Ok so I realize that when most people go shopping for gifts for other people they're not considering whether or not the gift recipient is a hoarder. They're just trying to be nice by taking time, effort, and money to get that person something nice. And I shouldn't be looking the gift pony in the mouth.
I overheard Mumsy on the phone with Loud Auntie the other day. Mum had just unearthed a stash of National Geographics (a stash I thought I hid pretty well, actually...) and said: "I really wish people would THINK before they go getting Mich magazine subscriptions!!"
A number of friends and relatives are quite fond of giving magazine subscriptions as Christmas and birthday gifts. If you are a hoarder, or if you know a hoarder, you know why this is a disastrous idea. Most people who read magazines and receive magazines in the mail are perfectly fine with reading the magazine once and then throwing it away.
I could probably build a decent sized house out of all the magazines currently in my possession.
Once in a blue moon (usually under the influence of some strong sedatives), I can pull myself together enough to go through the house and get rid of all the magazines, but ONLY if I'm taking them to the recycling center. I attempted, at one time, to keep a box out in the garage, right next to the spot where we dump all the newspapers. I told the fam that this new box was for magazines and junk mail, because there's a bin at the recycling center for that.
(Junk mail is a whole other problem--non profit organizations will insist upon sending me more address labels than anyone can possibly use, as well as personalized notepads, dream catchers, year planners, magnets, etc. etc. etc., and I am also incapable of throwing those away.)
So the recycling box was a good thing, I thought. I can handle it if we're recycling the magazines and the junk mail. It's the WASTE that upsets me most. Mum, Lil' Sis, and Stepdad all make fun of me relentlessly because I am obsessive about the recycling. (Our town only picks up the recycling once a month or less--generally we have to go to the recycling center and do it ourselves unless of course you want your garage to become completely overrun with empty plastic bottles and cat food cans.)
We're good about recycling plastic, aluminum, and glass. We're a bit lax with the cardboard, but that doesn't make me as crazy because it's mostly biodegradable. Sometimes I find Lil' Sis trying to sneak plastic bottles into her bin upstairs because she's too lazy to take it downstairs to the recycling bin, but usually she's pretty good with that because by now she and Mum are afraid of me.
But for some unfathomable reason, no one can seem to grasp the concept of the junk mail/magazine box. I even caught Mum a couple times tossing magazines and junk mail into the regular bin, the one in the kitchen that is THREE FEET AWAY from the box right outside the door. When I confronted her about it, she was all like "what the hell's the difference if I throw 3 things in the bin instead of recycling them??"
As cliche as I know it sounds, every little bit does in fact make a difference. And having lived in New Jersey for the past 30+ years, you'd think Mum would know exactly what kind of difference it makes.
See all those pleasant rolling green hills?
Yeah those are hills made of garbage.
You can see that from the New Jersey Turnpike, and after you drive past it your car will STINK for miles.
So I stash my magazines where Mum can't see them, with the intention of gathering them all up on the weekend when I do the recycling. Except I never remember them when I'm loading everything else into the Virus Pimp. Over time (as in months), the magazines pile up. I've got two whole shelves filled with National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discover, and National Audubon magazines. A while back I started sneaking the new issues into the office, to the little basket in the waiting area. There's like six months worth of them in there.
Big Sis#2 is usually the culprit, at least the last few years. This Christmas, she got Mum Us Weekly (I have no problem throwing those away for some reason) and me Nat Geo and Smithsonian (as opposed to Discover last year). I get the Audubons anyway because I donate to them. And Big Sis#2 is a hoarder, too!! She's worse than I am. She uses the bannisters of her stairs as a giant filing system for like four years' worth of mail. (It's brilliant and it makes me warm and fuzzy inside.) Considering that, one would think that Big Sis#2 would steer clear of things like magazines.
This morning, I forced a huge pile of magazines back under my desk at home, and blocked them from spilling out again by employing the use of my file boxes (milk crates--I have four of them, and they contain everything I've ever written, separated into colour-coded folders).
THIS WEEKEND I shall leave many many post-it notes reminding to me to empty the house of magazines!! Y'all may want to open the betting pools now. ;) I'd say there's a 5:1 chance of me not even noticing the post-its and forgetting all about the magazines for another two years.