Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sorting, collecting and hoarding

During a family gathering over the holidays, some of us were discussing the problems of living with someone who hoards and how it hampers our efforts to simplify our lives and physical space. When it comes down to fire hazards due to piles of magazines and newspapers in your basement, that's when you really have to speak up. It can become physically and emotionally draining to live in a cramped, cluttered home - especially when your requests are discarded as nagging and selfish. How ironic! So glad I'm not living THAT nightmare anymore.

Sure, we each may have tendencies to "collect" things like books, photographs, figurines, etc. It helps to define a bit more about us. I like to discover what family members or friends "collect" as it reveals a little more about character and interests. When it extends to too many categories and clutter, that's when a person would want to step back and take a fresh look. You can even hire people to do this for you!

I know that during my purging project, I will have to be selective with the "things" I have collected and prioritize which ones to keep or give away. My books will have to be exempt from this project. It's just a matter of getting more shelf space and reorganizing by subject - again. Hello, IKEA.

On a humorous note, one family member at the gathering quipped that the acronym for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: should really be "CDO", organized alphabetically.

Definition: "Obsessive-compulsive disorder: A psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, such as cleaning, checking, counting, or hoarding. "

Links about Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD):


  1. Thank you for calling attention to this serious problem that can become a progressive, life-threatening issue. Clearly it is difficult for anyone who does not suffer from a cluttering problem to understand what it is like to be paralyzed emotionally and unable to let go of things that appear to be trash to others. Thank god there is a 12 step group for those so desperate that they recognize they cannot fix this alone and are willing to reach out for help through fellowship, action and learning tools to let go of things one day at a time. I am grateful for Clutterers Anonymous

  2. My first commenter!

    Thank you for posting the information about Clutterers Anonymous. I hope that others will find it useful although I am hesitant with the "God" reference. I find that when people put trust in a higher power or expect something other than oneself to remove shortcomings or defects, we are passing off responsibility for our lives and actions.