Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hoarding Disorder, part 2

Hoarding Disorder - part 2

Briefly, here are some of the tips I ran across in my reading.

You can make early progress without too much distress by grouping things. Start gathering everything that is alike and put them in one place (preferably neatly, in a box). All the linens, all the stationary, every pair of black shoes. Just pick a pile, go through it and separate the items into categories. You don’t actually have to discard anything if you’re not ready. It helps you see how much you have that is already redundant. It also gives you an idea of how much space you’ll need to devote to storing any one category. If you go through all your closets and find 4 suits in the same color, it might be easier to think about getting rid of a couple of them, especially if you can see that there is not enough closet room. (So then you can start a new category to gather up: things to give to charity).

For paper clutter, which I think almost everyone has to some degree, you can make some progress just by discarding the extraneous bits: all the plastic covers or extra envelopes. It has been suggested that paper tends to fall under the following broad types: memories, paid bills, bank records, work related, tax things, health and mortgage related. So that gives you a place to start.

Lastly, just for fun, I am attaching a piece I wrote about my own tendency to get buried in “things.” I hope you enjoy it.


She’d always wanted a room that wasn’t a room. A room that served no housely function. A room with a deep ochre carpet, plush and watery to step into, and oriental poofs and pillows and bean bag chairs and wind-chimes – lots of glass and bamboo wind-chimes hanging from the ceiling, plinking gently in the breeze from a low, open window. She would just sit in this room, and listen, and think. Just that.

The room had a closet and the closet was empty. No agendas. No surprises.

Actually, she wanted a house like this. Every room was open, airy, light-filled and freshly aired. No room was for actual use, other than to enjoy. One had tatami mats and shoji screens. One had masks on the wall, a burnished wood floor, and nothing else. One held a potbellied black stove squatting on bricks, firing up till the red gingham curtains shimmered with heat. There was a room with blue tile and a frog pond. A room with brilliant Eastern billows of cloth hanging from every rafter.

Nothing was on shelves or in drawers or leaning in corners. All was space. Transparent, that’s it – the house was transparent, in the way she wanted her government to be transparent. She wanted a house like this, in addition to the real one. She would walk through it every day. There was no music there, never any other people, no neighbors. A house filled with silence and space.

No. That wasn’t it. Actually, she wanted a life like that.

Instead, she was plagued by mounds of receipts from Taco Bell, cupboards full of wrapping supplies, five crystal punch bowls, and three closets of clothes. Not to mention the bills. She was convinced that they bred in the dark at the bottom of the drawers, so that every time she opened the desk there were new baby bills winking up at her. Bills for things and things and things. Where did they come from, when all she wanted was a limpid blue frog pond?
She heard herself speaking these objects into being. Saying, “Honey, we need some new software”, or “I would love to have an espresso machine like that”. They appeared. They brought with them boxes, warranties, cleaning instructions, websites with pdf files on how to repair, squishy foam peanuts and styrofoam dividers and plastic wrap and another place to find on the counter. She was drowning. She couldn’t breathe.

She dreamed at night that the clothes left the wardrobe and opened the front door to polyester friends. They were having a party and she was not invited. Soon, they would roll her into a corner like an old rug, so she would take up less space. Eventually she would end in the giveaway bin.

She looked forward to this. She wanted to be carted away.

Deborah is the author of Is There Room for Me, Too? 12 Steps & 12 Strategies for Coping with Mental Illness, available at Amazon and other major vendors. Visit her web page at, or see her catalog at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say anything you wish, but say it respectfully! 'Respect' means you acknowledge everyone's right to their own opinion - and no name-calling!