Hoarders Anonymous

My name is Erin, and I am a hoarder. I have been a hoarder for 12,364 days. Reportedly, the doctor was quite perplexed when I arrived clutching the umbilical cord for dear life, swearing that I just might find a use for it someday. As a child I had so many stuffed animals that my mom was forced to suspend them from ribbons tied like nooses round their furry little necks, and then hang them from a golden chain swagged across the ceiling. It was only a little scarring. But also informative -- I still like gold. And things. Lots and lots and lots of things. Pass on the nooses, though.

Now that I am grown, my obsession has inflated to brobdingnagian proportions -- not that the average person would ever know it. Because, like many addicts, I hide my disease well. I work hard at configuring every micrometer of storage space to resemble a Tetris puzzle so that our public spaces appear free and open. Clutter is mostly minimized, although I must admit a newly acquired chair or errant tchotke can temporarily upset the balance.

But most often it's just a matter of time before the latest and greatest finds are somehow absorbed by the ever expanding attic, closets, or backyard shed. The garage, unfortunately, has been permanently sealed off. Evidently it has become molecularly unstable, and the addition of even one more lamp may open up a black hole. Or so I've been warned.

My lamp lust runs like a jingle -- bet you can't stop at just one. It seems that I can't even stop at 27, and those are just the table lamps. I'm not even counting the unmounted ceiling fixtures and sconces, piled high in wiry drifts.

Then there is the vast, still multiplying chair population. They may be motley multitude, but I love them all well enough to know each by heart. There are: 6 Danish rope cord chairs, 4 Burke tulip chairs, 4 Saarinen tulip captain's chairs, 1 Milo Baughman tufted chrome chair, 1 chrome Thonet styled rocker, 3 lucite backed barstools, 1 Knoll handkerchief chair, 1 Knoll executive chair, 1 wood and wicker barrel chair, 1 leather club chair, and of course the grub worm chair. Embarrassingly, those are just the chairs I currently have no use for.

I take comfort in the certainty that I am not alone. I frequently sniff out kindred spirits on craigslist who are desperately attempting to offload dozens of items, hoping to make space for their cancerous thrift habits.

It is a vicious cycle. And perhaps -- just maybe -- some of you out there know what I'm talking about. Maybe you can understand a compulsion that never ceases, gnaws even at your sleep (you have scored in your dreams, haven't you?), and threatens to push you out of house and home. You know that you should not buy one single more thing, that you should instead hold the biggest garage sale the world has ever known, that clearing the hidden clutter would bring about a Zenlike epiphany.

Yes, I know all these things -- and more. And still I bought another ceiling fixture last Sunday... but it it called to me like a shiny gold and lucite siren. And it was ridiculously cheap! And I had to have it. Deals like that are a near religious experience.

My name is Erin, and I am a hoarder. I have been a hoarder for 12,364 days.

[All photographs by Rune Guneriussen, a magically delicious photographer who obviously knows a thing or two about hoarding]