Thank Grog It’s Firday!
I started writing this, as I was was finishing Phase I of dealing with my Mom’s estate. These things are complicated, especially with a “collector” like my Mom. I wish I could tell you how many phases this is going to entail. But, after a week of constant sorting, trashing, and organizing, We are several phases away from being complete.
But, while I was knee deep in sorting piles, I started thinking of things in terms of TSTO, and how we have all become “virtual hoarders,” and that in everyday life, everything is turning into not much more than bits and bytes in a cloud that may or may not simply “evaporate” one day. Will we miss what we have stored and lost? Or will it just be like the huge collection of “salt cellars” that my Mom collected over decades…and nobody wants?
It is a dilemma, that is not easily solved…and perhaps needs a “greater power” to make the hard decisions.
Let’s take a look at how TSTO and Real Life Storage Issues compare.
I know, I know…you are all going to say, “But we have UNLIMITED STORAGE IN OUR GAMES!!” Yeah…maybe.
But, what is storage all about? Is it placing things “Out of sight, out of mind?” Or is it saving something “you might use later, in a safe place until you need it?”
That last line is the favorite saying of hoarders everywhere. And make no mistake about it, no matter how well organized your “stuff” is, if you have way more stuff than you need, you are on the path to becoming hoarder.
You know who you are. You, who have tens of thousands of donuts saved up, or have maxed out the amount of cash you are allowed in the game…or have accumulated so damn many items with “Bonus Percentage” values, that you have rendered the concept of “farming for donuts” useless.
If personality types hold true, I suspect that you hoard other things in your “real life” as well.
The problem with unlimited storage, is the very real reality, that you aren’t bound by common sense. You have far more than you can possibly remember that you have, but yet, because it’s unlimited, you just keep accumulating.
That really doesn’t work well in real life. I have two real-world examples…both close relatives. One being my own mother, the other my mother-in-law.
My Mother-In-Law is a Storage Unit Hoarder. As her life changed, and she downsized to smaller and smaller houses and apartments, rather than get rid of things, she just got storage units. Yes…some of it was “valuable art” she had collected. But the majority of it was brand new, almost never used, furniture, appliances, and household decorations from the 1970s-1980s. She had three super large storage units. The impracticality of this became obvious, when we had to clear them out, and realized she had spent tens of thousands of dollars in rental fees to save mint condition washing machines, and other appliances that nobody really wanted. And this is to say nothing of reams and reams of kids dolls, art and decorations that the her adult kids wished they would have had throughout their lives.
That all sounded pretty bad…until we started clearing out my Mom’s house last week.
My Mom’s house was affectionately nicknamed “The Smithsonian West.” She saved and archived everything. And I do mean everything. She was a very organized hoarder. But, who really needs countless full-size notebook binders, with news articles, printed emails from all of her friends, relatives, and political targets, carefully ensconced in plastic sleeves. There were more than 100…from family history, personal scrap books on all of the kids, pictures, news clippings, and more…all carefully catalogued, and stashed in very organized shelves.
But, that isn’t the half of it.
Mom was an antiques collector. This condition was exacerbated by her “late in life business venture,” as an antique merchant. Mostly.
There are actually some valuable items in these cases (she has about 12 others as full). Some are very collectible, others are just things she liked, but most all of the family just wanted a handful of it. Crazy. And yes…trust me, that word has been used a lot this past week.
What we have discovered, is that for every metric ton of antiques she may have sold over the ten years she and Dad filled their post-retirement time with their business, 2.5-3 metric tons of “stuff they decided to keep” or “overages from the booth” ended up at home. Again…all neatly displayed, but voluminous.
After three full rounds of the entire family taking what they wanted (which was ironically mostly things my amazingly talented father made, including pottery, baskets, furniture and more), we have a full 2600 sq ft. house still bursting at the seems…and ready for an estate sale. It’s heartbreaking, maddening, and just a bit eye-opening.
So…how does this pertain to TSTO???
Well…lately, all of the “Declutter Specialists” and “Hoarding Therapists” tell people to take pictures and scans of your possessions so you can remember them, after selling or donating them (or creating a niche in a landfill somewhere).
That is great. Except…then, you have to figure out where to store the digital images...on hard drives (which fail), or “the cloud” (which can be hacked, destroyed, corrupted, or lost with the flick of the wrong switch).
Let’s not fool ourselves. The “security” of storing our stuff, our extra town items, and our towns themselves, is not secure at all. It WILL go away some day. Unless of course, you want to do a massive screen shot of your town, have it blown up and printed, and turned into a large framed poster to put in your house…so your kids have to deal with it later.
It’s all about stuff. And placing value on things that are only really valuable to you…with the expectation that someone else will find it valuable too.
I came back from my first week of my Mom’s house…with boxes of stuff that I have to scan, so that my family members can have copies. Old family pics…scrapbooks…and random collections of important artifacts of 88 years of life (more if you count the vast collection of my ancestor’s stuff).
There are close to 20 MORE boxes full like this. All needing to be scanned.
It’s going onto hard drives…where it will be “safe.” But not really safe…
It will become even less safe, and looked at, than the humongous collection of random posts and pictures on Facebook…who regularly reminds me that “X happened five years ago on this day).
I maintained my Mom’s Facebook account, because she could never really get the hang of it. She was bothered by those reminders, because she had already likely printed the pictures and posts, and put them into a scrapbook. It forced her to go look to make sure she had printed and saved it, and usually ended up just re-printing it for safe measure. Yes. Wading through her organized chaos is going to be a herculean task.
The real question here…is that are we better for having all of this stuff? Or did fate actually make the question easier for people who lose everything in a fire or some natural disaster.
Oh dear God…It just occurred to me…
Do I have to find a safe way to protect the hard drives once I scan everythingt? What happens if we have a fire and they are lost? Should I back everything up onto the cloud? WHO IS GOING TO PAY THE CLOUD STORAGE BILL AFTER I AM GONE???
And what it he hell am I going to do with 20 Beast Toilets in my storage???
There is a theory, that energy is eternal, and simply reanimates into other entities or stuff in this, or perhaps other universes. Our souls are like a wave that crashes onto the shore, and then folds back into being just a part of the greater ocean from whence it came.
Will the same thing happen with all of the digital and actual bits and pieces left over from a life well lived? I like to think so.
But first…I have to spend the next few months scanning what my Mom thought was important enough to keep…
Wish me luck.
Do YOU collect stuff? Do YOU have more than 10,000 donuts? Do you wish someone wanted your collection of antique sugar bins? Let us know!