junk.
me – Hmm…3
4. How frequently does clutter in your home prevent you
from inviting people to visit?
Our clutter problem is restricted to the garage, but we have had the strict rule for the past couple of months to have the garage door closed when people are over. 3
5. How often do you actually buy (or acquire for free) things
for which you have no immediate use or need?
see number 2; 3
6. To what extent does the clutter in your home prevent
you from using parts of your home for their intended
purpose? For example, cooking, using furniture, washing
dishes, cleaning, etc.
You mean to tell me that some people can actually park their cars in their garage!? 3
7. How often are you unable to discard a possession you
would like to get rid of?
me – Ronnie, what should I do with all of this stuff? I don’t even know what it is!
Ronnie – Just throw it away.
me – Okay.
Ronnie – Wait! Just let me look at everything before you throw it away. 3
I think it’s safe to say that he could have a proclivity towards hoarding. Thank goodness he isn’t too far gone and we were able to haul a bunch of junk away yesterday.
Our garage is clean as can be! He only kept what he needed.
“This gas can, this wrench, this watering can, this boat oar, and my dog. That’s all I need!”
Disclaimer: This post is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Ronnie is not really a hoarder. He is a very hard-working man who puts in long hours and understands that the little free time he does have is better spent with his family than separating the 42,000 different screws in the garage. All four of us contributed to the mess in the garage, and all four of us cleaned it up. But, he is a pack-rat, and I did enjoy teasing him about it when I found some of his odder stashes of junk.
- Clutter: The Invisible Chains That Impede Our Success (contrariansmind.wordpress.com)