Hoarders are NOT greedy people

In this confession I will be explaining the misconception that hoarders are greedy people.  When you see the mass collection of possessions in our home, I can understand why people would assume that.  But it is not greed that triggers that.  I believe greed is someone who needs to attain money, power,  material possessions and will hurt other people in trying to obtains those things.  They can either cheat, hurt or sabotage other people to reach whatever they are after.  Everyone in their way are dispensable.

Hoarding however is triggered by anxiety or depression.  In my case it is anxiety.  The mass collection of possessions was accumulated over years and even decades.  I feel the need to save everything.  So when new things came into my home,  old ones were not going out.  Getting rid of certain things triggers my anxiety into panic attack mode and that’s why I will hold onto it.  Below is the video where I explain a little more in depth:

 

When a Hoarder TRIES the KonMari Method

I decided to get on the bandwagon and try the KonMari Method to clean out my hoard.  I watched enough Tidying Up episodes in Netflix to get the gist of it.  First I have to pull every single item of clothing I own and put it in one spot.  Little did I realize, I have 8 bins worth of clothing plus a closet and drawers that I can FIND.  As I piled my mountain of clothes onto the couch and floor,  I quickly regretted my decision.  This triggered my anxiety to a five alarm panic attack status.  I want to cry, I want to hide, I’m overwhelmed…what do I do with all of this??!! I started picking up each article of clothing asking, does it start joy?  Well you know it does, I’m a hoarder!  I have attached a memory, a story, a purpose to these clothes! This make me happy and I feel safe surrounded by my fortress of crap!  That’s why I still hold onto it all!  The decision making process was torturous as I felt I HAD to get rid of some of my clothes.  I captured the event in this Part 1 video:

How does my Husband feel about my Hoarding?

This is question I get asked a lot:  “How does your Husband feel about your hoarding?” My husband is patient, laid back and supportive in what I do.  Except my hoarding, he hates my hoarding.  He gets very frustrated with it and told me the top four things that frustrate him.  First, he has a difficult time finding things because nothing is organized.  Sometimes he has to purchase something we already have because it will take him “months” to find it again.  And wasting money is not one of his favorite things.  Secondly, he gets very upset tripping over piles of crap.  That one REALLY frustrates him.  Thirdly, he just gets tired at looking at all piles of clutter.  Then he gets upset that it doesn’t bother me! (Until recently when I started this journey) Lastly, he wishes he can help me clean my piles but he cannot.  He can’t because it will always create a fight between us.  I always get overwhelmed and anxious and he just wants to keep cleaning.  So he gave up on helping me clean so I would not get upset from my OCD hoarding panic attacks.   Attached below is my vlog where I give more details about our relationship and the strain it has on our marriage:

A Very Hoarder Christmas…how I have 20+ bins of Christmas Decorations.

This weekend was super busy between hosting Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping and decorating our house…I’m surprised I’m still functioning.  But after going downstairs in the basement, I realized what was waiting for me: bins upon bins of Christmas decorations that I need to haul out.  Ugh…I’m too tired, why do I have so much?  Now don’t get me wrong,  I LOVE Christmas and my house looks pretty all decorated but it’s so much work! My intention is to downsize some of my Christmas decorations but I am very emotionally attached to them.  Those decorations tell a story of my Christmas during that year.  This will be very hard for me to let go but I will take baby steps!  I have to because I don’t want to look through 20+ bins every year!

Cleaning Out the Hoarded Toy Room before Christmas Part 4

Cleaning out this hoarded toy room is going to be a 10 part series!  If you read yesterday’s blog post, you’ll quickly understand why this room is so hoarded!  Since Santa brings 25 presents per child and the rest of the family follows suit in giving an additional 10 gifts per child,  the value of toys make sense now.  This year we are scaling back on gifts. If I want this toy room to finally be functioning,  I cannot have another 50+ toys cluttering it back up.  Plus, I now realize how wasteful this is.  My kids don’t even play with all the toys.  It could be from a combination of they can’t get in the room and there is just too much it’s overwhelming.  I think all of the hours everyone had to work to afford those presents to just sit in a room, waiting for me to sell them at 80% off or donate to someone else.  This is a new Christmas!  A Christmas of enjoying experiences instead of buying more stuff.  Below is a video of the progress we are making in the toy room!

 

Black Friday and How Santa brings 25 Presents each child.

It’s time for a confession:  Santa brings the 25 presents each child for Christmas.  Now before anyone screams out profanities, let me explain.  As a child growing up in the 80’s,  Santa brought me a minimum of 25 presents.  It was like waking up to the Toys R Us Super Toy Run!  I ran downstairs to see a plethora of gifts, candy and toys!  Ohhh…it was glorious!  I played with those toys until they broke.  Jem & the Holograms, Barbie, She-ra and My Little Pony all hung out at Paradise Estates & Crystal Castle under the tree.  I grew up thinking that was normal.  So as I got married and had children, naturally Santa brings them 25 presents each too.  And they have the same reaction I did…it’s like Toys R Us threw up all over the Christmas tree.  It wasn’t until my brother-in-law pointed out that this was an insane amount of presents to give.  He grew up with 5-10 presents under the tree with one of them being big.  My husband experienced the same.  He just let me do my thing because it had made me so happy.  After talking to different people, I found out how excessive I was in my gift giving.  This is so shocking to me.  With Black Friday only 3 days away…I have decided to scale back this year.  I will have to tell my boys that Santa will not being bringing as many presents as he did before.  Big kids get bigger stuff like PS4 and iPads so it will be more around 10 gifts this year.  I need to teach my children that this over consumption for Christmas is not okay.

Cleaning out the Hoarded Toy Room part 3

I just put a dent into this room where you can start to walk into the room.  My youngest son was able to go into the room and play with some of the toys!  Those toys have not been touched in years!  That keeps me inspired to keep cleaning even though this will be a 10 part series!  The goal is by Christmas this will be a completely cleaned out room!

 

Number 1 Rule to Stop my Hoarding and Clutter in my house.

In my journey of healing myself from my hoarding habits,  I’ve found a few things that worked and a few things that have not worked.  So far, one simple rule I made has been the most successful.  That is why I named it my Number 1 rule to stop my hoarding and clutter in my house.  It’s simply:  “I need more things going out than coming in.”  That’s it, very easy!  It’s basic math really and holds a lot of truth.  These past years in my house, I had way more stuff coming in and hardly anything going out.  It’s time to reverse that equation.   And to do that, I must restrict my shopping.  All the impulse buying, yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, the Sharing Table and freebies had to stop.  That’s what I have been doing and it’s working!  I have three completely cleaned rooms now.  Currently I’m working on my fourth room.  If you’re a hoarder and you want to give this a try…I would start with something as simple as ten things going out versus one thing coming in.  Don’t pick things that are very sentimental to you, I don’t care if it’s 10 pieces of paper.  As long as you grow the habit of getting rid of things in your house,  more things are still going out than coming in.  Even if all you can handle is five things going out versus one thing coming in.  Baby steps still move you forward and even if you are walking slowly, at least you are not walking backwards.

The Sharing Table Clothing Swap: a Great way to Recycle, Reuse and Save

We recently just had our Fall/Winter Sharing Table at our mom’s group.  It’s a wonderful way to declutter and get new items you may need!  Each mom brings in outgrown clothes or items from their children (or themselves)  They put the items in the designated area so it’s organized.  At the end of the meeting, we get to “shop” for new clothes.  All leftover clothes go to charity.  Ironically,  I run the Sharing Table and keep it very organized! So I do have the capability of organizing my home!  But it teaches me a great lesson when it comes to hoarding:  it’s better to give than hoard.  Sounds cliché but the joy of giving replaces the anxiety of letting go.

Please don’t throw away the Hoarder’s stuff behind their back. It will backfire.

In this confessional,  I am going to explain why it’s not a good idea to throw away a box of junk behind the hoarder’s back.  It will backfire on you if you think you are helping them.  It feels the same as a person sneaking into your wallet and throwing away your $100 bill.  You feel disrespected and now you don’t trust that person anymore. Now I know you’re thinking a $100 bill is worth way more than a box of random crap.  But to a hoarder, it feels the same.  We overvalue all of our stuff.

Value is determined by how important an item is to a person. A hundred dollar bill is worth a lot and a lot of people attach value to it.  A box of random crap, most people don’t attach a high value to it.  But not the hoarder…the hoarder had over-valued their box.  So it feels like a lot of money to them.  Plus if they find out that you threw that out, they are about to go into a panic attack of which box you threw out.  It doesn’t help, it actually makes things worse.  If you want to help, be encouraging, be patient and be empathic.  The hoarder has to be ready to change!