Can you believe it’s New Year’s Resolutions time again? Didn’t it seem like we were just making them last month? I actually had success with some of my resolutions from last year, so I’m really excited to tackle the ones I’ve made this year.
While I’m not a hoarder, I am pretty bad about holding on to things too long. I’m one of those who often tends to attach emotion and sentimentality to objects, so parting with them can be tough. HOWEVER, I have fallen head over heels in love with the way openness looks AND feels. I recently cleaned off a set of shelves in my home office and get a natural high each time I walk by it now.
It looks better. It feels better.
My own difficulties with “letting things go” causes me to greatly sympathize with hoarders. If we’re being honest, hoarders are nothing more than “me” on steroids…… “me” out of control. If I were to allow it, I could become one of their team members. I not only sympathize, but I can see how easily it would be for something like that to get out of hand.
One day, you might be “collecting” old books, and a week later you’re surrounded by dusty old books you haven’t touched in years. Sure, it takes more than a week – but you get the point. Unpleasantness seldom stomps through the front door of our lives, it sneaks in like a stealthy ninja and catches us by surprise. Suddenly we find ourselves looking around and thinking, “Where did all of this stuff come from?!”
Many people are unkindly judgmental of hoarders. They ask, “Why don’t they just freaking throw things away!!??” Come on, let’s be reasonable – if it were that easy, don’t you think they would have by now?!
I’m not psychologist – heck, the closest I ever came to psychology were classes I took in High School and College. However, common sense, reading, and knowing/loving a hoarder firsthand has taught me that the hoarding serves to fill a void.
Every single time.
Sometimes the individual has experienced a great deal of loss in their life and accumulating things serves to surround them with things “no one can take away.” Other times the individual (through relationship problems, financial distress, or health issues) has known an uncommon amount of stress in their life and, unknowingly, simply wants to be able to control something…. or rather, some things.
Sadly, the situation escalates to the point that the individual is overwhelmed and choked by their “collection.” To compound the matter, they often catch a great deal of flack from family and friends. I’ve even heard of family members who refuse to visit their “loved one” until they clean up their home.
I’m sorry if this sounds cruel, but that’s about as selfish a reaction as I’ve ever heard of. We should love one another through problems, not hate one another through problems!
If you are a hoarder or feel for certain that you are “on your way,” I hope you will make this the year you break free from these chains. They’re holding you back, holding you down, and holding you at arm’s length from the life you deserve.
What You Gain from Letting Hoarding Go
- You will feel 110% better. When you walk through your house and things look “pretty,” your mood will soar.
- You’ll be healthier! Hoarding is as bad for your physical health as it is your emotional and mental health. Excess “things” collect excess dust, which is obviously the worst possible thing for your respiratory system. You’ll find yourself breathing easier and will have to stop and remind yourself exactly why this is.
- Too many things lying around can also pose a safety problem. Not only are they easy to trip over, excess knick-knacks can post issues for pets and small children.
- You’ll spend less time searching for things.
- When you defeat this very REAL problem, you’ll gain so much strength you’ll want to tackle another problem, even if you have to borrow someone else’s! Whenever we switch positions from being overcome to being the overcomer, we gain a heckuva lot of strength. And that is an especially beautiful thing.
- Even if your family still comes around and hasn’t essentially written you off (because they’re cool like that), they will enjoy their visits a great deal more and may even come around more often if you de-clutter and create a cleaner, more open environment. Whether you totally realize it or not, excess clutter is stifling and uncomfortable to be among. This may not make sense to you, but it’s simply the truth… whether you really want it to be or not.
Please allow this to be the year you break out from under this weight. When we feel overwhelmed the absolute hardest step to take is the first one. It feels like a HUGE step uphill in 10 feet of snow! But the good news is that each step thereafter is easier. Before you know it, it doesn’t even feel like you’re going uphill anymore and as for the snow… what snow? Momentum plows right through it.
While you could use the motivation of surprising your loved ones before their next visit to inspire you and get the ball rolling, you have to remember that you’re doing this for you as much as you are for them.
Why? Because you deserve better than what you’re settling for, that’s why!
If it sounds like I’m begging you, know this…. I am. As I said above, I knew and greatly loved a hoarder and, sadly, she never took the first step. Truth be told, she was a hoarder before there was even a word for it. Back in the day, they were simply called “pack rats,” weren’t they?! No matter what name it goes by, it remains a less than best way to live.
Below is an infographic from Simply Self Storage showing what cities hoard the most. Seems to be a real issue in Florida for some reason! Maybe they’re outdoors so often, the indoors is left to its own devices. I’ve lived in Florida before and know darn well how hard it can be to stay indoors.
Self storage units are actually a pretty ingenious solution for things you want to keep but don’t want to keep right under your nose. They keep your possessions safe, preserved, and, usually, within minutes of your home.
While it’s always best to part with what you can, there are somethings that simply can’t be parted with. That doesn’t mean they have to take up valuable closet or shelf space, though!
For more information, see What Cities Hoard the Most on Simply Self Storage’s blog.