Hoarding for Beginners

Please send help.  Call one of those hoarding shows.  We have a problem.  During a perfectly lovely playdate this afternoon my friend’s baby pulled himself up on the ottoman in our living room and moved the lid ever so slightly.  Just enough for me to discover what Piper had been hiding inside:

Yes, those are dirty socks hoarded away in the ottoman.  And a few pairs of underwear for good measure.  The culprit is clear. The rainbow puppy paw prints on the size 4T undies really gave it away. Apparently, when you’re watching TV on the couch in our house and feeling…shall we say…constricted… you strip off the offending clothing and stuff it in our ottoman.  For weeks. You can put your leftover cereal in there, too, rather than walk the ten feet to the kitchen. Do I need to tell you about the smell?  I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask. “Piper, why did you stuff your dirty clothes and leftover food in there?”

“I’m saving it.”

“For what?”

“Later.”

I understand that kids hoard. They collect stuff, like trash. Some even do so for a useful purpose.  Maybe even like this:

This is what Piper’s big sister does with her own hoarding.  She creates sockfits, which is a full line of Barbie clothing made out of mismatched socks. She designs and sews them herself. Somehow, this hobby has moved my response from reproachful disdain to admirable frugality. Our friends now save the orphaned socks from their laundry and bring them over to our house for fashionable recycling. Piper’s hoarding, though, hasn’t yet evolved.  She’s still in the denial phase.  She doesn’t have a problem.  Isn’t it normal to sleep in a bed with 34 stuffed animals? And doesn’t everyone need seven baby blankets to keep warm at night? There’s hardly a spare inch in the bed for the little hoarder.  And that’s exactly as she likes it.