I Understand Hoarders Because of My Dad

Quick story about keeping junk.

Annie Wegner
2 min readJun 26, 2022


Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Most people are hoarders.

You don’t consider yourself one because you declutter a few times a year. Or because you throw out unusable items like a pizza box.

  • A junk drawer in the kitchen.
  • A closet section dedicated to clothes you never wear.
  • A garage you can’t park your car into anymore.

Those habits feel small compared to an entire house of junk. But one significant trauma can have you going from minimalist to hoarder.

Now I Understand.

My dad isn’t a full-blown hoarder.

The understanding comes from a tube of toothpaste. Thank goodness it isn’t anything to attract ants.

He hasn’t seen his siblings in two decades.

One visited and brought toiletries as gifts. In the package was a toothpaste.

Toothpaste usually gets thrown out when squeezed flat. But not this one. My dad twists and turns the tube to get out every drop of gel. Now, the empty toothpaste tube sits there next to a full one.

Will he ever throw it away?

The lesson

Emotional gaps often get filled with stuff or memorabilia. It is a physical hold on a moment. Like you need proof the event happened.

The proof still sits in the open.

Since the reunion, my dad has not spoken to his sister again. Their relationship is fine. My dad and his sibling don’t make time to catch up. So, now the toothpaste tube sits in the bathroom.

I hope he never thinks I forget and says, “I haven’t spoken to or seen my sister in a while. But the last time she was here. She gave me this toothpaste.”

Thank you for reading this post.

© Annie Wegner 2022-Present.

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