Facing my hoarding demons

Following our leisurely breakfast a weekend ago, I announced to my husband that I was going to tackle the wardrobe. The goal was simple: pack away summer clothes, bring out winter clothes and get rid of the stuff I no longer wear. A good few minutes later I emerged in the living room. My husband well knowingly that I have an issue about holding on to things, he asked me, ‘how’s it going honey, have you put much away?’ I had to laugh at myself. At that point, each item that I had intended for the binbag had somehow ended back in the wardrobe. But I think I got there in the end and I might even have some inspiration for you, just incase you are on the same boat.

Hoarder syndrome

I’ve always thought of hoarders as people with an absolute inability to let go of possessions. They accumulate to a point that there is nowhere to set foot in the house and the place resembles a burglary scene. Seeing that I have no issues whatsoever with tidiness and that the items I collect do not accumulate to an alarming rate, I consider myself as a non hoarder. But then again, why do I find it so difficult to let go of things? I hate waste, especially food wastage. I would often try to stuff down the last piece of food on my plate because I am conscious that someone in the world is starving. With clothes, I always find a reason to retain them, whether being for sentimental values or other justification – I might wear it some day! The issue extends to little things we own in the home, for example pottery. My sister once teased me because I still have plates from my University years, and just to be clear, University dates back to the 90s. Why not if they are not broken?

Light at the end of the tunnel

I made a promise to myself to stop this desolate cycle. To break the chain, I decided to stop buying. I’m guilty of buying things because they are on sale or simply by giving into temptation. Adverts are all around us from the moment we wake up till the minute we drop off. They’ve managed to find their way into every exploitable aspect of our lives.

Minimalism

I think my promise has actually been cemented by the minimalism concept. A blogger I follow mentioned a minimalist writer who really explains the ins and outs of minimalism concept. We do not need all the material things we own. I know I’ve always felt better after a good clear out. I find that I am less stressed because things are easier to locate and the fact that I have less choice also makes life so much easier. How many times have you stood in front of the wardrobe and declared I’ve nothing to wear? I did manage to put away a few bags and I intend to keep on going.

Staying organised

Keeping things in order has never been an issue for me. I come from a home where cleanliness and order was excecuted in an almost military fashion. As a child, my mother would ask you to get off the sofa where you laid comfortably watching TV, pick up the piece of dirt off the floor, then go back to your lazy business. Cleaning for just one day is simple, but sustaining the momentum is the hardest part. This is what helps for me:

→ Create space for it – Define where the items would be stored. All items need a home, if not they would probably end up nowhere to be found.

→ Compartments – I find compartments useful for storing little objects, from undergarments to accessories. Rather than creating a big pile which would eventually collapse, how about little compartments? Life is so much easier when you can allocate these little things.

→ Create a system – Whether colour code, a jeans pile, or  the work section, you get the point. I don’t know if it’s for everybody but this works for me. I know where to find my greys, blacks and whites. It saves a lot of time.

I’d better not hoard the screen for too long neither. To sum up, I’m not saying that I will rid of all my worldly possessions and go live with the Monks, simply not. However I am being more conscious about the need of accumulating material possessions. We live in a society full of temptations and always trying to keep up with the Joneses.  Does it matter if my neighbour has it and I don’t? I am actually my worst enemy but the good news is that I am in charge and I can break this cycle. How about you? Have you attempted living with less? How did you manage to let go? Check out the minimalist link for further inspiration. Wish you a joyful minimalistic life.

 

2 comments

  1. Great post, Marie! I love it!

    I love reading blog about minimalism, simplicity, frugality, etc. I confess, I used to be a hoarder because I feel everything has a sentimental value but start tackling them by knowing what are the things to keep and to get rid of is simply liberating. After my dentist appointment today, we will drop off a basket of clothes at Goodwill that we no longer use. I, too, wondered why I kept them for so long when all they did is to clutter our drawers. Let’s start this revolution to live a happy life on less!

    Cheers to you!

    Gladys

  2. Thank you Gladys. I’m proud that I started this process. I feel so much better for it. It’s been a couple of months that I haven’t bought something new. And I am still downsizing. I feel good that I am doing this for the environment and helping others too. Glad to hear about your progress. I learnt a few things from you. Thank you kindly. PS. Hope the dentist visit was not too painful.
    Marie

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