Several years ago, I dated a serial hoarder in Portland. In the beginning, of course, I wasn't aware of his issues. When his friends asked me, "Have you *seen* his basement?" I knew something was up.
I've many friends who fix up houses, or are artists with a variety of materials, tools and objects, but what I saw, and what came to be a driving wedge between us was something else entirely.
My boyfriend was a teacher and for 'extra money' would buy things at garage sales and resell them on ebay or Craigslist. He had piles and piles of clothes, of sheet music, of childrens toys, old magazines, VCR tapes & machines, board games, steel trash cans, large bike racks for street parking, parts of playground equiptment, beat up shoes, posters, doors, tiles, retail cabinet diplays, and boxes and piles of semi-functional tools and half-filled buckets of paint.
Sometimes he'd have plans for how to use some items for remodeling his house. When we met, he had enough things to keep him busy on the remodel side, or the ebay side, and he had a full-time job. On the weekends, however, he was fanatic about going to more garage sales.
Years later, he left to teach overseas. I met up with him once near the property he owned and laughed as he compulsively went to a garage sale across the street and spend lik $3 on a pile of, really crappy stuff. Stuff that would sit in his basement and need to be dealt with at another time. Stuff he *might* possible be able to squeak out another $1 for with the right buyer.
On the other hand, he was notoriously cheap. I am a resourceful and thrifty sort, but it drove me crazy how cheap the guy was, and it made no sense to me.
I think the issues surrounding his "illness" really burned up friendships. He was swimming in such a mound of stuff, and frantically thinking of how to swindle, that he missed out on understanding what was right before him.
posted 3 years, 10 months ago
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