This time of year is merciless on us hoarders, since we are confronted with seasonal traditions that bring our secret hoarding to light. One is finding the Christmas decoration boxes in the attic and facing the fact that we never got around to cleaning out the space during the year. I stay in a state of permanent denial that more has been added to the attic during the year than taken out. The fact that I have to move more boxes and stuff than I remember from last year to even get near the Christmas boxes is proof that the attic is full to the groaning point. So I reluctantly add “clean out attic” to the New Year’s resolution list…again.

But the hoarder in me claps excitedly at the thought of buying a new 2013 calendar. This means that I get to add this year’s calendar to my vast collection, which goes back further than I care to admit. I have a drawer in my grandmother’s antique desk that is filled to the brim with past years’ calendars. I just can’t let go of them. I have this neurotic fear that if I do, I won’t be able to recall dates, events, birthdays – all the things we scribble on our calendars to keep our lives straight.

Every now and then I open that drawer – hesitating because it’s packed so tight with all those different-sized calendars – just to see. Back in my single days, the calendars held rather small squares and featured the whole month on one page. Then as a husband and three boys came into my life, the squares needed to get bigger, and I bought calendars that gave me just a week per page – as if getting through the week was the goal…and believe me, it was. Doctor visits, play dates, sports schedules – it’s a history of our family that I just can’t let go of.

Should our house catch on fire, I’ve made a list for the boys on what to throw in the car before evacuating – besides me and the pets, of course. The family photo albums. The love letters between my great-grandparents that I’ve kept carefully preserved. I’m beginning to think I should add the calendars, but I doubt they’ll understand the reasoning of a sentimental calendar hoarder.

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