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Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Instagram Saved My Marriage

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Here’s the thing. I have hoarder tendencies. I’m not a hoarder, but I do lean towards collecting things and saving items that have sentimental value. My wife, Aimee, has the opposite problem. (And yes, I do say problem.) She is the anti-hoarder. Have you ever sent her a thank you card? Do you know how long she kept that card? She didn’t. It did not go on the mantle, it did not go in a keepsake box, it went in the trash. Immediately. Don’t take it personally — she doesn’t. (Bam!)

This personality difference has made for an interesting dynamic in our marriage. Here’s how it plays out. I love to shop at thrift stores. I buy lots of old toys and lots of shoes. I have a somewhat twisted sense of humor so I also look for things that are just plain weird. The problem is that these things that I buy occupy space — space in our home — and we don’t have an unlimited amount of space in our home. While I do “plan to sell” many of the items I buy, it can be frustrating to Aimee to have a house full of (what she sees as) useless junk. And it can be frustrating to me to seek out (what I see as) great hidden treasures of priceless value, only to feel too guilty to buy them and bring them home.

Enter the iPhone and Instagram. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better and are to a point where they can take a pretty decent picture. Then some geniuses come along and invent a photo-sharing app called Instagram. Instagram is a microblogging platform/social network that lets you take a picture, apply a cool filter, and share it with your friends. Think Twitter, but focused on photos. Basically it’s a way to show what you're up to, what you're eating, and how cute your kids are.

Digital pictures don't take up any space in our home. So now when I see something I think is cool, strange, or funny, I just snap a photo and share it on Instagram. Don't get me wrong, I still buy plenty of oddities. But now if something is just too bizarre to pass up, but a little too creepy or useless to actually buy, there is a middle way.

I love my wife dearly. She is kind, interesting, intelligent, and tons of fun. We get along wonderfully. We see eye to eye on most things. This hoarding collecting area is one of the few ongoing tensions we have in our marriage. And now it has been greatly mitigated by the invention of good camera phones and awesome (free) apps. Who’d have thought?

If you're on Instagram, check out #HeffThriftFinds to see more, or follow me @ScottHeff. If you're not on Instagram, you can see more photos here.

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