Are you a hoarder?
It’s Wednesday and today I’m talking about a dirty little secret.
Do you collect stuff? Do you have pairs of shoes stuffed in every corner of your room or wardrobes full of clothes? How about books, do you have boxes full of them? Or perhaps you like tea cups or teddy bears or stubby holders?
We have many cook books. We also have many, many pens. Don’t ask me why, but I think it’s got something to do with being a reporter. I used to always carry at least four pens in my bag, just in case I needed to interview someone. I now have a drawer full of them. That drawer is very close to the drawer full of odds and ends. You know THAT drawer everyone has. The one you don’t even know what its contents are.
When does collecting fabric or necklaces or old bits of wood and scrap metal turn from being a hobby into a problem. When do you classify yourself a hoarder?
According to the Pathways report (Petra wrote about it earlier in her cool news post), released yesterday by Catholic Community Services NSW, there are more than one million hoarders living in secret squalor. The majority of sufferers found have lived in dangerous and filthy conditions for up to nine years before seeking help. In some instances, hoarders are unable to use their bathroom, kitchen or sleep in their own beds as they have too much stuff piled up everywhere, blocking access. For many, it’s difficult to get help because their homes are deemed unsafe. Sadly, most are ashamed of their lifestyle and isolate themselves from family and friends. And surprisingly, a fifth of hoarders are aged between 30 and 49-years-old.
Do you know someone who suffers from this condition? Have you ever questioned your own accumulation of goods?
In my house, we have the opposite affliction – we cull stuff, constantly. Sometimes, I can sense my husband getting edgy and know what will follow. Garbage bags start to appear and the trailer sits in the driveway in anticipation. And then we start going through our material things getting rid of stuff we don’t use. Cupboards are cleaned, things sold, others donated, lots thrown out. The more we repriortise our possessions the less we realise we need. It feels really good.
But still we have our weaknesses. Mine is books and shoes. My husband’s is camping gear and gardening paraphanalia. We both buy too many cookbooks and house design magazines. My children have too many My Little Ponies. I can empathise with collectors and understand how that can move into hoarding. You would feel safe being surrounded by your fortress.
What do you collect? Is your weakness jewellery or craft supplies? Do you have make-up from a decade ago or a shed overflowing with tools you “might need one day”? Do you think all your stuff is necessary or would you say it’s bordering on hoarding? Share your stories and post a pic of your special collections in the comments below – I’d love to see what you like collecting!
Have a fab day,
Main photo: Pinterest