Jan 14, 2010

Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding -- For REAL

You know, I’ve talked about a lot of different things on this blog regarding compulsive hoarding disorder, and I consider myself to be on the “road to recovery” somewhat, so this blog has been a bit of a catharsis for me in a way. I was somewhat shocked at the reaction of one guy who left a comment on my article about hoarding disorder case studies…I can tell that this condition can really impact the surrounding family members. I watched the show “Hoarders: Buried Alive” on TLC, and I became almost disgusted at the whole condition, although I consider myself to be (somewhat) in that same boat. No, I’m nowhere near as bad as the people they profiled on the show, but I see similar traits, and I don’t like it a bit. In fact, I freakin’ hate it. I’m really seeing some things about myself that I had no idea were even problems or issues, but they’re definitely things that I cannot ignore. Since I started studying on the subject of hoarding disorder, and having fought many personal battles with clutter hoarding myself, I have really gained a feel for what works and what doesn’t as far as overcoming the need to acquire and keep things is concerned. All of this started really surfacing lately since I’ve been thinking about the holidays, and really playing with the idea of starting the New Year with an absolutely clean slate and fresh start. I was talking to a friend who shares similar struggles with hoarding, and he started telling me how he was doing with purging his house (and car) of a bunch of old junk that he no longer needs. We both laughed when he told me that he had power bills from 2006 and things like that—I can fully relate. But during the conversation, some interesting things really dawned on me, even as I was talking to him.

I realized that I have held on to things that are stuffed into boxes that are just sitting in my attic, taking up space. I’m talking things that I haven’t looked at since I moved into my new house (in 2007). Not only that, but these are things that I haven’t looked at since the move before that one (in 2003). I literally have things crammed in boxes that I have not physically laid eyes on in over 6 years, but yet I have held on to them, and the only time I even think about them is when I have to go up in the attic for something. Even then, I just glance at the boxes, knowing that they’re full of a bunch of junk, but yet I have derived some kind of comfort in just knowing that they’re up there. I really sat and thought about it, and the amazing thing is, not only have they taken up space in my house (and house before that), but they’ve also taken up space in my mind for the same amount of time. They are just as much a mental “clutter” to me as they are physical clutter. That freakin’ sucks. I realized that I really never will give those things the attention that they “deserve” in my mind. I will probably never go back and read those magazines I’ve held on to for 6 years. I will probably never go into those boxes full of papers that I printed off the Web (as if I can’t get those same documents from those same websites now any time I need them). I realized that I will never fix that broken camera that’s in one of those boxes (they probably don’t even make the doggone camera anymore), I’ll never find the last piece to that electric razor I’ve been keeping in another box (because, as most hoarders will say, that’s the “only thing wrong with it, so I can’t just throw it away”), and I’ll probably never really go back through those old trinkets and so forth from my childhood that have really no type of significant value other than that which I have attributed to them. These boxes are full of things that literally have no value; they’re nothing that I would want to leave to my kids as an inheritance; and I know that I’ll never get around to putting them to any kind of use. I’m barely keeping up with my two daughters (ages 3 and 18 months), much less do I have the time to go through all that crap and do anything with it.

So, I’m throwing it all out.

Yep, you heard me, I’m throwing all that crap out.

I’ll never use it. I never even look at it. Since it’s in the attic, as soon as it’s out of sight, it’s literally out of mind. I’m tired of holding on to a bunch of crap that I don’t need. I’m really tired of it. I’m encouraging any other person out there who has suffered from hoarding disorder of any kind. If you have had problems overcoming compulsive hoarding, here’s your answer, in four simple words…THROW THAT CRAP OUT. And move on with your life. You’ll find yourself liberated by it instead of feeling chained to your junk all your life.