There has to be something with the Chinese and hoarding.
I've come across a few works by Chinese artists that handle the meaning of personal objects. Last year at MOMA artist Song Dong installed "Waste Not," an epic collection of his mother's things from her packed Beijing apartment. She was a hoarder, keeping odd items like empty plastic bottles, squeezed out toothpaste tubes, and old shoes, knowing that one day they would come in handy again. She was right. With his mother's help, Dong installed her belongings in a collection. For Dong and other children of hoarders, the trail of objects reads like family history.
In an interview, Dong shows off some beat up shoes he was made fun of for wearing in school. But when asked why he still has it, he states that "it's [just] not shoes, it's love". The stuff loves you back.
I bought Dong's Waste Not book when I was visiting the 798 Arts District in Beijing this year but am afraid I've lost it.