Thursday, June 24, 2010

all about hoarding

As you may remember, I have an obsession with the television show Hoarders. I was checking out my Netflix, and I saw that it came out on DVD recently, so that immediately was at the top of my queue. I eagerly awaited its arrival, and I have been watching Hoarders Season 1 since. Actually, I watched the whole thing already. It was amazing.

Some episodes were definitely better than others, but there was one woman that I considered to be the worst of them all. I would say they're all pretty bad, and a lot of them are so disturbing on account of how disgusting their house gets, but this woman's hoarding problem was shocking not because of how filthy her house was, but because she had more stuff piled in her house than anyone...EVER.

When they piled all of the stuff from her garage out into her yard, it was shocking how much was laid out there. And she wouldn't/couldn't part with most of it. So they ended up packing away most of the stuff in boxes, and sent them off to multiple storage units she had decided to rent. They said there was over 1400 boxes of stuff in those units. Is that not absolutely crazy?
At the beginning of every episode, there is some text that says there are more than 3 million people who have a problem with hoarding. That's a lot. I'm sure the majority of them are not to the state of the people on the show...that they have a more manageable hoarding problem. It got me thinking about the people I know and whether or not they have problems with hoarding.

Okay, from what I gather from the television show, people seem to hoard for four different reasons: 1. the stuff has sentimental value to them, they have an emotional attachment to it or they keep it to help them remember things 2. they think the objects are valuable or can be sold with some repair work done, so they keep them because they think they are worth value 3. they are convinced that the things they collect will be useful to them someday 4. they just never learned how to deal with handling their possessions, and so they let it accumulate (to me, this seems like the worst excuse ever, but, it is what it is).

My mom would probably kill me for writing this (so don't tell her) but she has a small hoarding problem. Her hoarding falls under reasons number 1 and number 2 above. She has a bigger problem with reason number 2. She hoards magazines and TV guides that are years and years old, because she thinks they will be worth something someday. She literally has stacks and stacks of magazines. Most of them she moved into the attic because my aunt told her she needed to get rid of them, and my mom couldn't part with them, so she stashed them away where no one could see them up in the attic.

I think she's like any other mom in that she keeps a lot of me and my brother's childhood things, but they're all packed away in boxes in the attic. She also saves cards for sentimental reasons. I'm talking birthday cards or Christmas cards, whatever the occasion, if she really likes the card or it's from someone special, she dates the back of it and stores it away. But, believe me, her house does not look all cluttered and messy. She is very organized in her (minor) hoarding.

I'm not going to let myself off the hook, though. The more I thought about whether or not I had any issues with hoarding, I came to realize that mine has to do with recyclables. Since I am having trouble recycling items here in Colorado, I have been keeping them in garbage bags and different bins, just letting them accumulate into a giant mass. I guess part of it is reason number 2, because I know we can get money for turning them in, but that's a very small part. Really, it's more reason number 1. I know that sounds strange that I have an emotional attachment to recyclables, but I really, honestly, cannot throw them away. I literally can't do it. When it's gotten to the point that something had to be done, they were thrown into the garbage and it made me feel so bad...really, really BAD. I just hated knowing they were in the trash. But then I start collecting them again. So, see? I have a problem, too. (Even though I think mine is a little different, because if I COULD recycle them I would get rid of them.)

How about you? What do you hoard?

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