Confessions of a Soup Collector


nablo13daytwentysevenThe first step in recovery, as every little schoolboy knows, is admitting that you have a problem. What I’m about to say may come as no surprise to those who know and love me: I AM A SOUP COLLECTOR! (Really, I’m a bit of an everything collector, but we’ll just concentrate on one thing at a time for now, okay?)

As I sit here, awaiting the mattress delivery people (who have conscientiously called three times to tell me they are “on their way”!), it occurs to me that even with all of the purging that has gone on here at the hovel over the last (almost) year since I embarked upon this decluttering/redecorating/madness-inducing exercise in what often seems like a never-ending cycle of moving things from one place to another before they wind up, ultimately and finally, out on the curb, that I still have entirely too much crap.

My husband, the much put-upon, Fang would agree. He calls me “ridiculous”. I often find myself in the position of defending my hoarding tendencies, but, I fear, that he may be right about me. I’m not wild for being called “ridiculous”, but I’m sure that I’ve been called worse.

All the time, money, and energy that has been expended in the “hovel purge” and I’m still surrounded by more junk than I can shake a stick at. And, I haven’t even fully hit the closets yet. Sure, I’ve done a little reorganizing in those areas, but a little is not nearly enough. Not by a longshot.

I’ve decided that I want to be one of those people who has one black sweater, five paper clips, and a pencil. I no longer want to be the person who hoards toilet paper. Although, truth be told, Fang is the toilet paper stocker-upper up around this joint.

How I’m going to become this person? Well, that’s going to be harder than I thought. Breaking Fang of his “twelve rolls of toilet tissue at a time” buying habit will be relatively easy in comparison to me trying to shed my own compulsive behavior. I think, though, that I need to start with soup. (Hopefully other canned goods will follow.)

That’s right, I said I’m going to start with soup. I’m what you might call a “soup collector”. In the interests of full disclosure, I will own up to currently having somewhere in the neighborhood of two dozen cans of soup stockpiled in the cupboard. In other words, I’m ready for the zombie apocalypse or, barring that, a blizzard of epic proportions.

We do, those of us who live here in the northeastern United States, have to be prepared for such things as blizzards, hurricanes, ice storms, and the odd tractor-trailer accident that takes out the electrical transformer — leaving us powerless, stranded, and hungry. Provided I can find the can opener in the dark, at least we’ll have COLD soup, which, I suppose, is better than no soup at all. At least that’s what I tell myself when I can’t resist the allure of the 2/$4 monthly special our grocery store entices me with on the large cans of Progresso (Chickarina’s my favorite!).

Don’t even get me started on their fiendish plot to make me buy six tubs of peanut butter at a time. But, at 2/$3 (limit 3 offers!) who can resist? Not me, I’ll tell you that. We go through buckets of peanut butter in this house. Buckets!

That I have no place to keep all of these things? That doesn’t even cross my mind when I find myself in a buying frenzy. Not ever. I do the same thing with items unrelated to food, too. If I like a sweater and it’s a bargain, I’ll buy one in another color. (Okay, okay, sometimes even two more, but that’s where I draw the line!) Tell me you wouldn’t buy THREE cashmere sweaters if they were on clearance for $20 each. Tell me you wouldn’t and I’ll call you a LIAR. (Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!)

I have to stop, though. I know I do. The full extent of my mania hit me today when I went to make myself some soup. I had a bit of a “light bulb moment” when I discovered that I have three cans of “Sirloin and Roasted Potato” soup. I cannot even imagine what would have possessed me to buy such a thing. I cannot even fathom eating a variety of soup with either sirloin or roasted potatoes in it, let alone ones in which they are the main ingredients. Unless someone is sneaking into my kitchen and placing canned goods into my cabinets, I must have purchased it. Also, no one else here buys anything food-related outside of the odd bag of chips or a package of cookies. (And they NEVER buy the cookies that I like, either!)

Odds are that I bought the stupid soup. I was the culprit. And now, as a result of this foolish behavior, I am in a position to examine not only my buying habits, but my husband’s assessment of me. Sure, I’d like to stumble across a forgotten or mindless purchase of, say, a pink cashmere turtleneck. Who wouldn’t? But “Sirloin and Roasted Potato” soup? Even I have to (grudgingly) admit to that being “ridiculous”!

I am going to take a deep, big girl breath, discard the “Sirloin and Roasted potato” madness, force my family to eat the other varieties of the soup that makes up my “collection”, and resolve NOT to let my cabinets burst at the seams ever again with the results of my bargain shopping.

Eating soup every night for a week won’t be so bad. Ridding the cupboards of the other canned goods will take some creativity, though. I’ll let you know how that meal of Beefaroni, red cabbage, and wax beans goes over.

14 thoughts on “Confessions of a Soup Collector

  1. gregschina says:

    I have slightly hordish tendencies myself. It runs in the blood!
    My granddad didn’t throw ANYTHING away; his garage was like Aladdin’s cave. One time a few years ago he procured a tea strainer for my mum, unopened, from 1960.

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  2. Kay Lynn says:

    I have too much stuff as well. I can’t stand to get rid of things I might need some day — knowing intellectually that it’s very unlikely. Keep up the good fight and you shall prevail!

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  3. This is hysterical, and I totally identify!! I’m originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast – hurricane country. When you’ve lived through or have had family live through so many devastating hurricanes, you collect canned food like a nut. For me it was any variety of Franco American and Chef Boyardee: Beefaroni, Ravioli, Spaghetti, Roller Coasters, Spaghetti-Os, Spaghetti-Os with meatballs, Spaghetti-Os with franks, Spaghetti-Os with cheese, you name it I hoarded it. Even after I was first married I did this because we lived in Chicago. Not necessary these days in the Pacific NW, but if I hear so much as a whisper of a threat of a winter storm and I’m stockpiling like nobody’s business!

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  4. I was thinking “food donation” too…though eating it is also an option!

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  5. Oh dear you have got it bad haven’t you? The second time we moved house I found in the garage (which my wife used) four cardboard boxes, still sealed, from the time we moved the first time, four years before. I just took them straight to the charity shop. My wife went mental, but as I pointed out if we hadn’t needed whatever was in there over the past four years, we weren’t going to need it in the new house either. There was a certain amount of friction about that.

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  6. peachyteachy says:

    ‘Tis the season of food donation. Perfect timing!

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