How to Tell That Your Mom’s a Covert Hoarder, Or: Anyone for Comet Vinaigrette?

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Olive oil next to Comet

If your mom uses her limited cabinet space to store 50,000 supermarket bags, she might run out of room for normal household items.  I found this trio under my mother’s sink.  A word of warning for anyone dining over there: do NOT try her homemade salad dressing.

Contents grouped by type of nozzle

Another tableau under the sink: spray starch, cooking spray, bug spray, furniture polish…  sure, that makes sense.  If your mother seems to organize by “type of nozzle,” you might want to see what’s taking up undue storage space elsewhere.

hoarded plastic containers

If your mother has lots of containers to store leftovers, yet ironically, keeps no food in the house and appears to subsist on biscotti and rice crackers dipped in whitefish salad, she might be a covert hoarder.

 old toaster oven racks

If you find a collection like this, your dear mother might be a C.H.  Then again, there could be another explanation.  The Smithsonian might express interest in displaying the racks from every toaster oven she’s ever owned.

And clearly, the old microwave plate is handy in case she and her friends want to play the world’s most dangerous game of frisbee.

One last question: does your mom have enough gift wrapping supplies (tissue paper, scraps of used wrapping paper, bows, wrinkled old gift bags, department store boxes) to be the Martha Stewart of the Metamucil and Medicare set? Does she actually own a roll of 50-year old wrapping paper that you have never seen used to cover a present in your entire life?

50 year old wrapping paper roll

If so, I’m sad to report, she may very well be a covert hoarder.

The question then becomes:

What the hell are you going to do about it?

I strongly urge you to cart all that stuff out of her house while she is at the podiatrist, getting her nails done or sound asleep at whatever horrible Harry Connick, Jr. movie she used her senior discount to nap in that Saturday afternoon.  Oh wait, that’s my life.

I think if you are in the same boat as I, you should do everything in your power to clear out the ridiculous load of crap she’s got hidden in her closets as soon as you discover it.  That way no one will ever stumble upon the forgotten cache of embarrassing items from your own past you find lurking in a dark corner.  To wit: I lay bare my own horrifying discovery to save you from making the same mistake.  (Cue strings from Psycho.)

embarrassing Rod Stewart album I own

I have no memory of purchasing this, but I still feel dirty.

Don’t let this happen to you.


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