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Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Posted by marti8a (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 1, 10 at 22:55

I'm pretty sure I have a hoarding trait, either by genetics or because I grew up with it. I hate it and I fight it constantly, but I still look around and see piles of stuff I don't want to deal with.

I've been watching The Hoarders tv show lately. It's great motivation to stop and go through those piles. But I notice on that show that they always let the people go through the bags of everything, trash included, in those two days and they never get a truly clean or decluttered house.

So I've been wondering why they don't just go in there and pack up every single thing and put in a storage unit, get the house cleaned up, and work through the emotional issues as they pack up. Then have the hoarder live in their decluttered home for a few days before tackling the storage unit, and teach them how to go through the stuff when it's in a separate location and they have become detached from it.

I keep thinking that would be so much easier for me at least.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Hoarders often don't want other people touching their things, even if it's trash and obvious garbage. They have developed a connection/dependency on material things that is not normal.

I remember my Mom saying to me when I was a younger adult daughter, "Don't you just love throwing stuff away." She was very organized and clean and I am like her wanting organization and getting a bit freaked when things get out of control.

Hoaders have the same OCD tendencies but in the opposite direction. Usually it is triggered by some sad/negative event they simply cannot get over. But, it's THEIR stuff and they often shut down if it's not on their schedule. A move to a storage unit may be traumatic.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Yes, it's not always about the individual items but the 'whole' of the protection they provide around the hoarder and if that's broken, if the control of the whole thing is taken out of the hoarder's hands (by being moved anywhere else) then they really can have a bad time, and not one that just goes away in a day or two. If you're concerned, get in touch with the local assoc. of psychologists (or ask your MD to look into it) to find someone trained to work with hoarders, then talk to them and see if you want help.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

For my parents, it was growing up during the Depression 1930's. My fsther ate only because his Father was a longshoreman and stole meat down at the docks and his
Mother had a vegetable garden. People had to be extremely frugal in those days. My parents never threw anything away. When they bought new living room furniture, instead of selling or donating or throwing out the old furniture, they kept both sets in the living room. When a tree blew down in their yard, a friend asked if he could cut the lumber up and use it for firewood. Dad said "No" so that old tree just sat and rotted.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Anything I say would be crackerjack psychology, I don't think my basic psych classes from 20+ years ago qualifies me to speak on it.

That said I enjoy watching those shows, sometimes to inspire me to tackle a project, sometimes to reassure me that my piles in the perimeter of the room really aren't so bad. I don't think I am a hoarder, as their is no emotional attachment to the piles. I do recognize that while and I do have an issue with clutter it is more a result of NOT HAVING ROUTINES in place to deal with stuff as it enters the house. I've also decided recently that perhaps I am slightly ADD and I am easily distracted when I am trying to declutter a pile - it may lead me to a different area of the home to put something away where I get distracted by another something.

I used to just laugh about my inability to stay on task but the other morning I was avoiding cleaning by reading some online articles, and realized I had at least 4 articles open, on different subjects, budgeting, health, news, something else, and hadn't finished reading any one of them. I can't even waste time productively.

And yes, I am posting now to avoid decluttering the hearth, which was my goal today.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

It is often a variation of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

My house is cluttered up. Yeah, I admit it, I have boxes of magazines and still have every book I ever purchased. I have tons of knitting supplies, plaster craft supplies, etc. Once my two SILS approached me about my clutter. They said "we think you have OCD, it's a mental illness." They didn't offer to help me sort things out, they just wanted to "diagnose" me. Well, I was a working mother, working 60 hour weeks and raising two daughters AND I had a lot of hobbies and crafts I liked to do. I just didn't like to sort and organize and clean. I spent my spare time sleeping for the next day's work. I resented their "Psychology Today" holier-than-thou attitudes.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I just posted this somewhere else, not even sure where now so sorry if it was here. Commercial on the radio listing the symptoms of ADD, and of course I had most of them, can't concentrate on an activity for very long, easily distracted, etc. but after the commercial I thought, no, it's not ADD because I used to be very organized. It's just the amount of clutter I have and the mindset that it was because my current house just doesn't have the storage my last house did. So I've started parting with it, with very little sentimental attachment, though I am keeping more than I probably should right now.

I get most inspired when I go to someone's house and it is totally decluttered. I come home and go to work. Same thing with an overly cluttered house too though. Still, I think it would be really easy to just move and take what I want in the house rather than have to take all this stuff and find a place to put it.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I stopped watching the hoarding shows because I found it depressing and "gross." Depressing because those poor people were suffering and usually rejected by their families and "gross" because I cannot imagine living like that. Some of those homes were unbelievably nauseating.

I'll never be exactly what I would like to be: everything organized and in its place to be easily found at a later time. But, I can live with some clutter w/o freaking out (like my kitchen table right now that I know will get cleaned because we are having company on Saturday). I figure that is most of the world. I wouldn't want to be either extremes.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Hoarding is security. My grandparents were hoarders. They grew up during the Great Depression and have said that they were so poor that they didn't even realize the Great Depression was happening. My grandfather was particularly bad about hoarding. Everything he did was taken to an extreme. In his case, he tried to help people through hoarding. After he retired, he opened a every day garage sale. He would buy stuff at the thrift stores and resell it to people who were too proud to go to thrift stores. He had over 100 bicycles when he died. He would buy them and fix up broken ones and sell or give them away. He had 200-300 tomato plants in his garden. He'd sell some cheap and give away extra. He had buildings full of stuff on his properties in two different states. The city made him clean up his properties a couple of times. He felt he was taking care of family by leaving 'antiques' to sell when he died. He lived like a hillbilly in a unique house he built out of stuff he cobbed together. If you didn't know better, you would have suspected he was poor. He had a small fortune in money and assets when he and my grandmother died. He lived the way he wanted, but he could have afforded a much higher standard of living.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

My husband is ADHD and a hoarder. I struggle very day because he freaks letting go of even a slip of paper. Our house is more cluttered than I'd like because I throw it away, less cluttered than he'd like.

His dad was exactly the same and he lift my MIL a MONUMENTAL mess when he died. Their house is so stuffed with junk, and she has only scratched the surface in the past 4 years. DH would do the same if I didn't just throw it away.

For DH, I think it's genetic. His dad's grandparents were hoarders, his dad was a hoarder, and he is. It seems so far our oldest son is OK - his room is stark and clean and he hates clutter. The other 2 share a room that's typical for their age, and I'm hoping they are more like the oldest when they're his age.

It's also behavorial - DH saw his grandparents and dad hoard everything while he was growing up and get away with it.

I'd prefer to live in a minimalist house - I hate clutter - but I married the wrong man for that! At least the outside of our house looks good from the street, and compared to many even the inside is fine. It's just not what I'd like it to be. I don't even like "decorator" clutter. I like clean, simple lines.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I'm linking to a thread from a month or two ago with some similar discussion and a link to a great article that explains my hoarding almost to a T.

KarinL

Here is a link that might be useful: 'nother thread, same idea


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Yes! I read that post, and it and those shows are what made me ask this question here. Paper is my nemesis. I'm sitting here right now looking at my churning pile. I occasionally go through it, but never throw anything away, because there is something that needs to be done with each piece first, and I just don't have the time at the moment I go through it.

I have set a goal of getting rid of 4 pieces out of that stack every day until it is gone. So far today, I'm still working on the first piece.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Some days, just thinking about the term "goat trails" generates a smile and keeps us sane around here. We literally let our house organization fall into ruins this summer as we moved my mother-in-law to supported living (unabashed plug: to a wonderful place called Abbeyfield House, a worldwide movement that is the best concept there is in senior living; there is probably one near you if you check) and cleaned out her apartment. Her apartment is another story, but around here, it was goat trails or no access. We're getting the upper hand again now that her needs are met.

With paper, I have lowered my expectations of myself. I used to feel I needed to have everything filed, and because I could never achieve that, I just dejectedly watched it all pile up. But I've realized that the key purpose of filing is not so much to make retrieval easy, but to make the filing easy. And so I now have "general" files for a lot of things.

For example, paid bills... I used to have a file for each utility, credit card, etc. Well actually, I still do. But what I also have is a drawer where I just stuff each bill as I pay it. If I need one, I haul out the pile and flip through it; it comes up fast enough. And once a year or so, I'll take the contents of my drawer downstairs to the filing cabinet and neatly put all the telus bills in the telus folder, etc. Of course, one could ask, why not just throw them away at that point, and at some point I obviously should.

KarinL


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Marti - What sort of things have to be done?

Maybe you should go through the stack real fast and see what is too old that it's expired so you can throw it away to shorten the stack.

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Set a goal that the stack will get no bigger: when you get paperwork, do not put it down until it is dealt with ... bill paid, then filed, letter opened and answered, junk mail discarded, etc.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I was watching Hoarders on hulu last night and saw one where the guy couldn't part with bottle caps because they have the numbers on them to get free music, and I totally understood where he was coming from.

In my stack of papers, I have a lot of magazine articles, and I did finally pull them out yesterday and put them in their own stack. I was going to look up the websites, or scan them into my computer, or mail them to the kids, I really don't even know why I kept some of them.

Then there are forms for backyard habitat. I've always wanted to do it, printed the forms, but I haven't had time to go make a drawing of my yard, or take pictures, or list all the names of plants, so there it sits.

Worst, are the receipts from doctor's offices I was keeping to match up to EOB's from insurance so I know what is what when the bill comes. Shoot, the bills may be in the stack too.

Lots & lots of receipts I need to sort through. I keep all receipts for taxes. I need to pull out the master card receipts and the business receipts and put the ordinary cash ones in an envelope. Except I can't find the envelope with the rest of the receipts!

Genealogy papers. Some are correspondence where I need to find something that someone asked for, some I need to just put in a file, and some needs to have the information verified. So it sits there.

Other things are from organizations like AARP that I think I may want to join, but haven't.

Lists of stuff I need to do from a year ago. lol

Christmas cards from 2 or 3 years ago I was keeping for ??? making into something? I don't even remember now. I threw those out this morning.

Pages of notes I took at church and want to transfer into a study guide.

A couple of catalogs for possible Christmas presents. Need to scan those and email them to the kids.

That kind of stuff, and much more.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

This may not be her original idea but My sister once looked at a huge stack of mail on her husband's desk and said: "Those are not papers -- that's a stack of delayed decisions."
For some reason, this gets me going with my own stacks of papers. When going through the stack I force myself to make some real decision about each piece of paper.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

LOL! That's exactly what it is!

I've also been moving a set of bookshelves today and am giving myself permission to get rid of the stuff in it. Some of it is dh's, but I know he doesn't want it either.

If you watch Antiques Road Show, there are people who have valuable items left to them by their ancestors. We have broken pocket watches and cracked mixing bowls that we never asked for, but our parents handed it down to us. Thanks parents. I just don't know what to do with it. It is worth too much to donate to the thrift store and I don't want to mess with Craig's list or ebay. (This goes along with the other thread on "how to deal with things that have "value". I think I'm going to contact the local museum and see if they want any of the unbroken trinkets.

My mother is a collector and I think she wants me to be a collector too. I have learned not to ever say I like something or I want something, or I will get one or two for the next five years (because she stocked up after hearing me). That's how I came to have a rolling pin collection, a bowl collection, and my kids have limited edition bear collections. Now I just admire dead presidents. *grin*


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I find with paper I need to deal with it right then or else the piles start and it is easy to get overwhelmed with it. When I get the mail that day I will take care of it all. If it is a bill I will go online to pay it. If I don't have money for it I will put the date for when I do. I then have one file for all bills that are paid. It goes in there. Things that I need to file get filed right away because it is easier to file one or two things then wait for months and I think I don't have time to do it and it keeps growing.

Things that I need to take some kind of action I will also do that night and put it in a pending file (only one) until it is resolved then I file right away.

Most of the things that I had filed I now have on jump drives so it helps with paper.

Most days I do have to force myself to do it that day but it does make my life easier and I don't cringe if someone comes over unexpectedly because my kitchen island is clear instead of papers that I didn't know what to do with.

It is true that it is delayed decisions.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Hi marti :), about 3 years ago I reached a crisis point with my hoarding. I just couldnt throw stuff away. Ok to give you an example, I had cupboards full of empty glass jars because they "might be useful one day", I also saved other assorted useless items. you could not open a cupboard or drawer in my house without it getting jammed from all the crap in there, and I had boxes of stuff that wouldnt fit in the cupboards piling up in every room. I hated it but i couldnt get rid of it, or deal with it. DH would try to toss things out, and I would freak out and start pulling junk back out of the bin and taking it back into the house.

I wasnt as chronic as the people you see on hoarders but that's where I was heading, and I know for me the psychology was complicated. It's not something you can just fix in a day or two, I still struggle with it after all this time, but it's easier now to deal with but still challenging.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is take it at your own pace even one item at a time if you have to. The more practice you get, the more you challenge the thoughts the better you become at overcoming them and getting rid of stuff and over time you build up your confidence and resolve to do it more and more. For someone who has a hoarding problem self talk is really important. Your mind will tell you you have to keep stuff for a variety of reasons and so you have to talk yourself into getting rid of it by countering them with other reasons to let them go. It's like debating with yourself and it can be really frustrating and you think to yourself why is this so hard to just let it go but that's the illness and it can really control you.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Yep, I've got those bottles too, but just the wide mouth ones. I started saving jars when I quit using plastic. I know I really only need 3 or 4, but which 3 or 4? lol


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

"I know I really only need 3 or 4, but which 3 or 4? lol"

lol. You just have to make a decision. start by getting rid of the ones that aren't as good. If you know you only need 3 or 4 then that's all you should be keeping, the rest is just clutter. I couldn't even tell you how many jars I had saved and I only needed 2 or 3 on hand. That's how many I keep now because I had to realise I just can't keep cupboards full of jars when I need that space for other things and when you start getting storage space back you start to see what's more important.

storage space vs jars you'll never need, storage space is much more useful :)


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RE: sorting papers

oh I thought I'd also say that I've been going through lots of papers lately and sorting. It can take hours though so I've tackled it in in 1 or 2 hour stints and then stop. Lots of it went through the shredder and then gets put in the compost or garden. I do really think a filing cabinet helps if you have to keep tax stuff, plus household receipts etc.

I've painstakingly gone through tax receipts for anything older than 7 years and that stuff is gone. Then I've boxed up the rest in boxes by year and marked each box with the year it contains so when then box is 7 years out of date I don't have to sort it, it can all just be shredded.

Household receipts I check to see if we still have it. For example if we don't have that tv or car anymore, I dont need the receipts for them or repairs etc, so I just use cut off points like dates, or whether we still have the such and such. I also never re-sort, once the decision is made, that's it, no going back over it to *double check* lol

I've worked my way through mountains of papers but like I said I just do it in stints and when I've had enough I stop and come back to it another time. I think papers are the hardest because they take so much time to go through and it's just so easy to keep putting it off


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

The article KarinL linked makes so much sense.

I have a friend who sees value in objects discarded by others and she owned two homes so she had a lot of room to fill them with things she found on the curb. She fully intended to repair broken furniture, re-upholster dingy chairs, reweave a sagging cane chair seat, replace the non-working lights of a yard ornament Christmas sleigh and fill it with oversized gifts..... Of course, she didn't get to all these projects and the next thing you know, her homes are filled with broken, shabby, unusable furniture.

She recently sold one of her houses and with the help of friends, filled a dumpster with much of her "collection" including a rocking chair with no seat she had moved from place to place for 30 years. She had envisioned possibility for so many of the found items, yet when faced with the expense and storage limitations of moving them, had to come to terms with the practical fact that she didn't have the time, inclination or budget to re-hab much of that old stuff.

My liberating moment came when I had my first apartment. My father was a product of the Depression and couldn't throw anything away. He saved milk cartons, the styrofoam trays for meat packages from the supermarket, tuna fish cans, the wooden dowels from tattered window shades, and of course, glass jars. When I had my first household, I carefully washed every empty pickle and mayonnaise jar and stored them under my sink, just like my dad. Then one day, I realized I had nearly 40 jars and was out of room. "How many do I really need?" I asked myself. Such an epiphany! When I measured actual realistic need vs. possible future need, the answer was clear and I tossed all but about 5 jars.

I still ask myself that question in my de-cluttering efforts. We recently cleaned out a barn where my father had plenty of room to store objects of possible use. Good tires for cars we no longer owned, picket fencing we couldn't put up anywhere, practically new gutters we couldn't use, and so forth. If we have no real use for these things, why are we storing them? Outski.

LOVE the description of the piles of papers being delayed decisions. I stay organized with my mail and filing, but my husband gets overwhelmed. He has his "piles" on several table surfaces. I have provided baskets to put them in and at least they look tidy until he takes some time to sort through them.

Now if I could convince him to get rid of the boxes of National Geographics he has stored in the attic and will never read again. : )


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Hi, as far as "important" papers go, what about scanning the actually-important (most recent by .. 6 mos at most) ones into your computer and knowing you're up-to-date for practical reasons, then tell yourself that the older ones - the older the more so - can go out? Because if they mattered so much, you would have in fact done something with them by now? Or is that too logical :-)?


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Marti - It sounds like you need a file cabinet with folders for the things you are regularly saving, like tax receipts and bills and family history.

My house-mate opens mail with a shredder/waste-basket on one side, the open file drawer on the other, and the computer open to the bill-paying function on the bank's website. Open mail, trash the envelope and the junk mail, pay the bill, file the bill ... and he's DONE. It took a while to get the habit, but the stack of loose paper is gone now.

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I really don't even know why I kept some of them.If it no longer has meaning for you, throw it out.

Worst, are the receipts from doctor's offices I was keeping to match up to EOB's from insurance so I know what is what when the bill comes. Shoot, the bills may be in the stack too. Get a BIG folder, label it "medical" and do a mini-sort to corral all the medical stuff as you find it.

Lots & lots of receipts I need to sort through. I keep all receipts for taxes. I need to pull out the master card receipts and the business receipts and put the ordinary cash ones in an envelope. Except I can't find the envelope with the rest of the receipts! Get another BIG folder, label it "TAXES" and do a mini-sort to corral all the receipts as you find them. When the envelope with the receipts shows up, stick it in the big folder too.

Genealogy papers. Some are correspondence where I need to find something that someone asked for, some I need to just put in a file, and some needs to have the information verified. So it sits there. Get yet another BIG folder, label it "GENEALOGY" and do a mini-sort to corral all that stuff as you find it.
Then there are forms for backyard habitat. Other things are from organizations like AARP that I think I may want to join, but haven't. Trash it ... they will always be available later, on their web site.
Lists of stuff I need to do from a year ago. lol Check lists for things that are still relevant, copy to a master to-do and trash the remaining ones.

Christmas cards from 2 or 3 years ago I was keeping for ??? making into something? I don't even remember now. I threw those out this morning. HOORAY!!!!

Pages of notes I took at church and want to transfer into a study guide. Stick them into a 3-ring notebook for now,

A couple of catalogs for possible Christmas presents. Need to scan those and email them to the kids. Send them the bookmarks to the products on the appropriate website ... discard the catalogs.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Still working on paperwork, making headway. Then, mil was talking about hummingbirds and how she's never seen one. So I scrounged up a 1 liter soda bottle and made one. At one time I remembered keeping a metal ring that I thought would go around the top and work as a hanger. I kept it from the '70s when I was going macrame! I was really glad I kept that ring or I would have had to make a trip to the hardware store.

That's what makes it so hard to toss stuff for me.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

marti, I do the same thing. In the end I have to ask myself, is it really worth holding on to something for 40 years when you can just run to the hardware store and get another one?

I just went through some boxes that have been sitting in my garage for two years (since we moved into this house). They came from the attic of my previous house, basement of the condo before that, storage unit of the apartment before that, and my parents' house before THAT. I moved out of their house in 1985, so those boxes had been following me around for 25 years!! Do I really need my High School Class Mug from 1981? Books I read for high school lit classes? How about wedding presents (from '89) stored at my in-laws house until they moved out 5 years ago? At some point I had to say, if this was SO VALUABLE to me I would have missed it, looked for it, displayed it. It's all being junked or donated, let it clutter up someone else's garage, attic, or basement!


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

ROFLOL on the high school mugs!

Just the other day I dragged these out and dh & I discussed what to do with them. They are Wilton but with the high school name on them, they are of no value to most people. Dh wanted to give them to his brother for Christmas, but we don't exchange with them. So we're just going to take them to the thrift store with everything else.

Photobucket


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Oh yeah, and the mugs

Given to us by my mom a few years ago. Why???? I have no idea. Not like we ever wanted them.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Read Stuff by Randy Frost. I just finished it, and while I'm not a hoarder, I understand a little more about the impulse.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stuff review in NYT


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

I love the show "Hoarders"


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Interesting article, ideefixe. Thanks for posting it.

This was especially interesting:

Forced clean-outs don’t work; hoarders restock houses quickly, and the sudden loss of objects causes rage and anxiety. (Nantucket, we learn, stopped town-­ordered cleanups when three hoarders died shortly after the interventions.)


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Hey! I'd just read Stuff by Randy Frost, too! I just had to, after hearing him talk about it on Public Radio.

Fascinating...

Reading this book makes you realize how a problem can start small and literally grow over the years...


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

The people on "Hoarders" and "Clean House" etc. seem to have mental issues. Some are deeply depressed, living in fractured families due to death or divorce. I prefer to call myself a "clutterer" not a "hoarder". I have a messy house, piles in nearly every room. In my bedroom there are three piles-one of mail, one of clothing (clean and dirty mixed) and a pile of books. I consider myself otherwise "normal." I have friends, interests, and hobbies and I funtion with the outside world. I don't have any fantasy of selling stuff on Ebay. I just am lazy and too busy with other interests to bother getting rid of the piles. Yes, when I have company over I shut the bedroom door and clean the rest of the house-take out all trash, super clean the kitchen and bath and entry way, and move any visible clutter to closets or my bedroom. My SILs have seen my bedroom at its' worst and suggested "maybe you need counselling." Well, I'm not stressed out at my mess, the rest of my life is busy, and I resent their attitudes.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Regarding federal tax returns, it really doesn't matter if you destroy all but the last three years. If the IRS hasn't audited you or "caught" you yet, assume they never will. (I have career experience as a fereral employee working closely with the IRS).


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

We actually had a local woman featured this week on the show "The Hoarders." I recognize the neighborhood in Michigan and know exactly where she lives. It was a sad situation especially regarding her children. She had a lot of anger towards things done to her by a step-parent and lost her mother very young.

I think tendencies are triggered by traumatic events that some people cannot get beyond. My mother was manic-depressive and fortuntely, my brother and I are not, but I do see a little OCD in my personality. In the episode, you could see her son visible devastated that he was starting to develop these same tendencies and did not want that for himself. It was pretty heart-wrenching and I give that family credit for airing their dirty laundry in public so they could get help. I could actually run into her in a store...


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

Great thread! I am not a hoarder, but I do have quite a bit of clutter. Also, clothes I will fit into "some day"....things like that.

I think my 12 year old son could become a hoarder. He collects all kinds of little bits of junk on his walk home from school etc and never wants to part with it.

I was helping him straighten up his room recently and he didn't want all his clothes put away in his dresser. He said he likes things around because it makes him feel "cozy".

I thought that was interesting and wanted to share....


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

That would concern me if he really "needs" those things around. My sons were messy but it was laziness and lack of prioritizing anything above using the computer or sleeping. I would have a talk with him about why he really doesn't want his clothes put away or it is just typical boy messiness.

My oldest son was messy and now as a married adult, he's not any better. My house was never perfect but it was always clean and picked up. I wish he had taken those traits with him but he married a girl worse than him so they both are living in a brand new gorgeous home like messy like piggies.

You don't want that for your kids...trust me.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

"Regarding federal tax returns, it really doesn't matter if you destroy all but the last three years. If the IRS hasn't audited you or "caught" you yet, assume they never will. (I have career experience as a fereral employee working closely with the IRS)."

Not true.

DH and I were just audited, and we had to come up with detailed paperwork (receipts, front and back copies of checks, etc) for 2005.
I was told they can go back seven years.... further if they suspect fraud.


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

But isn't hoarding "stuff" different from some of the homes on the TV show(s) that are just GROSSLY filthy with trash, animal feces, and rotten food? I am so glad I'm a mimimalist....


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RE: Does anyone understand the psychology of hoarding?

My mother is a hoarder. She's not a nauseating hoarder; but she hoards useless stuff she'll never ever use. She just piles it all up in her two bedrooms and bathrooms. And she has a fit if anyone touches any of it. She was always a hoarder and I was always too embarrassed to invite friends over.

Now, as a result of growing up in this environment, I was very neat and organized when I moved out. Everything had to be in its place. Even when my son got old enough to toddle around, I managed to keep the house clean. The rules were, his toys belonged in his room, not scattered throughout the house, and he put his toys back in the toybox when he was done with them.

A few years ago, I got very sick and lost all energy. Shopping made me feel better so I often shopped and dragged things home. But after a couple of years, I realized suddenly that I had completely cluttered up my home. You'd never guess I was always a neat freak. Once I regained my health, however, I began decluttering. The hoard absolutely drove me nuts.

One of the things that works well for me is that I've designated the guest bedroom as the "transitional center". I regularly go thru my house and pull out anything I feel comfortable with letting go. And I move it to the guest room. If I'm afraid I can't let it go, I just leave it in the guest room for a while. If I'm ready to let it go, I list it on Craigslist or Freecycle to get it out of the house. Eventually, I'll reassess what is difficult to let go, and most often, after a month of it "vacationing" in the guest room, I'm ready to move it out.

I love watching Hoarders because it reinforces my desire to minimalize and never get in the position that those people get into. I've found that it's a good incentive to continually go thru my stuff and declutter so things don't pile up like they do at Mom's. The more I get rid of, the more eager I am to get rid of more. The more free space I uncover, the more I want to uncover. My goal is to get back to a minimalistic lifestyle where everything is neat and clean. And I'm learning that things I thought I couldn't live without actually make me happier when they're at someone else's house.


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