Help Me, I Might Be A Hoarder

used and abused wallet

This is the first wallet I ever made. It’s eleven years old and in an effort to overcome my hoarding behavior I have finally tossed it in the garbage.

When I was packing up and moving the gallery in June I came across stuff that really had no right to still exist in my life. I found things that were still boxed from the previous move. That means I packed it up in 2009 when I moved the gallery from Morro St to Marsh St. and there it sat, boxed up for two years in the Marsh St. location. Why? Because I’m a hoarder, damn it. Look, I’m not proud of it. As a matter of fact, I’m quite disgusted with myself. But hey, it’s not like I’m preserving my thirteen dead cats in the family freezer. Regardless, I’ve come to accept that my hoarding behavior is not only gross, but grossly unjustified as well.

Please take a look at exhibit one.

old movie ticket

I mean, seriously? A movie ticket from 2002? I don’t even remember what Igby Goes Down was about. Put your pervy thoughts aside. I do know it wasn’t a pornographic film and I do remember that Macaulay Culkin’s little brother was in it. Poor guy, destined to be known forever as somebody’s little brother. Also, if this is from 2002 that means this ticket stub sat in my studio apartment when I lived in South Pasadena for two years and when I moved back to SLO in 2004 it came with me and somehow ended up in the gallery. I’m pleased to tell you that it’s since been thrown in a recycle bin.


This tattered and torn Thomas Guide from 2000 is another relic from my life in Southern California. Back then it was the bible for newbies to Los Angeles. Now we all have world maps with street views in our pockets thanks to the nerds making ridiculous cell phones. I haven’t had the need to reference this bulky atlas in years. I’m well aware that if I did reference it to guide me through the city there would be no mention of new freeways, streets, roads, housing projects, etc. and I would probably get lost.

used wallets

Why did I have a shoebox full of dirty old wallets? I don’t know, but I do know that they survived the recent move and my plan is to hide them around town during one of my late night walkabouts. Maybe the finders of these wallets will be surprised to find a little treasure inside. Please note, I am totally aware that this whole “plan for the future” thing is straight out of the first lecture you hear in Hoarders 101. We hold onto stuff because we KNOW that we will have a use for it SOMEDAY. It’s always someday. And if it’s not someday than it’s somebody. We know somebody can use it. Unfortunately, it’s usually a future grandchild that doesn’t exist yet.

beggar sign

Coral found this gem a few years ago and we thought it was hilarious. It’s unclear if the owner of this sign was offering spare change to hookers the same way those “got tickets” guys hang out in front of concerts and sporting events or if they were asking for spare change so they can have some good old fashioned no strings attached sex with a lady of the night. Personally, I’ve never hired a hooker, but I did read Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and I can tell you it’s going to take a lot more than a little spare change to hire one. Anyway, I’m proud to say that this sign wasn’t actually something I had tucked away in typical hoarder fashion. I took the effort to hang it up as a proud display for all to see. Like they say, all good things must come to an end, so I left the sign on a bench for somebody else to find. Look at that…I couldn’t even throw it away because I know somebody out there would want it. And want it they did because an hour later I noticed it was missing from the bench I left it on. Hopefully, whoever picked it up put it to good use. Or got laid.


I’ve found so many doodles like this over the years I could fill a book. In fact, that was probably what I thought when I found this scrap which means there is a good chance I am still hoarding this for my future publication, “The Undisregarded Doodles Of Jeff Claassen“.

now it works

I have yet to pick up on the man purse trend, so I still carry my phone in my pocket. Like a lot of people, when I sit down in my car I take the phone out of my pocket and set it in the cup holder. Two and a half years ago I ritualistically removed the phone from my pocket as I sat and just as I released my grip to drop the phone in the cup holder I realized a cup of water had already claimed the spot. A second later the cup of water claimed the life of my cell phone. I went phoneless for about a week hoping it would come back to life, but it never did. At least not at first. All that talk about setting your water drenched phone in a bowl of rice or warming it in the oven might work, but putting it in a shoe box for two and half years worked just fine for me. It even had a little bit of battery left. Kids love cell phones, as do adults, but kids don’t care too much about it working as a phone. They are totally content to take photos and videos with it. They also like to set the alarm to go off from time to time to show off that they have a phone. As soon as I found this my plan was to give it to Evy. Naturally, I packed it in a box a month and a half ago and still can’t find it. Unfortunately, after I found it I made the dreadful mistake of telling her about it and now she asks for it daily. Heaven help me.


I’ve been hoarding this for close to two years. I totally forgot about it, but it gave my self-esteem a little boost when I found it. Sadly, the boost vanished immediately when I realized the window of opportunity to get on any “Under 40” list is getting smaller by the second. It’s the same feeling I had at 25 when I learned I was no longer eligible to be on MTV’s The Real World. As it turns out, by MTV standards, you are not a real person after the age of 24.

ball of thread

Sometimes a ball of thread represents a future art project. When you’re a hoarder it represents a future art project that will never happen. I swear, I had good intentions too. From time to time I make wallets and this collection of thread is the waste material of what’s left after I stitch all the pieces of the wallet together. How cool, I thought, if I made a wallet with these random pieces of thread sandwiched between two layers of clear vinyl. I’d be all, “Check this out! I made a wallet out of pieces I used to make wallets!” Yeah, that didn’t happen. After collecting thread in a bowl for years I still hadn’t done it, so this future project now exists only in memory as well as a landfill.

If you, too, have a hoarding problem here’s a bit of advice for you. If you haven’t used, touched or seen the item in question in four to six months toss that shit out. Seriously. Unless, of course, it cost you a lot money and you might use it before you die or in case you have a grandchild some day that might use it or if a relative gave it to you and you can’t live with the guilt of throwing it out even though you never liked it. If that’s the case then you should totally keep it!


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