Ever watch the show Hoarders on the A&E Channel? This show will make you feel uncomfortable, better about your own housekeeping or just a little nervous. For me it’s the first and last more than the second. I have issues, no I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder, I have a long way to go for that, but how easy would it be to fall into that? That’s the scary thing.
When I moved out into my own apartment many years ago I was like so many young people I took what anyone offered whether I really needed it or not. Then as my life went on I still did that, sometimes taking things because I didn’t want the other person to feel bad, like mom or grandma. Later, I had to clean out too many people’s homes who I cared about when they died way too soon.
I moved into my in-laws home after they both passed of cancer. The house was “cleaned” out but much still remained. Now here is the embarrassing part, some of it is still here, stuff that I never wanted and never intended to keep. I feel uncomfortable getting rid of things. I have photos of people I don’t know, knick knacks, even a purse with stuff still in it. I’ve been getting better about making myself realize this is my house and I am the one responsible for it. It’s still very hard.
There are areas of my house I don’t go in because they overwhelm me with the stuff in them, I try and clean them out and immediately become overwhelmed. What do I do with this stuff, I actually feel symptoms of a real panic attack. I think that is one of the problems of hoarders. Believe it or not I think it’s a form of perfectionism. If we can’t do it right we don’t know how to do it. In the mind there is a version of perfect we can’t measure up to, usually instilled by a mother or father a long time ago.
I run a local group called Freecycle which is a worldwide movement, check it out here. I started this group for a whole lot of reasons but mostly to get rid of my own stuff(and other peoples I inherited) and I did. In my many years of being an owner of a local group I’ve heard of many hoarder issues but none struck so hard as the passing of another Freecycle Group Owner who passed away several years ago. Everyone spoke so highly of her, how sweet and helpful she was. The thing is though when she died she wasn’t found right away and when she was, she was found among huge amounts of stuff, like what you see on hoarders. I guess I was lucky I went the other way with my participation on the group but have easily started to acquire more and more stuff and I’m sure there are several on my own list who probably have definite hoarding issues.
So somehow I know I’m going to have to face my issues and tackle the three areas of my own house that need major attention-one of which is a whole room I haven’t been in, in years-full of stuff-I started tackling that one about a year ago but freaked out when I found evidence of a mouse-last time I went near it was to put a couple poison boxes in. Yes I know some of you may just think I’m the weirdest thing around but some of you know exactly how I feel, overwhelmed and unsure.
Share your story maybe together we can help each other, drop me a comment or email me privately.Hoarders Many of Us Aren’t That Far Away