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“Understanding Hoarding” for #careerlions

“Understanding Hoarding” for #careerlions

Myth: People with hoarding tendencies are uneducated and have lower levels of intelligence.
Truth: Individuals with hoarding tendencies are often intelligent and highly educated.
— Jo Cooke

So, I have been reading this book about hoarding by Jo Cooke. The aim of her book is to help those with hoarding issues as well as help others understand how to deal with hoarders. The cover of the book intrigued me with: “Reclaim your space and your life”. I have been called a hoarder one too many times and whoever knows me, knows that clutter follows. But what is being a hoarder really like? Am I really a hoarder? A hoarder in the making? Or can I just tell people to simply piss off? Why do people even hoard? As I am sure there are more #careerlions that might be dealing with some hoarder-oriented issues themselves or those close to them, here is a review of Cooke’s new book. 

Myth: Everyone with lots of clutter is a hoarder.
Truth: Just because someone owns lots of stuff or lives in a cluttered home, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a hoarder.
— Jo Cooke

What is hoarding?

In short, hoarding is the difficulty of parting with possession whatever their monetary value. As a result of accumulating possessions that are not discarded, congested and cluttered living areas arise.

Sadly, I have to admit that thus far I can indeed be called a hoarder.  As I am not throwing away those items that were gifted, have special memories or could possibly use later and so on. Whatever it is, I will probably find a reason not to toss it. You know you have lost the argument when the book reads: “Bargain buying too is difficult for a hoarder to resist.” I am going to have to say, guilty as charged.

But wait, here is where it gets more interesting and I get to prove people wrong (Liona, I totally mean YOU): Hoarding causes significant distress or social, occupational or other impairment. For instance, a lot of hoarder’s houses are unsafe. They are extremely fire prone. These are houses that you can no longer function in, let alone have people over.

How do you spot a hoarder?

More of a fun fact than anything else, there are many different types of hoarding. This makes it extremely hard to spot a hoarder, unless of course you see the inside of their house (meaning all of the rooms, as they might keep communal areas tidier). Weirdly enough people actually can collect dirty items that make you cringe. You may never know!

Why does one hoard?

No surprise, but hoarding is linked to psychological and emotional issues. It is a way to seek comfort and distraction from traumatic life experiences. Hoarding can be typified in the same category as drinking issues, gambling, over-exercising, over-eating and so on. Then there are the genetics, it basically runs in the family.

Honestly, it makes sense that I hoard. Partly it is in my genetics, but most of it is probably due to my life events. Losing my mom and no longer living in my childhood home alone with other distress, I only have a few items from my old home and life with my mom. I cannot possibly part with those items, whatever state they are in. Then in the past years, I have been accumulating lots of stuff that remind me of my old home. Like our Le Creuset pan and kettle. Of course, many things somehow remind me of the past creating excuses to keep it all. Then there are those other things that I obviously have other reasons for or can make up reasons for as I go along.

Some quick tips for hoarders

A few quick tips I gathered from the book:

  • Use the 3C’s: chuck, cherish, charity
  • One in = one out (note to self, start doing this NOW!)
  • Chuck anything that that you associate negative thoughts with
  • If in doubt, chuck it out
  • OHIO = only handle it once

My thoughts on the book

Cooke’s intends to provide insight in the background of hoarding, ways to cope with it, and methods to help those with hoarding problems definitely succeeded. The book is not too long and includes intriguing hoarding cases. For those of you that do have hoarding issues, I am sure it will be an eye-opener. Believe me, you do not want to end up like these people. You do not want to be one of “those” hoarders. It will make you think twice when you decide to keep something useless yet again.

Are you ready to read this book? Or did you already get a chance to read it? Are you a hoarder yourself? Or is it your spouse, friend, or family member with hoarding traits? Please do share your experiences below?

Lessons I learned during my 26th year in life

Lessons I learned during my 26th year in life

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