The Hoarder’s Apprentice

Mr5 has gone to bed tonight clutching a pair of grey shorts to his heart. These shorts, size 2, are apparently his favourites. He loves them. He told me so.

The fact that said shorts have been languishing in the bottom of his cupboard, sight unseen, for months, if not years, is beside the point. He loves them.

This afternoon I told him that I was going to start cleaning out his wardrobe. The fact that our move from the Fibro is a matter of weeks away has really hit me in the past few days. I look around me at the inordinate amount of stuff that we seem to have and wonder how in Heaven’s name it’s going to go from point A to point B. The Builder pointed out that its down to us to pack it up to ensure its safe and timely travels.

I was kind of depressed for a while after that.

But not as sad as Mr5 who, it has to be said, has inherited the family hoarding gene with a vengeance. This is the boy who collected the foil wrappers from chocolate bars for many months, storing them carefully for the day that he would make Mr8 a shiny cloak from them. True story. When the wrappers inexplicably disappeared during a clean-up one day (I swear I have no idea what happened to them Officer), he was inconsolable.

I cleaned out his stuffed toy basket one morning, while he was at school. Into the charity bag went the pristine stuffed animals he never looks at. Never. The bag went into the back of the car… where I promptly forgot about it and drove around with it in the boot for a week. Imagine my horror when I came out to the car one morning to drive the boys to school, only to discover Mr5 in the boot clutching a stuffed sheep to his breast.

“Mum, how did Sheepie get out here?” he asked, blue eyes wide with horror. “He must be lonely!”

By evening, Sheepie (who had not had a name until that day) was snuggled up with Mr5 in bed. Two weeks later, Sheepie is under the bed, lying amongst the dust bunnies, forgotten. (Note to self: smuggle Sheepie out in the morning and kick him straight to the kerb.)

So when I told Mr5 about the clean out, and how I was only going to throw out things he’d outgrown, he moaned and sighed and threw himself about in true ham fashion before striking a dramatic pose and laying down the law. “Okay,” he said. “But we have to keep my favourite shorts. I love them.”

And which might they be? “You know the ones that are a little bit grey and they’ve got like that stripe along the bottom?”

Er, no. But anything for a quiet life. The first pair of grey shorts I came across were taken to him for inspection. He peered at them closely. “Yes, I think that’s them,” he said, taking them from me and marching back into his room to tuck them in under the blanket.

And so he sleeps tonight, with his Duckie and his shorts on the pillow beside him. I have no doubt that those shorts will soon join Sheepie under the bed, but for now he loves them.

And he won the battle to keep them. His grandfather will be so proud.