Story Hoarder

journals and other books and papers on deskWe get donations from families of deceased hoarders occasionally at St. Vinnies. They bring in boxes and bags of everything imaginable, most of which should have been discarded decades ago. Hoarders are a trendy fixation. There are reality shows about hoarders, books about hoarders, magazine articles about them, and jokes about them. There are newspaper hoarders, food hoarders, fabric hoarders, and cat hoarders. With all the recent press about hoarding, many people are looking into their closets and beginning to wonder about themselves.

I don’t wonder. I know. I am a story hoarder.

I keep stories that go back to my childhood that I haven’t told to anyone in 40 years. My father’s and grandmother’s stories are in a safe place; I’m not exactly sure where, but I will never throw them away. If I hear a good story, the first thing I do is make a note on a scrap of paper and tuck it into my purse. If someone asks me any kind of question about anything at all, I will more than likely answer by telling a story.

I don’t think intervention is necessary, but these things are hard to judge for oneself.

Perhaps I should have someone observe me…


  1. Stories are everything. Keep up the good work, Jane! In fact, you have inspired me to to become a story hoarder – I’ve just decided! Some of the most helpful things – dreams, thoughts, stories – I have written down. Recently, I went back and started to re-read them. I was astonished. First, I had forgotten way too many of them. Second, they ended up being pivotal and indispensably helpful. It was jaw-dropping.

  2. Thanks Jane. Working in an op shop, I can relate to your story about donations from families of deceased hoarders. Occasionally, a treasure is unearthed – one kind gentleman donated his mother’s prized Wedgwood tea set. Our stories are precious and perhaps you are right. We do need someone observing us.

  3. As an English teacher, avid reader I believe our stories put us in touch with the deepest part of who we are and when we share them we share a sacred part of ourselves. We must keep in mind how to tell the story and the listener as well.

  4. I am not a psychologist but I gather that true hoarding is a symptom of a deep problem that needs professional treatment. The kind of hoarding I see in my life, stacks of material Ill never get sewn up, likewise for bags of yarn that will never be used. This to me is a spiritual problem, greed. That’s a harsh word but so is selfishness the “I want it all” problem. You don’t have a problem just a writers mind. It’s a gift meant to be shared and thank you for doing so.

  5. I hope there is nothing wrong with you. I also write stories and jot down notes mostly biographical. I collect stories or thoughts from newspapers. I may be a hoarder but I also consider myself a sensitive and creative child of God .


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