Hoarders..could I be one?

Compulsive hoarding Apartment

Image via Wikipedia

I had the television on last night and one of those reality shows about hoarding came on (not sure which one, apparently there are several different ones).  I just sat there in shock at what those houses looked like.  At first I kept asking myself how in the world anyone allowed that to happen.  Then, as I listened to their stories, it began to make sense…to a degree. 

I understand things like this sneak up on a person.  They happen gradually until you’re totally overcome by your circumstances.  In hoarding, the stuff becomes your circumstances…it buries you…you use the stuff to not have to deal with the other stuff, the real stuff, that’s going on in your life. 

I now recognize that one of my best friends was a hoarder.  I think a lot of her “stuff” was that she was depressed, had been molested by her father for years, and had a husband who was cheating on her.  I truly believe depression has to play a part in this condition.  As someone who dealt with depression for several years, I understand the lack of motivation to keep your house clean. Even getting out of bed can seem overwhelming.  And there’s this feeling that things will never improve.  Of course, that’s the depression talking.  There is always a way out, a way to make things better.  But when you’re severely depressed, it feels like that’s all there will ever be.

I am so thankful that I was able to overcome the depression, but I know it could come smashing down on me again.  That’s why I try to force myself to do the things I know make me feel better…exercise, music, writing, dancing, and keeping my house semi-clean.  It’s always a joy to open the front door to a clean, fresh-smelling house.

As I was watching that hoarding show last night, I remembered all the stuff I kept for years, packed away in closets.  This was stuff that I didn’t like enough to display or use, but didn’t want to throw it out for some reason.  Fear of not having enough?  Fear of not being enough?  When I finally began going through things, donating or tossing things, I felt better with each bag or box that I got rid of.  I felt lighter…hmm…can you say “weight issues”?  I still have a spare bedroom that I need to declutter.  I have a lot of crafting supplies that I will probably never use again.  Sheesh…do you think an after-school program or a women’s club could put those things to good use?

I’ve spent a few hours today really cleaning house, putting a few things aside to take to work to give to anyone who might want it.  I’m going to spend a couple of days on my next vacation cleaning out the spare bedroom.  I know I’ll feel so much better when I can walk by that doorway and see a clean, uncluttered room.

So, do I think I’m a hoarder?  Not any more…and I’m going to do everything in my power to see that I don’t slip into that kind of behavior again.  What about you?  Do you have hoarding tendencies?  How do you combat them?  And, just so you know, that is NOT a picture of my house!!!