Struggling For Storage: Could You Be A Hoarder?

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Over the course of a few years, homes have a tendency to fill up. Not necessarily with people, but definitely and absolutely with… stuff.

Some of that stuff is useful. Some of that stuff is purchased and then never thought of again. Some of that stuff does not have any known use, but you can’t bear to throw it away in case one day you might need it. Soon, you find yourself surrounded by items falling out of every cupboard and squashed into every available space.

The solution is pretty simple: time to declutter. There’s a mental aspect to decluttering as well as the practical benefits. When you clear space, it helps calm the mind and make you feel all is well in your patch of the world.

It’s just… it’s tough, isn’t it? It’s a lot of effort that doesn’t necessarily feel like time well spent.

Then there’s that nagging doubt in the back of your mind: if I throw something out, I will need it. You convince yourself that parting with an old iron that hasn’t worked in five years will bring on a sudden, urgent need for – for example – a spare plug. The kind you had on the iron you just threw out.

While you may be able to understand that a clear out would do you and your home the world of good, if you find yourself struggling with the concept, it might be time for a pause. This is the foremost sign of the tendencies of a hoarder.

What Is Hoarding?

We tend to only hear about the most extreme cases of hoarding unless we know of someone who is directly affected. Hoarding is natural in some respects; we tuck things away for future use or with plans to do something with it in future. It becomes a problem when you’re constantly running out of space and you still can’t bring yourself to part with non-essential items. In classification, it’s actually an anxiety disorder. And like all anxiety disorders, it can be very severe (as most publicized cases are) or very mild – but always an irritant.

How Do I Know If I’m A Hoarder?

There are a few diagnostic criteria, but the general sense is that you struggle to throw things away even if they have no conceivable use. For example, you might know that your three-generations-ago phone has no use – but you can’t quite make yourself take a trip to to find out how to dispose of it, never mind actually parting company with it. It’s what makes you keep the broken odds-and-ends, the old school supplies your kids are too old for – all in the banner of “just in case”.

The more useless (such as household rubbish you refuse to part with), the more severe the problem. On the milder side, it might just manifest as an instinct to hold onto things in case they are needed in future. It’s what stops you throwing out the broken iron or the phone that doesn’t even switch on anymore.

Sound Familiar?

Hoarding, like most anxiety disorders, can be managed with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. How this therapy works is covered in great detail at Rather than just throwing everything away in one fell swoop to try and quell the problem, talk to someone or look for online CBT options, and find a way to prevent the issue escalating again.


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