When you’re the opposite of a hoarder


I like to think I notice things. Perhaps it is hubris on my part, but I think noticing things is part of what I do when I write or take photographs or listen. I like to think the little details in life–the way the tree limbs shoot out like tortured veins or the way he leaned heavy on the door jamb when he bent to hand her the candy–aren’t lost on me. It’s the small things that help us see, the small stories that truly speak.

This illusion of myself, as Chief Noticer of Small-ish Important Things, is, sadly, shattered on a near-daily basis. My husband can’t make heads or tails of it, and frankly, neither can I. I may be able to tell you exactly how someone parted their hair and the one gray strand they try to hide behind their left ear, but I will almost always forget which way to turn when driving to the mall. I will be sure to pack the matching earrings for a weekend away, but leave behind my travel documents.

Yesterday, on returning home from a weekend away, we arrived at the remote car park to retrieve our car, jet-lagged and exhausted. We paid to have the car cleaned inside and out while we travelled, and I was pleased to discover it’s not impossible for professionals to remove a chocolate milk stain from car upholstery, circa 2008. When I opened the trunk to put the luggage in the back, one lonely bag of rubbish sat waiting to be thrown out. My son informed me it was trash from home, and I grabbed the bag, marched over to the trash can at the car park, and shoved it in. I proceeded to pack the trunk with our luggage and mentally high-fived myself for getting it all done.

Trash: check. Luggage: check. Kids buckled in and ready to go: check. Every car-related item we own, including the car registration, my favorite lippy, and pages from my daughter’s journal now unknowingly stuffed in a trash can a few feet from my car: check.

Thank God someone in the car had the foresight to check the glove compartment box before we drove away. Otherwise, I’d have found myself back in Newark at midnight rummaging through the rubbish bin. Chief Thrower-Outer of Important Things might be a more appropriate nickname. All of this, on the heels of another unfortunate incident prior to our trip. My husband spent a fair bit of time searching for my Swiss bank card hours before we flew out, only to discover I had accidentally chopped it into little pieces and thrown it away months ago. I offered him my completely useless expired card, the one I originally intended to chop into little pieces, and somehow this generous offer didn’t appease his frustration.

I can’t imagine why.

Up next: An episode in which my daughter discovers I threw away her art work and put her favorite dress in the give-away pile. Stay tuned.


  • Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    Between you and me, isn’t that how the Really Brilliant people operate? And, I suppose, that’s why you and your hubby make such a good pair, two pairs of eyes set at different levels of focus. 🙂

    • Really Brilliant People. Yes, I am claiming this.

  • This is my hubby, the chief thrower out of things. He has mistakenly chopped up the wrong bank card, accidentally destroyed my SIM card from my phone (how, one may ask?) and will throw out all sentimental items not safely locked away. He is, however, fantastic at directions and terrible at details. Funny how we’re all different! I’m glad you figured it out before you left the car park 🙂

    • You and me both, Fiona! You and me both;)

  • Kimberly Amici

    I laugh because I am reminded of my “oversights” and my husband less than gracious responses. I just tell him I am not detailed oriented…because I am a creative type. It’s no consolation. Then I remind him if we were exactly the same one of us wouldn’t be needed.

    • My husband has learned to respond graciously, otherwise I’d spend most of my time in some sort of hot water with him;) Glad to know I’m not alone!

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  • Sharon O

    I am a sentimental messy and do not like to randomly throw things away. NO am not a hoarder. I try to be cautious on what I am shredding or dumping in the trash but one time as I was cleaning I put our tax return check in the burn pile for the fire place. Yeah that would have not been good as it was almost $500.00 and I am sure they would not give us a new one.

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