If you were to aske me what has been one of the guiding principles of my life, it would have to be ‘i’ll put it somewhere safe – you never know when it might come in handy’ – as a result of which, for most of my life, i’ve accumulated vast swathes of ‘useful’ bric-a-brac; i’ve collected shelves full of books that – one day – i’ll definitely get around to reading; and, in the past – when i’ve had the luxury of space to expand into – i’ve had entire attic spaces and spare rooms crammed full of pretty much anything you could possibly imagine… and a few things you possibly couldn’t. i vividly remember on one occasion that i moved house – going from a 4-bedroomed mansion to a one-up, two-down cottage – wondering what the hell i was going to do with the set of 4 giant horn speakers, (the sort that used to grace village fetes – and yes, they were that big), and a set of 8-foot tall, 3-foot wide polystyrene letters of the alphabet, painted bright red… just don’t ask, ok! And let’s not forget the two dried puffer fish!
The scary thing is, this is all completely true.
In fact, it’s taken half a lifetime, several major downsizings and a truly vast amount of self-control – more than i would ever have believed possible of myself – in order to reach a place where my hoarding habit could be considered to be under some sort of control. At last though, i seem to have finally reached a point where it’s safe to open upboards without the threat of an avalanche of odds and sods cascading out, and where i have drawers that can be opened without the need for a crowbar. These days, although the temptation is still strong, i no longer feel that pathological urge to find a home for anything and everything that ever passes through my hands, just in case it should at some unspecified time in the future, prove to be uniquely suited to an unforseen need.
Spending the last three years in a small – (estate agents would say, ‘deceptively spacious’) -one-bedroomed apartment has no doubt helped, although i long for the day when i can finally afford to move to somewhere with a little more elbow room and finally retrieve half my worldly goods from storage – but, even when that fateful day does eventually come, i think that i can safely say my hoardaciousness is no longer the beast it once was.
Or can i?
My name is Seren, and i’m an sl hoarder.
Yep, despite all my progress on the road to minimalism in the real world, it appears my habit has simply moved across boundaries to manifest itself in all its glory in the virtual world.
If we think back to our early days in sl, i daresay that most of us will have a similar story to tell – fresh-faced, jerky-limbed and eager to find our way in this brave new world, we stagger around in system clothes until, one day… we discover freebies: from that day on, SLife becomes a complete freebie-fest as we grab everything and anything that comes our way. Much, much later on, we see the light and realise that all that tat we’ve collected is only so much inventory bloat and, over the course of several long weekends we spend hours clearing away all those dreadful, blingy shoes, tatty t-shirts, dance silks (whatever the hell those were), umpteen sets of wings and tails and a whole world of other items that quite definitely would never see the light of day again, (badly made Santa suit, anyone?).
That was a SLife-changing moment for me – out went all the rubbish and having flushed the trashcan, i set about revamping my whole inventory. Never again would i succumb to the lure of cheap junk: from now on, there would be a folder for everything, and everything in its folder… and from the festering miasma of the inventory from hell, a new, pristine, well-ordered, sorted, labelled and, above all, orderly inventory emerged.
And then, somewhere along the line, without me even noticing, everything went horribly wrong – the bloat is back, and with a vengeance!
Granted, it’s now neat, well-ordered, correctly labelled and properly sorted bloat, but it’s bloat nevertheless, and i’ve no idea how it got there. The real shame of it is that a lot of it is pretty high quality, and merit-worthy stuff – but there’s simply way too much of it! There’s no way – especially if i don’t curb my sl hoarding – that i will ever get to wear the countless items of clothing that have been frittered away in all those neatly-labelled folders, even if i wear a different outfit every day and never wear it again. Similarly, even if i owned half a dozen full regions, i’d be hard pushed to show off every piece of furniture, architecture, landscaping or greenery that i’ve accumulated. As for vehicles… for somebody who is pretty much incapable of driving in a straight line along the roads of sl, i seem to own an inordinate quantity of cars, buses, bikes, scooters, dustbin lorries, aeroplanes, pogo sticks, wheelchairs… you get the idea.
The trouble is, i really am loathe to dispose of any of it – perhaps it’s a necessary emotional response to the way in which all the extraneous clutter and material trappings have gradually been eroded away from my real world, or perhaps it’s simply the case that deep down inside, i’m a hoarder by nature.
And, you know what? i can live with that.
No, you’re not a measure of what’s in your pocket
But it’s certainly a pleasure to just buy a gold locket
I could never stop it, these material things
Oh the happiness these materials bring
Jake Troth – Material Things