Life in Poland

My parents are not pathological hoarders like on TV but…

…that’s only because their house is enormous.
Years ago my parents home housed,
my parents (2 sztuki),
my grandmother (1 sztuka),
and my sister and myself (2 sztuki).
At one point we all had cars (5 sztuk) and TVs (5 sztuk).
I almost forgot about my father’s Harley (1 sztuka), not to mention various lawnmowers (2 sztuki, riding and pushing), a weedeater (1 sztuka), a four-wheeler (1 sztuka) and an industrial digger (1 sztuka).
That’s a lot of people and a lot of people’s stuff for one house and a double garage to hold. Somehow we and all our stuff fit in this house and we lived somewhat harmoniously for years and years. Luckily, we each had our own bedrooms and there were enough bathrooms that we rarely had to wait get in there before school or work.
Now the same home houses,
my parents (2 sztuki),
and their cars (2 sztuki), their TVs (5 sztuk), the Harley, the 2 lawnmowers, the weedeater and the chainsaw, the four-wheeler, the industrial digger, a garage full of power tools and various sundries, the bikes (3 sztuki), the kayaks (2 sztuki), the RV which has it’s own 2 TVs, and the boat.
I’m not writing all that to brag. Anyhow, what is there to brag about? It’s not my stuff. I’m not writing it to say “woe is me, my parents are drowning in consumer debt” because they are not (the RV and the boat they bought for us to use for our vacation and paid cash). I am writing this to say WHAT THE WHAT!?!
Who needs all that stuff?
We dragged our 2 suitcases (one large, one carry-on size) for 4 people into what used to be my room at my parent’s house. I settled the girls into what used to be my grandmother’s room. Knowing that we were in for a 6-week stay, we decided to unpack everything into the dressers or closets.
And so I began to unpack. But hey, guess what. All the dresser drawers were full. Next dresser, full and the dresser after that full. I tried my old closet, and yes we were full. I tried my grandmother’s old room which had been personally cleaned out by me after her death, Oh what did we find there? Full, full, full. The hall closet full. My sister’s old room full. The downstairs closet full, closet under the stairs full, full and some more full. With what you ask? The majority of the items were clothes. Clothes for all seasons in all colors in a 4-size range up and down from the owner’s current size. Many of the clothes also span 4 decades of style as well but that is neither here nor there. bedrooms,closets,females,hanging clothes,hanging clothing,households,people,persons,women
Next would have to be home items such as sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, curtains, etc. followed by dishes, trays, glassware and tupperware. After that would be shoes, books, guns (yes, I said guns) and decorations for every possible American holiday. Lastly, would be old appliances they forgot they had and bought another one (yes it is necessary to have a coffee maker in the main kitchen, in the den kitchen, in the garage and in the RV).
Why do American people have so much shit stuff? That’s a real question not an introduction to my eloquent and insightful analysis entitled “Americans and their shit, an expose”. Nope, I’m really asking. Why?
One of my American friends was amazed to hear that I only have  4 pairs of jeans (and that they all fit me) and less than 10 pairs of shoes. Another friend upon seeing a picture of my village kitchen with its free-standing cabinets asked the question,  “But where do you keep all your shit?” Here’s the key, the real kicker…I’m not better at organizing than the average American. I just don’t have any shit. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I just don’t. Maybe it is because I never knew how long I was going to stay in one place (as an adult) so I just avoided acquiring stuff. Maybe it is because I worked in a store during university and it cured me of any desire to shop. Maybe it is because I prefer practical things, things that have a purpose beyond pure esthetics. Maybe it is because I have a good grasp on the concept of essential and non-essential. Or maybe it is just because I am kind of poor. That’s a good explanation too.

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  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Most Americans have too much STUFF. Consumerism is ingrained in the culture – and without it the economy would grind to a complete stop. Remember after 9/11 when Bush told everyone to just go shopping? It doesn't get more American than that.Dorota in Colorado

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    4 pairs of jeans? Your're Rockefeller! ;-/

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    August 29, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I am thinking where to put myself on the Your-Parents-Or-Other-Americans-vs-You scale. I do not have a lot of shit altogether but I do like shopping and have more pairs of shoes than you do. I'll be back when I have managed to draw any conclusions from all my thinking. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Dorota – I do remember when Bush said that. Lot's of people in Poland asked me about it back then. We went to America February after 9/11 and were amazed to see how empty the stores were, but not to worry, people's houses were still full. A consumer economy is strong as long as we all spend…and there's no room for VAT in that scheme.nielot – You should see my sock drawer ;)fiona – I've been drawing a lot of conclusions lately but they are taking me nowhere.

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    August 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    This post made me laugh. I love organising and I know what is where all the time. I don't keep things that I will never use again and I refresh my wardrobe every year. 6 months with my twins, I am organised in this department too.But then, every 2 months, my Other Half, who can afford to buy a lot (gadgets and clothes mostly) and who's clothes sizes depend on the season, descends and causes chaos everywhere with his stuff. Just so, when he leaves for work again in 1-2 months time, I will have another 2 months to organise everything… :)PS. I've seen TV programs about American hoarders but I had no idea it was that common. What would your parents say if you emptied some of the drawers and sold their spare-forgotten-never-used stuff of eBay?PS.2. I am so against having TVs in bedrooms. Nowadays, when families have less and less time to spend with each other, at least they can watch TV together. And the bedrooms… well that's where the magic happens. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    It is true that Americans have too much of everything. Love your blog since I am Polish living in USA 🙂 iwona

  • Reply
    September 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Hanna – I am with you on the TV's in the bedrooms. We don't do it in Poland and we didn't do it for our stay with my parents. With my parents' stuff, I just got rid of some of my father's stuff and told my mother that if he noticed (he won't) to blame it on us.Hi Iwona and welcome 🙂

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