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Farm Bleat: 'Hoarder' is such an unkind word

I would guess many people are becoming a bit stir-crazy with multiple snowstorms and ground blizzards interrupting our plans and keeping us at home this month.

My mom, however, might be the exception.

Ever since she’s been back on her feet following knee replacement surgery, she’s been busy cleaning out closets and sorting through drawers. It started with some of Dad’s things — socks and shirts, gloves and hats — and has progressed to some of her keepsakes, like the collection of recipes she’s clipped out or jotted down and stuffed in recipe books and boxes.

As we chatted during Sunday’s blizzard, she admitted with an uneasy laugh that her stash of weeded-out recipes — the ones she’s decided to toss — was far too small compared to the stack she intended to keep.

Her love for recipes is the equivalent to my love for needlework patterns. We can never have too many, and asking us to part with them is, well, just not right.

Why is it so difficult to eliminate the clutter in our lives? Or perhaps the better question is, why do we stockpile?

Oh, have I learned to stockpile!

It’s clearly evident every time I look at my two bookshelves crammed with books and the needlework stash that is so overwhelming it makes me feel a little sick. Yet, I still buy books at the library book sale and perle cotton and fabrics when I find a deal too good to pass up.

I call it retail therapy.

It makes me feel good after a rough week to spend a few dollars on something I enjoy, whether it’s a used book or a needlework project I may, or may not, ever have time to stitch.

It’s time, though, for me to do away with my needlework retail therapy. I need to just open up my storage system, pick out a new project and get to stitching on these snow days. It will save me money and, eventually, reduce my stash.

Oh, who am I kidding? There are deals to be had and an addiction to placate.

I’ve thought of a possible solution to the pack rat tendencies afflicting both me and my mom.

Perhaps I should sort through Mom’s recipe collection and pitch everything that sounds icky, and allow her to weed out all of the “she’ll never stitch this” projects from my needlework stash.

No, never mind, that won’t work. She’ll probably end up keeping all of her recipes and my stash will be about a tenth of its current size. That hardly sounds fair to me.

Here’s hoping the rest of the winter allows you time to enjoy whatever hobby makes you happy.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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