The daffodils are in bloom, the azaleas are spectacular. There is a certain freshness to the air that can mean only one thing: it’s springtime, the season we often associate with cleaning and organizing our homes.
Wiping down pantry shelves, tossing worn-out shoes and de-cluttering the garage offers a certain catharsis: a renewed opportunity to feel gratitude for the material things we use and a chance to get rid of (or pass on to others) the things we do not. Cleaning and organizing with easy-to-use systems promotes both productivity and serenity. But what happens when there is simply “too much stuff” to begin? When the “stuff” we own begins to own us?
In recent years,
we have heard a lot about “hoarding.” Whether this phenomenon is a rapidly growing one in American society or we simply know more about it because of the documentary shows focused on it, hoarding is an extreme behavior pattern that can have devastating effects on individuals and their families. It is typically an emotional reaction to a previous trauma, but not always. Hoarding can also occur when a person simply has a difficult time throwing things away and over time, the situation gets out of control. Feelings of hopelessness are common among hoarders.
One of the problems in classifying hoarders is that there are many levels and frequent excuses to justify the behavior. Self-applied labels include “packrat,” “collector,” and “disorganized.” Household members and friends trying to make sense of their loved one’s behavior may use terms such as “extreme collector,” “eccentric,” and “sloppy.” Hoarders frequently accumulate magazines, newspapers, junk mail, food containers, broken items (intending to repair them) and items too valuable (in their opinion) to throw or give away. But really, anything that makes our homes feel less enjoyable to live in is worthy of our attention. Everyone deserves a home that is his or her sanctuary, not a prison.
If the “stuff ” that you own is causing you to feel anxiety or embarrassment in any way, it’s time to take action. A caring and qualified therapist can help you take the necessary steps to let go of the things that are no longer giving you joy.
For more information, contact Insights Therapy at 214.706.0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org