Monday, April 13, 2015

The Lurid Confessions Of The Plastic Box Man

My name is Alan Burnett and I am an hoarder. There I have said it and I feel better now. It took a lot of doing, making that confession: indeed I wrote some notes on a large post-it pad in order to find the right words. Now if you will excuse me a moment I just need to go off and file those notes.

That's better. There is always a sense of satisfaction in getting something tidily filed away - especially when you have managed to invent a new sub-folder to file it under (News From Nowhere Blog Notes, DDS, 201504). In this particular case it is a digital file - I scanned the post-it note, uploaded it to my Evernote Account, started a new sub-folder, tagged it until it was top-heavy and finally laid it to rest.

You see I am twice cursed: not only do I suffer from  compulsive hoarding syndrome (or Diogenes Syndrome as it is sometimes called) but I also suffer from the modern offshoot of the classic syndrome - which is defined by a desire to scan everything and digitally file it on some cloud somewhere) which I have christened Digital Diogenes Syndrome of DDS.

The two conditions feed off each other and attempt to compartmentalise my life. During this technological transitional stage there is even a temptation to get Diogenes to wear a belt and braces by not only digitising every aspect of my life, but also physically filing them away just in case the cloud should burst some day. Now if you will excuse me a moment I just need to go off and find a suitable plastic box.

That's better. My room is full to the brim with plastic boxes: if ever the place caught fire I suspect I would eventually be discovered sealed in a melted plastic block like some prehistoric bug in amber. Plastic boxes are both a boon and a curse for us Diogenes sufferers - they provide a cheap filing fix with endless opportunities to label and sub-divide. But even seasoned sub-dividers such as myself occasionally have to find recourse to that cheapest of tricks, the box marked "Bits And Pieces". And it was whilst searching through several of these "Bits and Pieces" boxes this morning that I finally decided to make my public confession.

What I was actually looking for was one of the little plastic bricks from my childhood Bayko Construction set. Bayko was a wonderfully sophisticated construction system - a fine claret of a building system compared to the beaujolais nouveau of Lego - which probably hasn't been manufactured for fifty years. The bricks were coloured a somewhat lurid red, green and cream and slotted into steel scaffolding poles that would be enough to turn the stomach of a modern day safety advisor. Some time ago I found an old brick and, true to my calling, I filed it away in a box marked "Bits And Pieces": hence my search.  And what started the whole thing off was passing a house the other day which suddenly reminded me of the 1930 suburban villas I used to design and build with my Bayko kit.

My confessions over, I can return to my search for the toy building brick. Just as soon as I have filed this blog post away on a suitable digital cloud.


  1. And, I thought I was the only one. Nice to know I am not alone in my fetish for filing.

    1. You are certainly not alone - and nice to hear from you after all this time.

  2. But an organized hoarder! :)

  3. I can't believe you need two different boxes for post-it notes.

  4. Come on Alan - you and just about every other bloke that ever existed!

  5. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Aha! I have relatively recently discovered the joys of stackable clear plastic storage boxes and I'm amassing a fairly impressive collection for a beginner. Now all my stuff is neatly filed away in damp-, dust- and mouse-proof storage but I can'[t find anything. I fear I have something to learn about filing :-)

  6. I am completely opposite to you I file nothing. I have piles that bother me. After a while I throw everything out. That's my apology and I'm sticking to it.

  7. I so wish I was organised.. not a hoarder, but at least organised. I have teetering piles and a filing cabinet full of out-of-date stuff.

  8. It is fun to keep it all organized and I also enjoy a big pile that I need to organize. I hate it that when it is time to have the new furnace installed that I have to go down into the basement and reorganize it so the men can get to the furnace site. I like you photo of the house. It does remind me of Legos houses.

  9. I understand! I do have some plastic boxes but I prefer the pretty cardboard ones somehow they seem less like I am hoarding! Carry on Alan, someday the Lad will try to figure out why you saved everything:)

  10. Anonymous8:44 AM

    Well do you have a name for people with cupboards who will allow you to take something out of them but a short while later there is no room to put the same object back in the cupboard. All my cupboards have gradually developed this disease, hence my debris littered surroundings


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For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...