Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The great belonging migration...a post hurricane hoarding confession

The days were a blur then, they are more so now. Water sat in our home for only two days. We were the lucky ones. 

Brittany & Travis's apartment took a few more days to dry...then the great belonging migration began. Brittany & Travis spent days wading through waist high water salvaging everything they could out of their house in bags and then hauling it upstairs at my house. Our upstairs was already pretty full of irreplaceable treasures & now would be filled to the brim with every single thing from their home that did not touch water. Things under water that were salvable formed a "need to be disinfected" pile, and other things like small appliances lined up on tables to be assessed later. Brittany said after days & days of this type of work "This makes me want to have nothing and live in a tiny house."                                                                                    

dare to say that everyone affected by this flood was confronted with various levels of "hoarding."                                                                                                                                                 

My hubby went on the war path months ago declaring that 50% of the stuff in our house needed to go! Before the storm hit I had just begun a "purge" however, the reality of his declaration and my purge style has a gap as big as the Grand Canyon. He is an Englishman who grew up with small cars, small closets, small grocery stores, & very small refrigerators. I grew up in the wide open spaces of Texas with a mammoth size family station wagon, grocery stores the size of football fields, and "let's make a quadruple batch of snickerdoodle Sundays" 

*(recipe to snickerdoodles just in case:):):)

Michael & I do not see eye to eye on what constitutes too much stuff...hahahaha 
Anyway...back to the story. Brittany's belongings went to my upstairs, more of my stuff went upstairs where Michael & I are living. I was thrilled when they could begin to move their belongings to Nellie's Cottage which would be their new home. Thrilled! Until I realized that everything in Nellie's, Flossy's, & Kimberly's (all of my retreat spaces) would then need to be moved. 24 twin beds, 24 comforters & 24 sets of sheets, 24 fans, 24 folding tables & 24 lamps, 24 rolling chairs, 2 fully furnished kitchens & one kitchenette of dish & cookware, 4 furnished bathrooms, 3 embellished porches....oh my holy stuff!                                          

Nellie's Cottage has been a fully furnished retreat venue for 7 years. Every wall & surface was decorated cottage shabby chic style and it all needed to go somewhere to make room for Brittany's household. Where you ask? would all make the migration to my torn apart, piled up, trail through the house...home.        

                                                                                                                                                                  The decorative collection and scrapbook store supplies from Nellie's now has a temporary home in Brittany's destroyed apartment...oh my holy stuff!     
                                                                                                                                                             Since all 5 of our Crossley & Tolman cars were flooded, a friends mini-van and our lowboy trailer made countless trips back & forth between Nellie's Cottage and my home in a great belonging migration. Downstairs the Tolman's rescued belongings would come, upstairs the mattresses & bedding would go. Decor, dishes and small furniture from Nellie's were piled up in Brittany's destroyed apartment behind my house. Why you ask, didn't I give it all away? Because all of the people who will be the recipients of my cottage belongings do not have a home at present! We are all in a "holding pattern" waiting for the humidity level to go down in our homes before sheetrock can be installed...and we live in a subtropical climate on the Gulf any day now. Right?                                                                                                                             

Belongings, glorious belongings. Oh! we have them all right. Some are necessary for sustaining life, others for comfort or celebrations, some because we DIY everything, and some "because we can't pass up the fluffy grey pillow at Marshall's because it will look like a dream on my new bed!"                                                                                                                

Belongings become liabilities in disasters.                                                                                          

They are a burden to salvage, pack, shift, migrate, haul, unpack, & put away again. In our defense we are talking about belongings from 2 households and 3 retreat cottages and a small scrapbook store!                                                                                                                            

Will we change our ways?                                                                                                                   

Will we share what is packed in our closets & drawers with those who have lost everything?                                                                                                                                                   

I pledge to do just that.                                                                                                                         

Will you join me?                                                                                                                                        

My new goal is to not end up on one of those horrific hoarder shows...and it begins now...well maybe right after one more trip to Marshalls...hahahaha!                  


  1. Know how you feel. Felt that way after Katrina. I continue to thank the lives of my family were safe. Those trinkets could be replaced. Praying for all of you and the strength to recover and rebuild.

  2. My parents also lost so many things in Houston. Things that were salvageable are now living in my overstuffed garage until their apartment is rebuilt. We already had a house full of stuff and now are bursting at the seams. However, we are blessed to have a home that did not flood and can hold all of these things. I look forward to Nellie's Cottage coming back someday down the road.

  3. Kimberly, you are a strong woman..John 15:19..

  4. I know what you mean. I flooded in August last year. Almost 4 feet in house. As I was dragging everything to the street I promised NOTHING was coming back in unless it had a place. I never want to go through this again. It is a SLOW process and takes LOTS of PATIENCE and PRAY. It has been over a year and we just completed sheetrock/texturing this weekend. Next weekend we will be installing interior doors and trim and new windows. Then floors, cabinets, air unit, appliances. I continue to keep everyone going through floods, fires and other disasters in my prayers.