Hoarder – Know thyself!
Some people tend to collect all sorts of things books, clothes, shoes,
papers, containers of all sorts and what not. Fortunately Indians do
not collect and keep pets and animals as westerners do. They neither
use them nor dispose off regularly. Such collected mass of useless
materials clutter, occupy space and create many problems. You can not
find anything you want. Unsightly appearance puts you off from doing
anything. The clutter seems so huge that you are afraid: Where do I
begin? You are ashamed of inviting friends to your house and always
prefer to see them elsewhere. Re-arranging useful things and throwing
away what you don't need is always accompanied by a lot of anxiety and
trauma. It becomes an emotional issue making you not to accept
criticism. You do not want to accept or invite help from anybody. If
you are a Senior citizen you tend to develop a sense of belonging to a
lot of useless clutter and can not let things go. You suffer longer
than others because of your age and let me add: some senselessness!
Clutter or hoarding?
Clutter is just accumulation of things in haphazard manner. This could
be a result of lack of space, lack of time, sheer laziness,
procrastination etc. It could also result from physical inability to
attend to a tough physical job – say you are suffering from Arthritis
or joint pains. Given the proper push you would pick up courage to do
some spring cleaning and get rid of clutter. But hoarding is a
compulsive obsession to collect and keep things of all sorts. There is
always some trauma and mental attachment that prevents one from
Here are some tips:
1. If you would like to get rid of the menacing hoarding habit, there
is nothing to panic. Just realize there are plenty of people like you.
In fact there are many online support groups exclusively dealing with
Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding – the largest and oldest being:
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/H-C/, managed by Paula Host.
2. You can seek the help and advice of a close friend in whom you can
confide. You can take help in hiring persons who do the dirty job of
cleaning up all the accumulated mess of piles of unwanted materials.
3. If you can organize to donate your belongings to needy persons or
organizations then you will get a sense of satisfaction of being
useful. After all your collection did not just go waste!
Difficult but can be done:
While attempting to de-clutter your rooms or shelf space one of the
most crucial and painful steps is about deciding what to keep and what
to throw. The argument that you may need it once you throw away
something or for that matter you may not be able to buy it once you
toss out useless things does not hold water. After all for years you
have had a thing without ever using it; when you really need something
you won't be able to retrieve it because of highly disorganized
clutter. Either way the best logical option is the weed out unwanted
cluttering stuff. Therefore take courage to mercilessly throw away
anything that you have not used since acquiring it or anything that
you may get substitutes if need be. Only important legal documents,
property related papers, tax papers need to be kept.
Books, support groups etc:
If you are a person who will be moved by reading authoritative books
then start with: "Buried in treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring,
Saving and Hoarding" by Tolin, Frost & Stektee (OUP). Or share your
concerns in online forums that offer support as already hinted. Once
you have cleared all the clutter you can be of great service to those
around you. And the bottom line is, as Charisse Ward says: "If you do
not use it or need it, it is clutter, and it needs to go".