Toy Story 3 Linked To Self-Diagnosis of Disposaphobia

I haven’t believed in living toys since my brother’s plastic dog-shaped toy box tried to attack me when I was three years old.  I swear it really happened, but my parents insisted it was just a dream.  Either way, I didn’t venture into his room alone for several years.  I watched Toy Story 3 on DVD with the kids this weekend, which resurrected this memory and has forced me to wrestle with some confusing emotions.

First of all, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I got misty-eyed during two places in the movie the first time I saw it (when the toys joined hands waiting for the ‘end’ and when Andy drove off to college.)  The mist was heavy and dangerously close to tears.  I had to wipe them away and claim allergies or else my husband would tease me forever.

Sadly, when I watched the movie again this weekend, I still almost cried when Andy drove off.  And, to make it worse, I have the urge to start bawling just thinking about it right now.  This does not bode well for my emotional stability.  Next thing I know, commercials will leave me in a puddle of tears.  No, this is not good at all.

Something more disturbing has come out after watching this movie:  I’m now grieving stuff I have given away; abandoned.  You see, I’ve been battling clutter in my house.  Over the last several weeks, boxes of stuff have been donated to Goodwill and, judging by the state of my house, several more truckloads boxes could stand to go.

I’m not a hypochondriac or anything, but I think I’m afflicted with disposaphobia (fear of throwing things away.)  I half-joke that I’m obsessive compulsive and paranoid, but “Toy Story 3-induced-disposapobia” could ruin my life.

I hold the hot pink purse in my hands, ready to drop it into the donation box.  I can’t do it.  I imagine the purse telling the other discarded handbags about her miserable life, spending the last two years gathering dust on a cramped shelf, only to be tossed away.  I can’t leave her feeling that I don’t love her anymore.

I pick up my old clock radio, which has sat in my closet for the last ten years – replaced by an alarm clock with a CD player.  I contemplate letting go, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.  I’ve had him longer than my children and he never failed to wake me up for work on time.  I couldn’t bear to imagine him sitting on a cold, unfamiliar shelf, so I put him right back in his cozy spot in my closet.

I was all set to be brutal with what stays so I don’t feel so cramped in my house, but now that Toy Story 3 has made the personification of inanimate objects seem so…real, I just can’t do it.  The toys talk, they breathe, they get smashed by heavy objects and they don’t die.  I mean, there’s even a scene where you see the trash bag stretching as the toys try to get out.   My goodness, I can’t suffocate my stuff!  I don’t want my stuff to feel unloved.  I’m a good person.  Really, I am. 

Now that I have self-diagnosed myself with disposaphobia, I’m off to self-medicate with fudge brownies and a glass of milk. 

Is it just me, or is the personification of inanimate objects creepy?


37 thoughts on “Toy Story 3 Linked To Self-Diagnosis of Disposaphobia

  1. Cities of the Mind February 7, 2011 / 7:16 AM

    I think the creep-factor depends on two things:
    1) How extensive the attachment is.
    2) How much the object already looks like a human. The more humanlike it starts out, the more creepy. Like grown people who own dolls and have named them. Creepsauce.

    I understand that feeling. Although I overcame it in order to travel light. I still have a few things which are completely useless, yet travel with me everywhere. For example, there’s a shard of a broken bowl I keep purely to remind of the event of its breaking. Perhaps more ridiculously, I have a dinosaur-decorated box that travels wherever I move to because I’ve had it during every move I’ve ever made, since my family first moved way back when I was six. I don’t even know what I have in the box now, or what it’s transported in any detail, but I definitely have an irrational attachment to it.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 7:27 PM

      Well, I can say that I don’t have any named dolls, so that’s one thing I’ve got going for me! I’m glad I’m not the only one that gets attached to some things. After some time has passed and I can get over the guilt of abandoning stuff, I’ll be ready to get rid of more clutter 🙂

      By the way, the dinosaur box could be useful, so I wouldn’t feel bad about that at all (hey, you could even keep the shard of broken bowl in it.)

  2. Tim Weaver February 7, 2011 / 8:48 AM


    There are very few things I have any emotional attachment to, and those that I do are because they were my father’s or grandparents’ items, or because of some experience I had that those items represent (e.g. some ceramic and wooden bowl I purchased while living in Japan).

    Let me come over and dispose of this stuff for you. LOL

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 7:30 PM

      Oh no, I’m not letting anyone clear out my stuff! I’ll be able to carry on after I have some time away from Toy Story 3 🙂

  3. Tori Nelson February 7, 2011 / 8:54 AM

    Haha! Amazing what a kid’s movie can do to us! I thought the same thing, suddenly really overcome with guilt that I threw out too-small jeans and glittery tops from my single days. Great post!

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 7:37 PM

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Tori. That movie really messed with my head, but I have hopes that I will return to my regular semi-normal state.

  4. 2blu2btru February 7, 2011 / 8:58 AM

    To link this to writing, I get this way with lines in my stories. I know they don’t fit or work where they are. I know they aren’t adding anything. I know I have to get rid of them. But they’re great lines. The wording is perfect. I can’t just toss them. You don’t get good lines like this everyday! But they don’t fit with the story. But I have to keep them, somehow, some way. Then I write myself into unbelievable clutter in my effort to keep it.

    I have an attachment to inanimate objects as well. Books, paper, really useful if I could just remember what it is knick knacks. It’s hard, but we have to let go.

    P.S. I admit to a little mist when the toys held hands, and when he gave Woody away. So did Mr. Perfect 😉

    • knotrune February 7, 2011 / 12:24 PM

      I cut such offending but delicious lines out of the story where they are not working and paste them into a file of notes. You never know when you can use them. If you can find them again… but at least they are not deleted!

      • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 8:06 PM

        It’s funny you mention this, because I’ve done this too. My only concern is that I’ll never find those gems when I need them 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 7:42 PM

      Thank you for telling me you got misty at the same parts that I did, 2blu2btru. It makes me feel like less of an emotional softy 😉

      I like your link to writing. My clutter of writing is the one thing that doesn’t bother me. Right now, everything is electronic or obediently staying on the designated shelf.

  5. Hilary Clark February 7, 2011 / 9:28 AM

    I got misty several times during TS3. There’s nothing wrong with that (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself). There’s also nothing wrong with the fact that I love all the TS movies and have no children of my own. Animated movies ROCK!

    I don’t have too much of a problem getting rid of stuff. My ability to let the old crap go has grown stronger with each and every move to a new city. Once you have to pack up the house or apartment a couple of times, it becomes remarkably simple to cart loads of stuff to Goodwill.

    Except for books…I can’t seem to let those go… 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 7:56 PM

      I love animated movies, too! I’d probably watch them even if I didn’t have kids. We’re looking forward to Cars 2 coming out in June 🙂 I’ll go with you about there being nothing wrong with getting teary at an animated movie – thanks, Hilary!

      I can see how moving would be great incentive to pare down the stuff. That may be part of my problem – I haven’t moved for nearly 14 years. Eeeks! I did just clear out a few of my psych books from the 1990’s. Not all of them though 🙂

  6. Aligaeta February 7, 2011 / 11:23 AM

    Like Hilary I don’t get overly attached to things, but don’t touch those books! I have found if I lend them out and don’t get them back I replace them.

    Just this morning, I wanted to reference an author, I cleared the stack on top of the crates, of course the book was in the bottom one, but I had it. As I could not remembered the title and only the last name of the author, I was unable to locate this book from 1989, on the computer, even seaching subject and authors last name, I really didn’t want to search for the hard copy.

    Some things, like potental writing resources I won’t part with.

    I am a wimp watching movies, your not alone.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 8:04 PM

      I’ve had to part with books along the way because once the bookcase is full, that’s it. I have a lot of knick-knack type stuff that I’ve been letting go of over the last few years. We are a bit over run with toys too, but there’s not too much I can do about that yet. My mom says give it a few years 🙂

      I’m glad you were able to find the book you needed (even if it was tricky to get to it). Times like that make it feel worthwhile to keep the books in storage.

      Thank you for admitting you’re in the same boat when it comes to movies. It makes me feel better, Aligaeta!

  7. knotrune February 7, 2011 / 12:26 PM

    Hmm, it seems I’m in a minority, but I totally relate to your post, and I haven’t even seen this film! I think I have always had this… thing… about stuff. Far worse if it has a face, but yes, even the old bag or defunct tech, I feel guilty about abandoning. I know I’m odd and I’m glad I’m not alone! It’s a hard thing to admit to 🙂 but yes it is one reason why I find it so hard to be tidy.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 8:14 PM

      Maybe we should start a support group, knotrune 🙂 I tend to let things build up and then when I can’t take the clutter anymore, I’m able to part with *some* things. It doesn’t help that I went through a shopping kick a few years ago (I’m glad that’s over!)

      I hope you’re able to organize. I know you had mentioned that struggle in a previous post. Just start small and it’s not as painful 🙂

      • knotrune February 9, 2011 / 4:42 PM

        I keep starting small. Then I grind to a halt. Then I buy more stuff… Like today. I bought a whole sewing machine I don’t really need! Aaargh! I think I do need a support group. Or something.

        • jannatwrites February 9, 2011 / 8:29 PM

          Hmmm….I have a sewing machine in my garage. I couldn’t figure out how to use it, so it gathers dust. (I didn’t buy it though, my mom gave it to me.) I hope you are able to overcome the obstacles and succeed with your organization!

  8. nrhatch February 7, 2011 / 1:51 PM

    Janna, I’m wondering about Puff the Magic Dragon. Do you cry when you hear:

    Dragons live forever
    But not so, little boys
    Painted wings, and giant things
    Make way for other toys
    One gray night it happened
    Jackie Paper came no more
    And Puff that mighty dragon
    He ceased his fearless roar
    His head was bent in sorrow
    Green scales fell like rain
    Puff no longer went to play
    Along the {something} Lane

    That always made me cry. Not because I felt that Puff existed, but because Jackie Paper grew up ~ as all kids do. Who they are today is NOT who they will be tomorrow.

    While most parents would NOT want to stifle the growth of their children, and cause them to stagnate at an arrested stage of development, the years fly by so fast . . . that it’s hard for us to keep up.

    So, we see a movie like TS3 and it reminds us of the passage of time, and our pending mortality, and we want to slow down change by hanging on to THINGS and STUFF that have outlived their usefulness to us.

    But we gain when we lose. Less is more. And when our lives are not so cluttered, we are able to really enjoy what we have . . . including the wee ones in our lives.


    • jannatwrites February 7, 2011 / 8:28 PM

      Well, that wasn’t very nice, Nancy. Yes, I did get a little teary 😦

      I completely agree with your statement about TS3 reminding us of the passage of time. Sometimes I do hold onto things just for that reason. This is exactly why the end of the movie got to me. Before I know it my kids will be flying the coop. Aww, there I go getting all teary-eyed again!

      You are also right about feeling better when there is less clutter. Now if I can just get the image of my stuff growing hysterical and consoling each other in the donation box…

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful insight. Always appreciated, Nancy 🙂

    • nrhatch February 8, 2011 / 9:19 AM

      I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry. 😦

      There is a real benefit in clearing out the belongings we’ve outgrown ~ to letting go of attachments. If you’re having a tough time, take a picture, then let the object go.

      But we all need to do it in our our way, and at our own speed.

      Off to read your next post. 🙂

      • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 6:29 PM

        It’s not hard to make me cry, especially when it has to do with my ‘babies’ growing up. I will be scanning in a bunch of the kids’ artwork (now that I have the scanner set up.) That will clear up some space, for sure!

  9. deehsarsiavo February 7, 2011 / 11:14 PM

    I watched Monster’s Inc the other day and there’s a part where Mike and Sully are debating what to do with the child when Sully mentions that he’s named her ‘Boo’. Mike’s words are “If you name it, you’ll start getting attached to it!” and somehow that seemed very relevant as I read this. Being a person who’s sworn never to give up his action figure collection till hell freezes over I know how you feel =D But don’t worry, fudge brownies will save us all! =D

    Brilliant read as always =)


    • Tim Weaver February 8, 2011 / 6:23 PM

      Ask a farmer if they name any of their non-pet animals.

      Now you know why.

      It’s a lot easier to turn Cow #432A into hamburger than to slaughter Maggie.

      • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 9:08 PM

        I’m too city-fied…I couldn’t eat any animal I met, regardless of whether it was named or not. I’m glad the ranchers out there can do it because I do like my steaks (wrapped in plastic wrap on styrofoam trays so I can pretend I don’t know where it came from.)

    • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 6:27 PM

      I’ve seen that movie many times, and I remember that. Good thing I don’t name my stuff, or I’d be in trouble 😉 You’r collection of action figures doesn’t seem out of line – at least it’s a category – my stuff is completely random and makes no sense. You are right, deehsarsiavo, at least the fudge brownies will help us get through! Which reminds me…I should go get one now 🙂

  10. Ollin February 8, 2011 / 2:00 PM

    I love Toy Story 3! I think it should win BEST PICTURE. LOL. At least on your blog I won’t get laughed at for saying that.

    This post was funny, oh and thanks for teaching me a new vocabulary word + phobia.

    I love learning new words!

    • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 6:32 PM

      I love animated movies. Even if I didn’t have kids, I’d be watching them (I’ll be at Cars 2 this summer.)

      I just found out about the word also, although it may have come up in one of my psych classes….I don’t remember. It’s amazing what you can find on the internet 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Ollin – I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

    • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 6:33 PM

      Thanks for the link on your post, Nancy 🙂

  11. suzicate February 8, 2011 / 6:13 PM

    My problem is that I think I might just need it some day. Really, i’ve had instances that I’ve donated something and within days have purchased a replacement. I love the idea of consolement with brownies!

    • jannatwrites February 8, 2011 / 6:38 PM

      I’m so pathetic that I put stuff in the donation boxes and half the time I fish things out to use/wear them again before they go. Our boxes build up for several months before we finally do the drop-offs.

      I know what you mean about buying replacements – I’ve done that too (and it kind of defeats the purpose).

      I’m glad you’re on board with the brownies, Suzicate. They are wonderful consolation for a wide variety of stressors/emotional issues 🙂

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