No, I Don't Have OCD, I'm Just Thrifty

Tractor with trash

Laura Lorson's hoarding practices aren't this bad ... yet. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Laura Lorson

Laura Lorson is the local All Things Considered host for Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence. KPR/University of Kansas hide caption

itoggle caption KPR/University of Kansas

I've learned a lot about myself in these tight economic times (as tends to happen, if American literature of the 1930s is to be believed). And I have learned that I am kind of a hoarder.

Not a crazy hoarder, mind you. I'm not sitting on 60 years of newspapers or keeping 35 cats in my basement. I'm talking about useful things: toothpaste, yarn, flour, soap. I don't know why. It probably all got started back when I was a kid, and we'd periodically just flat run out of toilet paper. That sort of thing didn't bother my mom, but it drove me nuts when I was 8.

Because I had no way to fight this as a child, my revenge has manifested itself as being an adult with a two-year supply of pretty much everything. I could stuff a king-sized mattress with the toilet paper I have on hand at the moment. My husband has gamely put up with it all, though he does balk at putting "dishwashing detergent" on the grocery list when we have seven bottles of it sitting under the sink.

Anyway, the economic crisis actually is enabling me with this whole thing. I find myself broke at the end of the month, as usual, but suddenly remember that I need a birthday present for my sister. No problem – I have about a thousand yards of discounted slightly-damaged aqua-colored yarn just waiting to be turned into ill-fitting aqua-colored socks. See? I knew I'd need it sometime. I can even throw in a bonus ill-fitting aqua-colored hat. Local food pantry needs a donation and it's the end of the month? No sweat. Hope they like canned peas – I got a deal on a gross of them in January. Burnt-out lightbulb? Oh-ho, it is to laugh. As long as one of those odd-colored daylight-simulating compact fluorescent bulbs will do...I picked up three dozen at a yard sale back in October of last year. Sure, it makes the room look like something out of a Brian dePalma movie...but who cares? I had it laying around!

The economy has turned my bulk-sales jones and obsessive coupon clipping into a virtue rather than a manifestation of OCD. What looked like a problem that might need psychopharmacological help now looks like foresight and thrift! Thanks, global recession!

Laura Lorson is the local All Things Considered host for Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence.

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