This month I am going to look at the
psychology of hoarding.
I'm fascinated by why people hoard. What makes someone hold onto 50 margarine
cartons, old pieces of string and used wrapping paper? What makes someone
fill every last inch of their home with collections, a forest of ailing
plants and piles and piles of ancient newspapers? What makes someone turn
their precious spare room or garage into a no-go area and fill it to the
rafters with junk?
At one end of the spectrum extreme hoarders can't bear to throw anything
away and may be suffering from an illness like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
At the other people live so minimally they can't bear to have any excess
possessions in their homes at all. I met a man recently who was proud
of the fact he only had 2 mugs in his home. I'd like to think I'm a bit
more relaxed than that although I have a pretty low tolerance for clutter
in my home. My bliss at the moment is the minimal look but the most important
thing to me is that it feels like home, not a hotel bedroom.
So do you need to understand what's behind your cluttering behaviour to
change? It's not essential - my website and approach to decluttering are
primarily practical. However I do have a degree in psychology and I believe
the more you understand about why you are holding onto things, the easier
it is to effect long term change.
So ask yourself...
- What was
your family like when you were growing up? Is there a history of hoarding
- can you identify anyone else who holds onto excess stuff?
- Did you
grow up in a very neat and controlled household and have been rebelling
against it ever since?.
- Have you
ever been through a period when money was tight or hard emotional times?
- Are you
sentimental and can't bear to throw away even a postcard?
- Are you
a rescuer - can you never walk past a skip without saving something
or do you haunt boot fairs on the lookout for a bargain?
- Do you
see yourself as a collector rather than a hoarder?
Are you afraid of making a mistake and regretting throwing something
Spend a few
minutes thinking and making notes on why you hold onto stuff. Can you
see that some of your beliefs and behaviours are counterproductive. That
rather than making your life better - they are leading to a cluttered
home - which is causing frustration and irritation.
Now spend 10 minutes decluttering a drawer - be aware of any negative
or hoarding thoughts that crop up. Counterbalance these with calming thought
- reassure yourself nothing bad will happen if you let go of used wrapping
paper. Over the next few weeks - stay conscious of all the psychological
influences that are driving your hoarding behaviour.
Congratulations to all of you that managed to complete April's challenge
and clear a room or area in your home, then keep it clear of clutter for
the rest of the month.
For June tick off the following areas as you declutter and complete them.
If you've got under an hour try the quick challenges
Quicker Decluttering tasks...
- Edit out
or food cupboards - make sure everything is still in date
your bed - if you do keep things here make sure they are stored in proper
underbed storage. John Lewis has a wide range.
of your wardrobe - my experience is there is more junk than anything
useful stored here
or hall cupboard if you are feeling very brave - I bet you don't even
know what is lurking in there.
and do let me know how you get on. I'm always happy to hear your stories
and any tips for decluttering or storage that are working for you.
If you found this newsletter interesting or helpful (or even both!), why
not share it with a friend. Click the "Forward" button on your
emailer or print it out to send it to someone who might like a read.
Sue Kay works
with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small businesses,
declutter before a house move, prepare your spare room for a new baby
and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're selling
your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market to
achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help call
Sue on 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at www.nomoreclutter.co.uk