By now, we have all either seen or heard of that horrible reality show that exposes the folks who can’t seem to throw anything away. Most of us feel calmly superior while watching, patting ourselves on the back that here is at least ONE personality disorder that we don’t have to worry about.

But this morning, I went down into the basement to put in a load of laundry, and I took a look around. In the midst of a huge collection of stuff sat the accordion man, happily working on a project. I pointed out to him that we were both surrounded by THINGS. He nodded. “I have been trying to get rid of this stuff and the stuff in the attic for years now, but you don’t want me to.”

So I took an inventory of the things that I have been hesitating to eliminate:

LIBRARY CHAIRS. We don’t use them any more, but they are very comfortable, all wood, and I see ones just like them in catalogs. That makes them worth something, doesn’t it? Despite the chewing gum on the bottoms, the puffy paint on the seats, and the fact that they wobble when sat upon?

PINE CONES. It galls me to have to PAY for something that is plentiful in nature. Pine cones are used by some of the most famous decorators on HGTV, and they can enhance any table setting. They also look smart filling baskets by the hearth. A stash of pine cones is a necessity for modern trend setters.

FOLDING CHAIRS. I once had a party for over fifty people, and those chairs came in handy. Extra seating is another thing that folks like Carolyn Roehm and Vern Yip recommend. I believe that Sister Parrish had folding chairs aplenty in her home also. I rest my case.

LUGGAGE. Although we take few trips, it never hurts to be ready for an excursion. Writers need inspiration, and often find it in faraway places. The fact that the last trip we took was to West Virginia to see my mother is no way a factor. It is necessary to be ready to take off for parts unknown at a moment’s notice. Rick Steves says so.

WEDDING GIFTS. There are some really nice silver items in the basement that have never come out of their original boxes. Why, just the other day, I discovered a BEAUTIFUL pair of candlesticks that I don’t even remember receiving! It was like Christmas! They are now on the dining room table. I do admit that the three fondue sets are expendable, but there are three bun warmers and two hot trays that I will need to use along with the folding chairs, at my next party for fifty people. They stay.

If you live in an apartment or condo, you must be streamlined in your approach to life. But if you live in a house with a large basement and an attic, you can afford to hold on to valuable items that might some day have usefulness or great worth as antiquities. “Antiques Roadshow” was created for people with full basements and attics.

“Hoarders” is for sick people.

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