There’s a pile of clothes in the middle of the floor and the cleanliness of them is questionable; the piles of papers are overflowing onto the floor; you now have to use your leg muscle to close your closet door; you really like to buy antique items…often; you actually may have more container and bins than you have clothes… You can’t help but ask the question: Am I a hoarder?
Helping Hoarders Help Themselves
In finding creative solutions to organize our closets, rooms, home, and life in general, this may be a question you’ll have to ask yourself. What I’m learning is that just because your place may be neat and orderly doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not a hoarder…it just means that it’s just more contained.
So I have had to ask myself that same question; Am I a hoarder? Answer: yes. It’s not easy to admit, but that really is the first step, because now that I know what type of hoarder I am, I can take the steps to make the necessary corrections.
In my previous post, What is a Hoarder? , there were 3 different types of hoarders discussed: The “One Day” Gal/Guy, The Accumulator/Collector, and the Secret Stasher. In attempting to answer the question “Am I a Hoarder?”, we’ll look at different characteristics of the different types of hoarding.
For each of the 3 types of hoarding then put a check next to all that apply for you then give yourself 5 points for every check, add up the results, then see which category you may most likely fall under:
You’re a “One Day” Gal/Guy if you…
- have more than 20 items of clothing in your closet that You haven’t worn in 5 years or more.
- have jewelry or ties that haven’t been worn in years.
- have more than 5 pairs of work shoes that you haven’t worn in over 2 years.
- have handbags, hats, scarves, shawls and other accessories that could fill a large-sized lawn bag.
- have more than 10 half-used bottles of shampoos, conditioners, lotions and shower gels.
- have more than 10 hair combs and brushes but you only use 2 or 3 regularly.
- have been using pots, pans, dishes and food containers that are noticeably stained or broken.
- have not checked the expiration date on the food in your fridge, pantry or shelves in over 3 months.
- have packages and boxes of food and snacks that you haven’t used in over a year.
- have books for more than 10 years that you still haven’t read.
- have piles of unopened letters, bills, any other mail that keeps getting bigger and bigger every week.
- can easily go a whole year with cleaning out your garage or storage room.
The Accumulator/Collector will…
- have more than 5 different collections (rocks, coins, comic books, antique dolls, etc).
- have more than 5 different collections and none of the collections are complete.
- buy a new pair of eyeglasses, even though they already own 5 glasses.
- buy something every time you visit a yard sale or thrift store and buy something…always.
- save each and every card they have ever received in your lifetime.
- forfeit the use of your guest room to hold their extra stuff.
- take all their stuff with them, regardless of the number of times they moved.
- have an additional apartment or house for your extra (I’m not making this stuff up, folks).
- have more than one family heirloom but you have no idea where you put them.
- put watching QVC or HSN on their “Things To Do” list every week.
- never go to a store and not buy something.
- always talk about the “great deal” they got when asked why they have so much stuff.
Finally, The Secret Stasher:
- Your motto is: There’s no such thing as having too many storage containers.
- You quickly put away any items bought, or “stash it” so that the people you live with don’t see your new items.
- Everything is labeled.
- All your DVD’s and/or books are arranged alphabetically and by genre.
- If you live with others, you’ve developed a system of putting things away that only you really understand.
- You often buy storage containers and bins without having an immediate use for them.
- You rarely misplace anything.
- You’ll use your spare room to hold your extra stuff as long as the rest of your place is neat and orderly.
- Your stuff that’s neatly organized in containers, is slowly making it’s way to other rooms.
- They know you by name at The Container Store.
- You probably already have most items needed for any DIY projects.
- Your friends come to you – often – to borrow things simply because you seem to have everything they need.
So, what’s the verdict? It’s possible that we may overlap, but generally speaking, there’s usually one dominant style of hoarding that very evident. Now, let’s look at some quick solutions for each type:
The “One Day” Gal/Guy
Solution: You’ll have to come up with SPOA: Specific Plan Of Action. “One Day” is no more…wall calendar may be as prehistoric as rotary phones, but I still use them because I like to write out things and see it on a large display. If wall calendars are not your thing, put a small one on the refrigerator; make it colorful, get creative but you’ll need something that’s tangible that you can see, easily, so that you can not only set up specific dates, but you can mark your progress. If you prefer to use your phone, that’s fine, but I would still recommend putting up an old-school paper calendar, just until everything is in order.
Solution: First and foremost: Do not buy anything new. Nothing! Second, if your collections are incomplete, look at them and select the one that you really feel you can’t do without and sell or donate the rest. Collections are beautiful and a way for people to get to know you better, but too much can just make any room look cluttered.
The Secret Stasher
Solution: I’ll admit it, this one was a hard one to write, possibly because I tend to lean more towards this type of hoarder than the others. I’ve always liked my surroundings to be neat, orderly and attractive and tend to make a lot of my decorations. But, I do have that back closet that has become a nice community home for those monsters that have taken up residence. I’ve organized many times and even have done some extensive cleaning, but the reality is that I’m just moving stuff around.
This is going to be a major project for me and it may not be pretty, but it has to be done. Unlike the Accumulator/Collector, the Secret Stasher can’t just have stuff in disarray, so most everything is orderly, but it’s also deceiving. At some point, the stuff will become too much for its current “home” and may filter into other rooms.
I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but if I don’t act fast, it can happen sooner than later. If you feel that you do not have the strength to do it alone, get some help, but you’ll really have to get it under control before it becomes a major issue.
Trust me, I have a lot more to say on this topic, but I’ll end it here. I would love to hear back from you, feel free to leave any comments below, and if you like, share your results. No judgment here, folks. We’re just here to help each other live a more clutter-free vibrant life!
I would love to hear from you, so please make sure to leave your comments below.
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