Hoarding: 7 Lies That Keep You Caught In Clutter

Are You Lying To Yourself About Hoarding?

Hoarders on Oprah

Oprah has yet another show about hoarders this week. It got me thinking about the lies we tell ourselves to avoid letting go of the stuff that fills up our homes and lives.

Of course extreme hoarding can be associated with psychiatric disorders. More commonly, though, we justify mounting mounds of matter with the little lies we tell ourselves.

Here are 7 of the most common self-delusions I hear, along with a decent dose of reality.

1. I don’t have time

I have no doubt you’re time-poor – nearly everyone today is.

But how much time do you lose each day to:

  • feeling frustrated
  • shopping for things you already have, but can’t find
  • feeling bad about your home and inventing excuses to stop people coming over
  • searching the rubble for papers, sunglasses, your youngest child
  • being unproductive because your office is a mess

Think about all the time you lose over a year. You could gain more than that back with just a little daily decluttering.

Take 10 minutes to get rid of stuff you’ve been hoarding today. Don’t be surprised if you gain 30 or more minutes in productivity right away.

2. It will be awful, horrible, painful; did I mention awful?

The pain of taking action is over quickly, but the pain of living in clutter can be yours to love and cherish for the rest of your life.

The truth is, the anticipation of decluttering is far, far worse that the decluttering itself.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at these comments from people who, like you, dreaded the deed. They sound happy, don’t they? Hmmm…

3. It’s too hard

If you’re talking about organizing your entire home, car, and office all at once then yes, it is. You wouldn’t catch me doing it, no matter how much chocolate you offered me. (Just how much chocolate are we talking about?)

Don’t even try to organize everything or tackle a lifetime of hoarding all at once. Start with something small – a drawer, a paper pile, a mound that’s starting to evolve its own ecosystem. Do a little each day. It might take you a month, or three months, or a year. But it won’t be too hard at all.

4. I’ll do it later

Um, no you won’t. You know it, I know it, your husband/wife/best friend knows it. Let’s move on.

5. I like it this way

If I had a dollar for every But-I’m-happy-this-way person who, after finally getting rid of things they’d been hoarding, admitted they’d been kidding themselves big time – well, I’d have a lot of dollars.

This is the mother of all clutter self-delusions. Bust yourself on it, start releasing things that don’t enhance your life, and enjoy denial-free happiness.

6. It’s not that bad

It could be worse, that’s true. But please, dear reader, don’t choose that as a yardstick for your life.

If excessive stuff is costing you serious time, money and peace of mind, it is that bad. Start letting go of things you don’t need or love today.

7. I can keep it if I want

This is a completely reasonable assertion – if you’re 4. Otherwise, a more helpful one might be ‘I can be happy and feel good about my space if I want’.

Yes, you certainly can – and all it will take is big dose of reality and a little time most days to chip away at your clutter.

Be happy and feel good about your space. That’s my wish for you.

Your say

What lies have you been telling yourself to justify hoarding stuff that doesn’t enhance your life? And are you ready to bust yourself on it? Share your story in the comments.

[Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62904109@N00/ / CC BY 2.0]

53 thoughts on “Hoarding: 7 Lies That Keep You Caught In Clutter

  1. Toni says:

    My living space is pretty organized and neat–BUT–my attic is where all of my problems hide. It is the entire length of my home and FULL to the brim with mostly junk that I couldn’t part with or “might use later”… That is going to be my biggest resolution for this year–to get rid of the mess in my attic! Because even though the mess is “out of sight”–I know it’s there and it bothers me all the time.

    • Nancy says:

      Me too my house inside is good the stuff I want has a home. It’s that attic which is full and freezing so I’m pulling out one box at a time til weather changes will give me time to do “going to projects” or pass on. I do have donation sites in passionate about. Makes it easier to give away nancy

  2. Mara Yirka says:

    Thank you for being here. I have cleaned hoarders homes and in one case shoulda coulda woulda worn a hazmat suit then she refused to pay me. Apparently she has done this to several good folk. I took her to court when I found that out. I still help those that are willing to help with their own doings and if they do help themselves and listen to me I will continue to guide these folk and work along with them. It is usually a lot of fun and rewarding to see that veil lifted from the person I am helping, Respect !

  3. Trenda says:

    I just found out that I’m a hoarder ! I truly didn’t know…. I have vowed to my husband and adult children that I will declutter as I’m packing to move. Lots of clutter when you have lived in one spot for 22 years!

  4. Rui de Castro says:

    Yes, I need organizing. Some of my old stuff is precious and makes me happy and proud of my past, present and future. Space is needed and I will organize things for other people to enjoy too. My life’s museum.
    I will do it!

      • Mara Yirka says:

        and if it is broken and you really like it then do what the Japanese do…KINTSUGI is what it is called and a beautiful reasoning behind it. Best get rid of all the schtick that deters you from life’s real joy GARDENING hahahhahah

  5. Rui de Castro Guimarães Cardoso says:

    Yes, I need organizing. Some of my old stuff is precious and makes me happy and proud of my past, present and future. Space is needed and I will organize things for other people to enjoy too. My life’s museum.
    I will do it!

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