What’s the opposite of a hoarder?

Me. I am the opposite of a hoarder. Regretful would be another antonym. Illogical. Dumb. Want me to keep going? Improvident. Shortsighted.

Over the years I’ve donated, lost, given, and thrown away more stuff than I can remember. At this point I feel lucky to have the barest of essentials still in my possession. My proclivity for off-loading is astonishing and far reaching. My closet has an echo. Even my computer is a barren landscape. A very few digital files of a legal nature populate the hard drive, other than that, booosh, clean as a whistle. Emails don’t linger, either; I keep the friends who send them, though.

And books, I cling to those like the luxuries they are. I had to draw the line somewhere, didn’t I? How could I donate To Kill a  Mockingbird or The Book Thief or Little Green Men? Well, I couldn’t and I didn’t. And I won’t.

The thing is, I’ve moved a lot. Fourteen times since ’94, twenty-two moves in all. A person gets tired of hauling stuff around. The movers, those strong, helpful, heroic men and women, always make out like bandits. Always. Neighbors, too. Anyone who enters my field of vision when the mood strikes doesn’t escape empty-handed. I pressed my old lawn mower, a benighted apparatus if ever there was one, on a dog walker. The UPS guy, who showed up on Moving Eve, got off lightly, carting a pair of floor lamps. Upon my neighbors I bestowed a fireplace screen and accompanying tools. All they needed was a fireplace. Did I dream of becoming a not-for-profit wholesaler as a kid? It’s possible.

Believe it or not, there is an upside here. Housework takes minutes if you’re a clean freak, seconds if you’re not. But vacuuming takes longer now, there’s more carpet when there’s less furniture. And, if the opportunity presented itself, I could move to Ibiza tomorrow. I’m no longer held captive by and anchored to stuff. There’s a certain freedom, a liberation to downsizing, even when it’s unintentional. A happy accident.

All that’s missing are the opportunities to travel light now that I can. I’m ready for adventure and excitement and a change of scenery. Perhaps there’s a Department of Traveling Light I should notify? Oh, yoohoo, I’m available now. Please get in touch via the Comment Box below. And, be a dear, what’s the dress code there?

Copyright © Publikworks 2011.

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14 Responses to “What’s the opposite of a hoarder?”

  1. Nick

    Haha! Given how often I move, I’m like 79% jealous of this trait of yours. The other 21% of me has an irrational love for material things.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Hiya, Nick. Packing and unpacking boxes became a full-time job. Every time I moved, I’d unpack fewer boxes, knowing I’d end up packing them again. I started to feel like I was living in a storage unit or a furniture warehouse. But I won’t lie, it was hard to part with a lot of the stuff and I still miss so many things. Good luck to you.

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  2. O. Leonard

    We are currently moving and tried desperately to “down-size” as you describe. We didn’t get there. We wanted to, we sold a lot of furniture on craigslist for next to nothing, but we couldn’t get rid of the books and the music CDs and the office files and kitchen stuff and the photos and the pictures and the artwork and, well, we just didn’t make it.

    I always liked the saying, “I came into this world with nothing, and I have most of it left.”

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    • publikworks

      Ah, artwork and photos, I still miss those dearly, so very dearly. Kitchen stuff, I figure as long as there are paper plates and plastic forks I’m good to go, but not everyone shares my opinion. I love your saying, Mr. Leonard, mind if I steal it?

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  3. Lenore Diane

    Knowing I have vacuuming on my lists of tasks to tackle tomorrow, I’d love to have less in the house at the moment. More floorspace may mean more vacuuming, but more objects on the floorspace means more stopping – moving – vacuuming – stopping – replacing – vacuuming – stopping – moving … well, you get the idea. Dog hair knows no boundaries…. moving items is required.

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    • publikworks

      Oh boy, well, good luck. A friend turned me on to Static Guard — it makes picking up pet hair a whole lot easier. Worked for me.

      Like

  4. marypoppinsertraline

    The opposite of hoarder is Minimalist (Though I do realize the question was rhetorical)- which, is what I classify myself as being. The way my Mum and sister over-decorate makes me twitchy, so being stuck housesitting for the latter the last month and a half is about to frazzle my last nerve. Even if I took fully half the things off walls and surfaces, there would STILL be too much crap for my liking.

    However, you take Minimalism to a whole different level: SPARTAN. Which is admirable.

    As the Supervisor of the Department of Traveling Light, might I suggest a trip this way, perhaps during fall before any Snowpocalypses? The dress code is casual/comfortable, with the option of dressy depending on itinerary. Please contact my office for travel, lodging, and entertainment details; should you wish to change your scenery by said time. Adventure and excitement await! ;) xoxox

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  5. Até

    My parents are facing the same problem right just now .. they have to move to a house half the size of what they have now, and they’ve no idea what to do with their stuff.
    On the other hand, all I’ll ever have to carry are two suitcases: one with books, the other with clothes and art supplies. That’s the up-side to not being a shopaholic like everyone else in the family, I guess. Though, I suppose my piano’s giving my parents a lot of headache too ;P

    Like

  6. writerwannabe2011

    In almost twenty years of marriage we have moved ten times — one place we were only in there for 9 months (shuddering as I remember the silverfish . . . ) One time we had a garage sale to downsize a bit (and several since). My mom was horrified we could just sell our stuff like that. She and my dad have lived in the same house for 44 years and my mom still has every single wedding present they were given and she can tell you who gave it to them. I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday . . .

    Like

    • publikworks

      Hi, writerwannabe, moving is a nightmare, but it forces us to thin the herd once in a while. Even so, I’d like to stop soon. Thanks for an interesting comment.

      Like

  7. janetnz

    We’ve been in the same home for 26 years, but are thinking seriously about down-sizing (I started my blog to have a place to ‘put’ all the recipes I had collected over the years – so that I could throw away the magazines which were/are bristling with post-it notes).
    I’m a ‘place for everything, and everything in its place’ kind of girl. Mess and clutter do my head in, but I’m not sure I could be a minimalist…

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