Is There a Term for “Fear of Yard Sales”?

by swellsbennett

Dan and his brother are having a yard sale today. They have one or two a year, and I’m always left wondering where our two households come up with so much unwanted stuff in the space of six to twelve months. It’s not like they keep what doesn’t sell; on the contrary, they always load what’s left into one of their cars and take it directly to Goodwill or another thrift shop to donate. Nevertheless, Dan carried half a ton of crap out of here this morning. And this time, some of it was mine.

I’m what I would consider a “conservative hoarder.” If you visited my house, you wouldn’t find stacks of things piled precariously through my living quarters, but if you opened a closet or perused a bookshelf, you might find yourself wondering why I am keeping certain items. The simple answer is I’m not done with whatever that item might be. The more complicated one is that I don’t know if I’ll ever be done with that item. I have games that I haven’t actually played since I was a teenager. I have books that I keep just in case I need to refer to them for something obscure in my writing. And I have sets of clothing that are too big and too small for my current body. I keep leftover skeins of yarn from projects long finished (or sometimes abandoned). I refuse to part with DVD sets of programs I can watch on Netflix anytime I want. And let’s not even get started on the boxes of cards and letters dating back to my college years.

Last Saturday night, when Dan began excavating the coat closet, I wasn’t too worried. After all, very few of my various collections reside in there. I basically use that closet for wrapping paper and gift bags. He, on the other hand, had accumulated at least a dozen coats and half a dozen hats. As he loaded down one of our living-room chairs in clothing, I breathed a sigh of relief…a moment too soon. I had forgotten about the plastic tub full of DVDs that waited at the bottom of the closet.

“Susan, come here! We need to go through these!”

As I entered the living room, I was horrified to see that he was talking about my movies — all of our movies. “Why?”

“Because we should get rid of them at the yard sale. We don’t use them anymore. We’ve got Netflix and Amazon instead.”

I couldn’t really express to him the terror I felt about getting rid of them. Thoughts like “But what will we watch when the Internet finally fails?” and “How will we entertain ourselves during the Apocalypse?” flitted through my mind. I know…ridiculous. After all, if the Internet fails, that must be a sign of the Apocalypse, and everyone knows the power grid will blink out when that happens, right?

So I stood in the living room and sorted through the movies, keeping anything that was a musical (because we’ll need musicals when the world ends) and discarding just about everything else.

Today, as I sit inside while strangers peruse two-thirds of my DVD collection and buy my movies for less than a tenth of what I paid for most of them, I know that Dan is probably right to want to de-clutter our lives. But I still can’t help but want to put “Do Not Cross” tape over my closet’s entrance. After all, I’m going to need that stack of sheet music someday…


Sorry, Jim…Dan’s not a fan of your work.