Do you think you’ll ever wear that stunning dress you got on sale? Or that jumper that looked great on you two kids ago? Are you ever going to use the tea set your great aunt bought you for your birthday? How about that giant teddy bear your childhood sweetheart bought you a couple of decades ago?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions or if you’re still holding on to anything similar, then there’s a possibility that you may be a hoarder. Don’t worry; it’s nothing too serious. You just have the tendency to hold on to things that have even the slightest bit of sentimental value for you.
The problem with hoarding is that it can be space wasting and detrimental to your health. The build up of clutter in your house can lead to a dust, mould and an accumulation of animal dander. These can all lead to worsening allergies and asthma. It can also make it difficult for you to find things and stay organized, as well as making it difficult for you to navigate your home. It can also be the cause of accidents like floors caving in or the slightest movement sending a downpour of trinkets.
The bottom line with hoarding is that it’s not particularly healthy. Nor is it entirely practical. If you want to try and overcome your hoarding tendencies, here are a few things you can do to get started.
Tips for Getting Rid of Your Stash
Admit that you have a problem
Admission is always the first step. Acknowledge that having these things don’t necessary improve the quality of your life, and are in some ways even make things worse. Know within yourself that you have to let these things go sooner or later, and then you can go on your way to start getting rid of them, one useless knick-knack at a time.
Take it slow and start small. You don’t need to haul everything and toss it in the dumpster. In fact, you can take baby steps and take this a collection at a time. For instance, you can choose to give away your potholder collection and keep only one. You can also try to get rid of at least 20, 30 or maybe 100 items each week. Make a slow gradual start and take it from there.
Get to it!
Resist the urge to set something aside “just in case you need it soon” or “to think about it for a while.” When you’re faced with an object you can’t seem to part with just yet, decide then and there if it stays or it goes. Procrastinating in this decision just prolongs the process and may even end with you getting rid of only one item each day!
Or at least kind of get to it
So maybe you’ve decided not to do the previous tip and you’ve kept a few things you can’t decide on. What you can do is put them in a box and keep them for about 6 months. If you can go for 6 months without opening that box, then give it away.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
You can keep one or two remnants from your collection, if that collection is particularly meaningful to you. Got a collection of fancy spoons? Keep the one that you like the most and give away the rest. It’s easier to part with an entire set of things when you know that you can keep a tiny reminder that you had that collection. You can even frame that one piece from your collection to make it special
Find someone to help you
Ask a friend or family member for some help. Find a friend who can genuinely give you some tough love about how you’ve got way too much stuff. Have them convince you that you simply can’t keep all these things!
Tips on How to Avoid Hoarding in the Future
Only buy things that you need
Buying items on sale may be tempting, but you have to think if you really need that item. This means you’ll be using it within a few days of purchasing it. If you won’t be using that item in the next couple of weeks, then resist the urge to buy and just walk away.
Just because you’re into a new hobby, that doesn’t mean you have to buy the entire deluxe set of accessories and tools you need for it. You may be into art one week and into wine tasting in the next week. Before you commit to making big purchases for a hobby, make sure it’s a hobby you’ll be committing to for the long term.
Politely decline gifts
What should you do if you find yourself in the receiving end of a gift or hand-me-down? Just say no. You can tell your friends and family that you’re trying to change your hoarding lifestyle, and that it would be great if they no longer offered you stuff they don’t need.
Change your outlook
Realize and believe that you don’t need physical objects to remind you about the happy times in your life. One or two remnants from that phase should be enough. In addition, your possession shouldn’t be your source of happiness. If you feel secure by having all these things around, find another type of security blanket like a worthwhile hobby to close the void.
Be aware of your spending
Take note of how much you’re spending so that you have written proof of how much you’ve spent on unnecessary objects. If the stacks of magazines and books in your home don’t give you a wakeup call, the dollars you’ve spent will!
When you’ve eliminated enough stuff to make a huge portion of your house useful again, organize the remaining stuff. When you see how organized your things are, and how neatly they’re kept you may start to think twice about cluttering it all up again.
It can be hard trying to part with things that give you fond memories. But you have to realize that hoarding leads to your home being overrun by clutter, and clutter can be bad for your health and for your mobility. It’s best to take control of your hoarding habits. Remember to stay organized and to be wary of what you’re bringing into your home. Good luck!