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.
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.
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!
I am so excited because now I have a SECOND completely clean room in my house! It feels amazing seeing how clean my bathrooms are! My “Clutter Snowball” method seems to be working! I started with the smallest room in my house for the quick win! I then used that momentum go onto the second smallest room in the house. Just like the “Debt Snowball” method but with crap! I also used the KonMari Method while cleaning and sorting. I feel so amazing because I can feel myself changing: things I would have kept, I could toss out with no problem. I believe a lot of that has to do with how driven I am. I want to heal from my hoarding habits so desperately. I have been meditating and writing self affirmations about my healing. I am actually excited to start the next room!
It’s time to move to the next smallest room in my house: the full bathroom. Luckily, this room is not really hoarded. It’s one of the few rooms I can clean and keep somewhat organized. There are a few corners and areas that need to be sorted and a good scrubbing is in order too. I’m going to be using the KonMari Method to organize all the shampoos, conditioners, toiletries, etc. I did very good at throwing away some expired stuff and old things that had sentimental value. I actually feel great because I was able to toss a lot of stuff out!!!
This is so exciting to announce that I finally have a completely cleaned and organized room in my house! And I did it all by myself! No therapists, no help from someone else…all from my desire to heal from my hoarding! I started with the smallest room in the house for the quick win! I called it my “Clutter Snowball!” (Just like the Debt Snowball but for crap!) I bravely went through all the emotions of anxiety, fear, the need to pull it out of the trash…and I can out victoriously! I love seeing how my bathroom looks now! I’m excited to start on the next smallest room in the house. The joy in the end is worth the anxiety in the beginning!