Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
people find their niche in writing, some in teaching, some in computers,
and so on. I'm afraid my niche is in hoarding junk. I am blessed, or
cursed, with a large attic. The idea was that some day it would be
finished into extra bedrooms. It never happened. Instead it gradually
filled up with junk.
Need a place to put the TV that doesn't work? Put it in the attic. We
can get rid of it later when we have more time. Changing around the
living room? Just store the extra furniture upstairs. The kids don't
have a place to store their extra stuff? Put it in my attic. No point in
paying for storage.
And so it went. Years of accumulation: The shelves from the den that
were too good to throw away; the Christmas decorations; the clothes that
were too small right now, but that might fit again when I lose weight;
the outdated set of encyclopedias; and miles of extra computer cable.
All found the way upstairs, and soon became coated with a thick layer of
It came to the point that we could no longer find things that we needed.
It was easier to go buy a new item than to look for it in the attic. I
needed a shelf in my closet. I knew exactly what I needed was up there
--someplace. But I couldn't face the mess, so I bought a new one. That
was the last straw.
In one of those surges of hormonal energy that women occasionally get, I
declared that it was time to clean the attic. I donned old clothes and
determined that my daughter and I would reduce the unsightly
accumulation. Junk would go to the junkyard. Usable stuff, no longer
used, would go to charity. Only the cream of the junk crop would be
Boxes of books were opened while silverfish scattered in every
direction. Furniture was scooted around. Bags were unpacked. Trash was
thrown down the stairs. Dust flew. It was disgusting! How could anyone
let things get into such a state?
I've read that people hoard things that they don't need because they are
afraid of throwing away something that they might use later. Am I
becoming a hoarder? Will they find five hundred empty mayonnaise jars in
my attic when I die? I found five dozen canning jars that hadn't been
touched since the vegetable garden of 1990.
I've heard that the difference between a collector and a hoarder is that
collectors keep things because they give them pleasure, not because they
are afraid to throw them away. Also, they are somewhat organized with
Organization definitely did not enter the picture where my attic was
involved. Am I becoming one of those people that you read about in the
paper? Neighbors complain about the smell and police find 100 cats
inside someone's house.
Time to clean before the cats find me. Out, out, junk! Be gone from me!
After two days and numerous trips to the junkyard with disintegrated
cardboard boxes, I began to feel hope. After untold trips to the local
charity collection site with reusable items, I began to think
positively. Funny, though, as I looked around the attic, I could not
miss a thing. The attic was still full. Is the junk mating and
Yes, unbelievable, but after two days of hauling stuff away, it looked
exactly the same.
I want my attic back. I want the junk out of my life forever. I want
only one Christmas tree, no extra tires that don't fit any automobile
that we own; no boxes of used clothes to store, no computer chairs with
cracks in the leather, no fodder for dust mites.
Someday I will finish the task. Someday I will clean the attic until it
sparkles. Someday the dust mites will no longer have parties over my
head. But, I just can't face it today.
However, if there were one bright spot to all this ungodly mess
polluting my life, it would have to be that I didn't find any extra cats
up there at all.
Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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