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How not to become featured on an episode of “Hoarders”


When I was home with a newborn baby and an 18-month-old, those were some of my darkest, longest days. Days often filled with tears (usually theirs – but sometimes mine.)

In order to do anything outside of my home – I needed a double stroller. Even before Sam was born I began pricing them out and trying to decide which style would best suit my needs.

I became obsessed.

“Why do we need a $300 stroller?” Mr. Gaga would ask as I poured through Consumer Reports ratings.

“I need to leave this house someday – and I can only do that if I have somewhere to strap both of them in!” I would say frantically with my heart palpitating.

I had put myself into a very unfortunate situation by getting pregnant with a boy when my first boy was 9 months old. My sanity and any semblance of a quality of life was ripped out from under me (and I am still anxiously awaiting its return.)

So in my claustrophobic and exhausted mind – this double stroller meant everything to me, it was my ticket out of here. 

It was a magic carriage that would solve all of my problems and make my life normal again. 

It was my “key to the city.”

I could go to the mall!!

I could go for a walk with both kids!!

I will be skinny! 

I will be happy!!

So the money was spent for a delightful side-by-side double stroller.  I put my newborn in it right away – which in hindsight was utterly ridiculous, and I was free to leave home.

I wish I had known that my 18-month-old would soon refuse to go in any stroller at all.  If I was able to strap him down against his will – he would spend the whole time poking his brother’s eyeballs and waking him up when he dozed off.

So after maybe 4 or 5  months – I promptly put my newborn into a single stroller and hung the double stroller up in the garage.

It was such a short window of time, but that stroller saved my life.  There have been other pieces of baby equipment that have been as important to me – and when I am done using them I put them in the garage or basement.

About twice a year – Mr. Gaga tries to throw everything in the garbage. 

“What are you doing?!” I say as I wheel my double stroller back into the garage. “This is my $300 double stroller!”

“You don’t even need one stroller – let alone one for two babies.” Mr. Gaga would say with exasperation.

Finally he had enough when Michael was 5 and Sam was 3 1/2.

“If you don’t want me to throw it out – then give it away,” he said standing firm.

“Give it away? What if I have another baby?”  (I am absolutely not having another baby.  I don’t even like babies, but what else could I say?)

“Well – if you have another baby – it’s not going to be with me – so that means I’m saving a stroller for some other dude’s baby.”

Foiled.

Once we got rid of that little red car and the stroller - we were in much better shape....

I don’t want to be a hoarder.  But my “stuff” means something to me.  That double stroller saved me from going into the mental institution (and it cost $300) – I really cannot throw it out.

So – I give some stuff away and donate some stuff – and time and time again, because I never learn – I attempt to bring things to the children’s consignment store.

This week – in an attempt to clear out space in the basement – I brought some larger items that I have been hanging onto for no apparent reason.

These places are horrible – they always have a reason to not take your things – and if they do – they give you approximately a nickel for it. 

I keep going back like an idiot.

I think I finally learned my lesson.

First off – there’s the preparation.  Every item that has been chewed and barfed on and colored on – has to be spit-shined and look brand new.

Then I have to park my car and hold my kids’ hand while juggling huge baby swings and rocking horses into the store. 

When I was doing this – I saw another woman getting out of her car and going frantically into her trunk attempting to get stuff out quickly while her baby cried in the backseat.

Then when you get everything into line – they tell you to come back in an hour and half.  When you come back they tell you to come back in an hour.  When you come back again – they say they will give you $10.50 for half of your stuff (which the total retail value is $500.00) – and the other half needs to be juggled back to the car – and brought to the goodwill.

Meanwhile – in the midst of that exact scenario happening to me (which is actually a success with this store believe it  or not) – I saw a couple pull up in a pick-up truck FILLED with baby stuff.  Swings, strollers, high chairs, bouncy seats, exersaucers, you name it. The woman was in the back of the pickup – wiping everything down and the man was unloading it all and bringing it into the store. 

They finally got everything in while I was waiting in line.  The woman was hunched over the high chair out of breath and sweating while her husband spoke with the woman at the counter. 

Do you know they said they already had too much of all the items and to bring them back in a couple of months??

I thought the lady was going to cry.

Then I left – and the other woman who had been so focused on getting her “stuff” out of the car had locked her keys in the car with her baby!!!!

She was now crying and looking into the window at her crying baby while a policeman tried to jimmy the lock.  Don’t worry – she got all her baby crap out ready to be consigned!!

When I saw that – I realized.  We are all insane!!

Why do we do it? Why are we baby hoarders?

It’s just not worth it. 

Now in the interest of not being a hoarder …..I am going to give something away for free!!!!

Remember last week I spoke about the LEGO KidsFest which will be coming to Hartford, CT from December 2nd to December 4th??

Well it’s time for my LEGO KIDS FEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

To enter you must leave me a comment (preferably about how funny I am and how much you love me;)) – and then share or like me on Facebook!!

The winner will be chosen randomly and win 2 tickets to the:

Lego Kids Fest -Sunday Session 2 (December 4th – 3:00 PM to 7:30 PM) (worth $20 a piece)

Good Luck Lady Goo Goo Gaga fans!!!

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15 responses »

  1. ok That was hysterical. I am thinking about the numerous times I went to that horrible place and made $4 but still try to drag my kids back there every couple months…forget it!! Love your work..your a genius:)

    Reply
  2. Ha Ha, I have one of those. When be moved back from South Africa to Belgium we didn’t bring anything that didn’t fit into a 20 kg suite case. Therefore my lovely stroller stayed in South Africa. Tiger had just turned 2 and well I figured that we would just get him a simple stroller once we settled down.

    That never happened. He we carried everywhere whenever he got too tired to walk. Then when my brother and his family moved back to SA I had the pleasure of selling all their things that they could not give away before the move. I got rid of everything except of their stroller. I wanted to keep it just in case (in case of what I don’t know) but said stroller is still in our basement and we have never used it & neither has anyone who’s come to visit us.

    It’s just that it’s nearly new and I can’t just get rid of it !

    Reply
  3. Darn, I was hoping you’d be giving away that double stroller!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for your honest perspective on parenting. I love being a mother, but let’s be honest it’s not all puppies and rainbows. We give up so much for these little people… Ok, basically everything; so that we have to cling to what saves our sanity. With my first it was a fisher price cradle swing… Without this swing I would have been in a mental institution in the first two months of his life.

    Reply
  5. Now you give me the double stroller idea. After I struggled with a newborn and 18 month old and a single stroller. Arg.

    Thankfully all my baby equipment has been used by all 3 kids, and while I have since then passed some of the lesser-used stuff (read: newborn stuff) on to friends (no such thing as consignment shops here), the rest of it will be thrown out since it is too used, and in some cases broken, to be given away.
    I’ve used my stroller so much that the frame is bent out of shape and it keeps veering to the side when I push it. It gets worse when the older ones are holding on and dragging back while I’m pushing it. It’s a good arm workout but that’s it.

    Reply
  6. Okay. I am glad to read that I am not the only person that has developed a rational (or irrational maybe) fear of becoming a hoarder of many items including kids stuff. I am a teacher and tend to collect “resources” and I was cracking up laughing reading this post. Life is too full of those “what if we need this again” or “what if i run into someone else who could use this” moments and though selling those things seems like a good idea i always regret it and think i would get more satisfaction out of giving them away…. Fortunately, lego tickets could be used up pretty swiftly with an 8 and 10 year old who would love love love to go! Did I mention how funny you are and how much I love your blog ? :)

    Reply
  7. good post, added you to my RSS reader.

    Reply
  8. Read this post with nods of recognition and peals of laughter. You are an excellent writer! We are fortunate enough to have a large attic, which is where EVERYTHING is stored. I am actually under the grand illusion that I will be giving my kid’s things to THEIR kids! From clothes (which will be so out of style they just may be back IN style by the time I have grandchildren) to empty LEGO boxes (because once my son finishes playing with them, I’ll re-box and sell them on eBay, dontcha know)! Not only do these THINGS have a monetary value, they have emotional attachments as well. I’m sure the memories you have to some of that stuff are like why I can’t part with that battered old copy of “Goodnight Moon”…the remembrance of laptimes and “GM”s connection to them are not something I think I’ll ever want to part with!
    Signed,
    Webberbear and her #1 LegoFans! ;)

    Reply
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