Am I a hoarder?

I tried to clean my room today

Disclaimer: I’m not bragging

My wife is an IAS officer.

In 2017, when she cleared the UPSC civil service examination, our initial expectation was that she might end up in the Indian Police Service, and in one of the south Indian states. However, she was initially allotted the Indian Foreign Service, and later the Indian Administrative Service 1 . Her cadre? Tripura. I was not with her during her training in Mussorie and Tripura for the most part. In February 2019, I quit my job at NITI Aayog, and moved in with her at Belonia. Spoiler alert: It’s not a European town. It’s the district headquarters of South Tripura. Since then, we have moved homes several times - from South Tripura to New Delhi (for her stint as Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), from New Delhi to Khowai (in Tripura) when she was posted as the Sub Divisional Magistrate, and from Khowai to Kanchanpur (another sub-division in the state).

Wish I had Hermione’s Extension Charm

Every time we moved from one place to another, our luggage kept increasing. The number of bags, and the weight of the bags, if plotted, would resemble a strictly increasing monotonic function2. While the relocation allowance cushions the financial impact, the effort needed to pack, unpack, and repack everything takes a physical and mental toll on us, me in particular, because I’m a hoarder.

I have a hard time letting things go

Let me illustrate the quandary I’m in. Today was cleaning day. I decided to go through several unopened/partially opened bags that we keep shifting from one place to another. These are some of the items I found in the bag.

  1. At least 4 USB-A to micro-USB charging cables of varying lengths
  2. One mobile battery
  3. A JioPhone I rarely use
  4. Multiple AAA batteries
  5. Power-bricks
  6. An old watch (which may work if I change the battery)
  7. Several pens (partially used)
  8. Printer Installation CD-ROM
  9. Printer Manual

Some of these are at least 5 years old. The questions that come to my mind are these

  1. Should I throw away stuff that works even if I no longer use them or need them?
  2. If I throw them away, isn’t that wasteful? Harmful to the environment? 3
  3. What about useless stuff (like the printer CD and printer manual)?

Usually, these questions come to me when we have to pack and leave the current place of her posting. Time is short in those instances, and we just end up carrying everything to the next place, hoping that we’d find an answer there. This time, we think we have more time to get answers for the questions above.

Readers, I need your help. Give me your tips on this subject. How do I decide when to let things go?


  1. The service allocation at the time was based on one’s individual preference of states, conditional on the available vacancy and final rank in the exam. ↩︎

  2. Math nerds, please let me know if the usage is appropriate. ↩︎

  3. If you know how to do in-site safe disposal of non-biodegradable items, let me know. ↩︎

Arun Sudarsan
Arun Sudarsan
Economist and Policy Researcher

Arun is an Economist, passionate about Open Data and its potential to increase state transparency and accountability. Loves teaching. Previously worked at NITI Aayog. To subscribe to this blog’s mailing list, please enter your details here. Check your spam folder if you are missing updates. Thanks for subscribing!

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