Category Archives: Hoarder Life

Favorite Mugs

Really, this is what gets me to finally PUBLISH a post after more than a year? Okay fine. Swistle told me to.

Despite my hoarding tendencies, I have kept my mug collection quite under control. This is because I stash them in the cupboards at work. I still get to see them and use them, but they clutter a cabinet that is not mine. This only works for mugs that I do not have sentimental attachment to and are mostly for giveaway mugs that don’t quite make the donation pile. Honestly it is a little weird to see coworkers using mugs that spent years at my house, but it is also randomly delightful some days when I look over and see them across the room during a meeting.

Anyway, onto my favorite mugs (please excuse the sunshine glare in these hastily taken/non-edited phone photos)

McSteamy – give to me by a dear friend years ago because of my love of Eric Dane on Grey’s Anatomy (sniffle. I miss you Mark Sloane in your sexy towel). The glazing is spotty and crackled from dishwasher and microwave heat, but it remains my favorite for it’s happy feelings and great size. It the first one I grab when having tea. Like RA I insist on my all fingers being able to comfortably reside within the handle. This one holds almost 12 ozs and has the perfect rim depth – not too delicate, not too clunky. It came from Hallmark and one day I saw an identically sized Eeyore design and snatched it right up. (the glazing has held up much better on Eeyore mug)


Cows – this is used exclusively for milk because it has cows on it. I have been tempted many times to smash it the way the giver smashed my heart (Yes it’s been several years. I am over it. Most days.) but I like it too much. I picked it out in a gift shop (best cheese popcorn ever) and it is a good reminder we had happy days together. Plus milk tastes better in a cow mug, and I find the cows on the interior super adorable.


Pottery – this mug is from the mid 70s and was originally a set of 4 given to my parents by my aunt and uncle in a Christmas exchange. Only 2 remain and my mom was going to donate them as she had no idea I coveted them forever. They are tall and hold about 16 oz which seems ridiculously large, but works great for a double serving of cocoa and extra marshmallows. I also use for beer.  (and large servings of spiked mulled cider.)


Big Chief – Jesse’s grandparents lived in Fergus Falls, MN and he spent many summers there. His grandparents would take him fishing at dawn and then they would have breakfast after at this nearby truck stop. Both his grandparents died last year and when we were there for his Grandmother’s funeral we stopped in for one last breakfast. Jesse’s brother Tony bought the mug for me and despite the issue I take with naming a truck stop Big Chief, I love the memento as a glimpse of their childhood (and of course the photo opportunities with the statues outside.)


Jeff – again a castoff from my parents, but was always the mug I reached for at home. It is on the smaller side but is perfectly wide enough for dunking graham cracker sheets. There was initially a Karen paired with Jeff as they were a wedding shower gift, but mom took hers to work before I was born and it remains her work mug today.


I have 2-3 more mugs I didn’t photograph because they are rarely used unless I have several people over at once (a Winnie the Pooh mug I got as a bday present in high school, a casino themed mug with my brother’s name on it that he got as a gift, and a mustache mug that I think was a Christmas gift from someone who didn’t know what else to buy me.)

Jesse has a set of 8 matching mugs that are fine size/shape but are boring and he never uses them. It bothers me when I have tea at his house to not use one of my more fun mugs so I think a few need to make their way over to his cabinet.






Filed under Because The Internet Told Me To, Happy Happy Joy Joy, Hoarder Life

Chaos (Muppet) Theory

I still want to do a write-up on my fun weekend in Baltimore, but that will continue to wait. (Most laziness surrounding this delay stems from having to go steal other people’s photos.) Today my mind has instead been filled with this article courtesy of Stef. Why yes, I will click on anything Muppet related. You should too. The main message is that it’s important (VITAL) to strike a balanced ratio of Order vs Chaos types. The most troubling concept for me is not being able to cleanly fit into one of the categories. Wait, does being troubled by that automatically make me an Order Muppet? My defining qualities are so heavily dependent on my relation to those around me. My boyfriend would hands-down define me as Chaos, but I think only in the sense that he is no-questions-asked an Order Muppet. (I am totally the Miss Piggy to his Kermit.) On the other side, my mother is under no uncertainty Chaos and would definitely claim that I am Order (because EVERYONE is Order in comparison.)

On the Chaos side of life:

  • I leave a Tazmanian devil level of destruction in my path – open drawers/cabinets, flung clothes, piled dishes, dirty car. I will (eventually) clean up after myself, but probably not without a judgmental scowl in my direction.
  • I don’t even need rationalization to have ice cream for dinner. It is simply one of the options available.
  • Crumbs in the bed. Yes, I will change the sheets for you.
  • The abundance of intense emotion. On any given day I am a roller coaster of crocodile tears and stabby rage. I do not hide it well. At all.
  • Grover is the coolest.

On the Order side:

  • My spice rack is not alphabetized, but my Penzey’s hoard can be found in a drawer with all of their tops labeled and half-assed organized by usage (generally baking to the left, savory to the right). My DVDs are alphabetized and I cannot comprehend a reason for them not to be. (I will do yours for you as well.)
  • Clothing items in drawers should be folded and organized. Those people who can dump clean underwear or socks into a drawer willy-nilly (oh you guys know who you are) and just grab and go? Not cool. My panties are folded and my socks are paired. As they should be.
  • Some hoarding tendencies. Should this be on the Chaos side? No. My hoarding is logical and reasoned and intended to be prepared for any scenario. Also falls under Order because my hoard(s) are carefully tucked away in a labeled and organized manner.
  • I do not transition well. I try to pretend I am breezy and carefree, but I would like things to be planned and to have awareness of the next step. I am not comfortable living on the fly.

The article addresses the way to determine your Muppet labeling is to look at the one you are paired up with. Uhhh, I have dated both and not really succeeded at either. Is this why my dating life is doomed? Is this one of those life lessons about nothing being black and white and there are levels and exceptions to everything? If so, I object. Muppet Theory should be easy. It’s MUPPETS.

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Filed under Hoarder Life, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog, Wishful Thinking

Accomplished Rest

So after whining on every online forum and at anyone within a 5 foot radius about how rundown and frazzled I felt and how cheated I felt to be deprived of a snow day (despite twice as much snow so far as last year) and how I worked through a miserable headcold while coworkers took sick days, I took a day. Oh right, personal days. Granted there is no distinction since we went to mass PTO bank, but I kind of forgot about personal days. Not planned vacation fun time, not miserable sick days, just a day.

I wish my brain could have taken a day because it was wide awake and alert at 6:20 this morning, as is always the case when getting out of bed is not required. Grrrrr. Getting out of bed did not happen until past 9:00 but then I needed to get to work. The spare bedroom has been a dumping ground for all things not belonging in there (summer fan, Christmas towels, kitchen overflow,) and my slacking on laundry lately meant the piles have had the opportunity to breed. It seems weird to use a precious day off for such mundane tasks, but after running myself ragged for a couple weeks, it was such a relief to leisurely take care of simple necessities like laundry and grocery shopping.

I even managed to take one of my old TVs in for recycling. No, this does not lessen the TV/DVD/VCR total as I wasn’t even really counting this one. It was the old TV from my bedroom, that was replaced with my Grandma’s better television back in November. So, technically the spare bedroom was housing 2 TVs for a couple months. Plus – I think I have found a home for the spare TV/DVD/VCR that has sat mostly unused since I moved here (cough, almost 3 years ago). If that falls through, I have accepted that it it should go away. Progress, however small, is moving in the right (non-hoarding) direction.

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Filed under A Whole MONTH, Hoarder Life

All The Stuff

It seems that I, uh, have a lot of stuff. It is hard for me to see this as a problem since I can get rid of things – I certainly don’t need 3 VCRs. (Though if you come for my remaining long floral skirt from 1996 I may bite. That is off limits.) I live alone in a 2 bedroom duplex with a storage room in the garage. I have space and am not living among piles of garbage or hoarding animals. If I was moving overseas or downsizing to a studio, there is a lot that would need to go.

Maybe I am too close to the trees to see the whole forest, but it has been brought to my attention several times across Twitter that my belongings could be labeled as excessive. I hold onto things. If I get a new pair of mittens, I do not toss my old, still usable pair. This is how I end up with 10 pairs of mittens. Do you know what has been the biggest kick in my ass regarding this? Seeing it through the eyes of someone new. Someone who took one look at my spare bedroom (granted at the time full of piles from cleaning out my Grandma’s condo and bags full of purchased Christmas presents) and said I had a lot of stuff. I do. I own a ridiculous number of DVDs (though contained to 1 bookcase and alphabetized), I still enjoy owning physical copies of music that I purchase at a record store, (say it with me) and beloved paper books will always be superior to my kindle. My mail is often piled up, and recycling can have a tendency to form a balancing pyramid until I stop being so lazy.

At the time of this astute observation, I had yet to see where he was coming from (3 cheers for a guy who took on the 30-minute commute for every date for weeks on end.) Despite a 3-bedroom house, owning 25+ pairs of jeans, and having a VCR in the closet, he really has minimal possessions in comparison. I also have far cheaper/warped particle board/open storage for all my media and knick-knacks, whereas he has solid wood (ahem, adult) furniture with drawers and doors further adding to the illusion of minimalism. (though certainly something to be said about easier dusting that way) What really hit me in the gut about all this is that he made a joke about calling a hoarding TV show for me when he had never seen what I do consider shameful: my garage storage.

My garage storage room is about 6×10 feet and is filled with rubbermaid bins. Most are opaque yet I can tell you what is in every single one. Holiday decorations, old towels, canning supplies, sports equipment, and electrical cords and such. Normal storage stuff. This is where the shame begins.

  • Bins with computer stuff. Like a desktop computer and 2 laptops. Non-functioning, obsolete ones. Mostly built by my brother, who died in 2009.
  • Camping/yardwork clothes, despite not camping once this summer (nor am I responsible for any yard work at my current house), I still have a bin of clothes that I don’t care about (or are quick-dry/adventure clothes from backpacking days), just in case.
  • A bin of sentimental t-shirts, with hopes of someday making a quilt (6 years and counting, no quilt has been started.)
  • College textbooks, mostly early childhood development.
  • Awesome rolling litter box for brother’s cat that hasn’t lived with me for 4 years (my old house setup needed 2 litter boxes, one was sent on with the cat, one remains, WHY? I held onto it in the beginning thinking there was a good chance the cat would end up back with me.)
  • Shower games for bridal and baby showers – seems there was a 5-year period where I feel like I did the games for showers every couple months so I have lots of supplies that feel like an investment. Clipboards and folders and such would serve a better purpose being USED somewhere else.
  • Childhood stuffed animals. I know that having them in a bin does not give them importance/love. I have parted with 3/4ths of them, but about a few special ones remain. Is this why people have children so that they can justify holding on to such things? Almost seems worth it. (or maybe every one else gets to keep these things at their parents’ houses?)

I know there is more (several bins more since I didn’t even touch on all my kitchen stuff that doesn’t fit in my kitchen) and that it is unnecessary to keep all this stuff. I think what really makes me hang my head and admit I struggle to let things go is that I moved all this stuff to this place. I have joked for years that I would fly Jen out as a lifecoach to help me if I ever had to move again. I’m not really joking. Well unless I get to live somewhere with a big enough kitchen for all my delightful tupperware and baking supplies. Then all bets are off.


Filed under Hoarder Life, I Feel Your Glare, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog