is "love' or 'obsession' one step away from hoarding?

     I have been acutely aware lately of how much stuff I have to keep up with and how many places I have stuff. I live in a house full of stuff. I have an office and a large commercial kitchen at work... more stuff. I have a car, which often serves as a liaison office between home and work. I really should be cleaning it out right now, instead of blogging about it. I think George Carlin had a comedy bit about this very topic.
     While reading my friend the Housewife's blog about her visit, I noticed all the books in her pictures of my home. Cookbooks and food essays are in the most accessible spots throughout the house. Doing a fast inventory, I counted eighty-eight. In the dining room, huge floor to ceiling shelves flank the picture window. It is nicely organized by subject. Childrens' books are positioned on low shelves, ready for small hands to grab. Old college books live on the very highest shelf. Travel, history and biography are at MY eye level. Just seeing them makes me giddy. A large selection of Nancy Drew from various decades inhabits the older children's section and my favorites to reread are stacked on my dresser, my nightstand, under my computer desk, etc. In my mobile library, i.e. my car, at least one or two copies of something can be found... just in case.
     I am starting to see a pattern that could be considered hoarding. But they are BOOKS! My husband once cautiously inquired about my collection. Him: "How many books do four people need???" Me: "I'll let you know when I find out." He was not amused. My passion for the written word in paper form runs deep.
     A couple of months ago, my eldest daughter posted on her Facebook status that I had 24 jars of mustard in my pantry. Her friends were shocked and appalled, but curious. I have a very good explanation for this phenomenon. The mustard in question is an expensive Dijon import named Maille and sells for over $3 a jar. I am only slightly obsessed with mustard. I love them. Whole grain Dijon, sweet hot, horseradish, mustard with porter or caramelized onions, spicy brown, smooth Dijon and plain old yellow.
     I also love a bargain, so when stopping by the mustard aisle one morning, I spied the fancy Dijon on clearance for $1.05 each. To make the deal even sweeter, a manufacturer's coupon was tied around the neck for a dollar off. SO... what would you have done? Exactly! I bought them all for five cents apiece. My grocery total was somewhere in the $2.25 neighborhood... and you can imagine how excited the cashier was to scan all those $1 coupons individually. I bought 40-something jars and kept 24. The rest I took to the church's kitchen pantry.
     After all of those tee-ninetsy details, you want to know what I'm going to use it for, don't you? I posted a blog about the best (in my humble opinion,) vinaigrette. It contains Dijon mustard. I don't buy store bought dressing for salads, we eat quite a bit of it and there you have it! A short story long.
     My in laws, having succumbed to the economic downturn, lost their house to foreclosure in August. They moved in with us until they could get on their feet again. Before their arrival, I had to clean out several of my closets to make room for their stuff. Do you see a recurring theme? So, now that they are gone, I can spread my junk back out again... or just get rid of everything I haven't missed in five months!

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