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You know you are a hoarder when:

I admit it. I am a hoarder.

This morning I started to write  about hoarding. It was supposed to be a playful article. I was going to pretend I was a hoarder when really I am just disorganized.  After doing research on the internet, I realized, “I am a hoarder.”

Hoarders are usually disorganized, have difficulty making decisions and tend to procrastinate.

Am I disorganized? Yes,

Do I have trouble making decisions? Yes

Do I tend to procrastinate? Yes

Hoarders are emotionally attached to their things and have a hard time getting rid of them, as they may need them in the future.

I have written about not being able to find my hammer, my iron, and my glasses. Now I can not find my mind. Where did I put it? I woke at 4:15 a.m. to write, but I couldn’t concentrate because there was  clutter on my desk.

I kept thinking about an article I had read by Jeff Goins, Your Clutter is Killing Your Creativity (And What to Do About It).  I read the article again this morning,  then I started to clean off my desk.

I told my husband, “I think I am a hoarder.”

“No, you’re not a hoarder. You don’t collect food, or magazines.”

But I really am a hoarder.

You know you are a hoarder when:

1. You use a garden rake to clean your daughter’s room. You don’ t help your child sort through her toys because you really can’t help her. You can’t get rid of anything either.
2.  You have kept every pair of glasses you ever wore. I have all my old frames, I will donate the glasses to the Lions Club. 
3.  Your ping-pong table is not set up in the basement, because of clutter. Poor Joola, she is still crying.
4.  You save broken item’s you may use some day, or take items out of other people’s trash.  I did finally get rid of the wheelchair wheel I took out of the neighbors garbage.
5.  The clutter causes you to feel depressed or anxious. I felt very anxious this morning. I got up at 4:15 a.m to clean.
6. You don’t want people to come and visit because of the mess in your house. I didn’t let my daughters friend come over last week to visit because I was embarrassed by the clutter.

I don’t want to just rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. My friend, Sabina, used that analogy to describe my cleaning methods.

I have spent days moving boxes from one side of the basement to the other side. I didn’t get rid of anything. I just moved it.

Procrastination, and hoarding have become my Resistance to create.

It is easier to spend the rest of my life in the basement staring at broken toys and objects I don’t know what to do with, than it is to write my book. I don’t want it carved on my tombstone,  “She never did write her book. She meant to. She spent her life rearranging the boxes in the basement.”

I admit I am powerless over my hoarding. My life is unmanageable.  I believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.

I can not clean my basement on my own.

But.

I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

 

Today I pray for strength to put more of my basement in the van and drive it to the thrift store. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life sitting in my basement staring at broken toys.

I will write. I will start today.

Do you have trouble getting rid of broken toys and clothes that remind you of a trip to Thailand?

P.S. That is my basement in the photograph. I will take another picture when Joola, the ping-pong table stops crying.

 

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Research on the internet might make us believe a lot of things..but you, you believe the Voice of Truth…as in Philippians 4:13 and The Big Guy on your side. (have you heard the song The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns?)

  • I hoard.
    Moving frequently keeps me a neat hoarder!

    • pamelahodges

      A neat hoarder. I like that. Maybe that is my problem, I just need to be neat.

  • I am always in a battle with clutter! I have a friend who is a hoarder, on the far-far end of the hoarding spectrum. I got a book from the library to learn more about hoarding so I could help her … and discovered, instead, all of my own hoarding tendencies! Not that I didn’t know about my clutter, I just wouldn’t have thought I’d find myself so clearly laid out in that book!

    Then I discovered Apartment Therapy’s January Cure … and it has totally changed my life. Am I still battling the accumulation of things? Yes. But does that battle show over every surface and corner of my home? No. I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff, I still can’t believe I was keeping all of that stuff in my house in the first place! I know, it’s only mid-February, so it’s early to know if everything I did during the January Cure will stick, but the stuff that went into the trash or was donated is gone, and that alone is a BIG step for me.

    I’m still a hoarder, but I’ve learned some excellent new tricks (that I hope will become habits) that are helping to keep my house in order.

    And I’m so jealous that you have a dress form! I so need one of those.
    ~Stacie

    • pamelahodges

      Stacie, I am so curious to know what your excellent tricks are. I really could use some wise council.
      I bought the dress form at a yard sale in California before we left. My friends father was a hoarder.
      Yes, weird to read a book on hoarding, or an article on the internet, and find them describing you.
      You can borrow my dress form.

  • Terje

    You are honest. I am always amazed when I find blog posts or articles about people who have been able to declutter their lives. I think you have taken first steps. Good luck! It is much easier to clean a room than a brain. I look forward to reading an article “101 in decluttering your brain”

    • pamelahodges

      Hello Terje. Uncluttering my life is still a process. I want to write more than I want to throw away things. You did give me an idea for a story though. All the best, Pamela

  • Hi Pamela,
    Because of my move recently, I was forced to clean out my house of 34 years, much of it was my husband’s, so I moved what I wanted & had an estate sale. When the sale people were working to display the stuff, my daughter & I returned & took a few more things, but very little. I had to say goodbye to some ‘things’ but my memories are still intact. There are people you can hire to clean out; perhaps you can find a good one! I think you’re great to share, & hope you’ll start & then share more during the month of March-we’ll all cheer you on!!

    • pamelahodges

      Hello Linda. Wow, living in a house for 34 years, you must have accumulated a lot of items. I would have loved to go to your estate sale. Was it weird to watch people snoop through your stuff?
      I look forward to the month of March. I look forward to reading your stories.

  • O Pamela, you are funny!
    I was holding on to so many uneccessary things for years…clothes, shoes, children’s items, your name it. And then about four years ago I gave away, I threw out, I shredded everything that did not represent us or was meaningless. Now my place is uncluttered and full of energy since then. Actually, I write about it in my book. As for my mind, I cannot keep it uncluttered all the time, but I persistently try, and through mindful breathing and visualizing I do a good job.
    My goal, to give away most of my possessions and live with the bare essentials….one of these years.
    Blessings Pamela!

    • pamelahodges

      Hello Katina. Wow, you did it, gave away and threw away possessions. How nice to have empty space to create in. I look forward to reading your book.
      Hugs,
      Pamela

  • Emily

    I really enjoyed your post. I am the complete opposite, a neat freak who is OCD about organization, ha ha! I can never sleep until everything gets done, so I feel your pain with the anxiety and insomnia. Really tackling can definitely help. Also, think of it this way. Everything you give away can bring happiness or financial aid to another (if it gets sold). Some people will have a use for what you don’t, and that can be better than anything else. Your memories will last with or without the clutter. Good luck, and thanks for the post! Look forward to seeing the book I know you will write! (=

    • pamelahodges

      Hello Emily, did you get all of your dishes washed and put away? I hope you can get a good nights sleep. I am glad you enjoyed my basement story.
      I will let you know when the book is written. Thank you for visiting.
      All the best,
      Pamela

  • Oh, Pamela. Your honesty makes me laugh at myself. Rather than get rid of the little stuff (details) that are my real problem, I get rid of the larger stuff that I need. I’ve given away more almost new furniture because I decided it just wasn’t “me” anymore. Maybe that’s why we write, to avoid the inevitable that stands staring at us, every day. My dream is to be a minimalist. Now, if I could only get it from my head to my hands.

    • pamelahodges

      Hello Shelley, thank you for stopping by. I am wondering what furniture is you now. Western? Overstuffed? Wicker? My dream is to be a minimalist too. One day I will live in a little house with a big bathtub. We don’t have to get rid of everything.

  • I’ll make you a deal – I’ll come over and help you get rid of your things and then you come here and help me get rid of my things.
    It’s always easier to get rid of other peoples things because you are not attached to them, and when you have someone standing there saying – “ok look, you have 14 others just like it, you haven’t used it for 5 years and it was coated with 3 inches of dust – I think it’s safe to pass it along.” – it tends to make it hard to argue. Plus when they leave they take the things with them so you aren’t tempted to “re-sort”
    My friends Lisa and Lisa and myself would do this – we took turns at each others house –
    What do you think?

    • pamelahodges

      Michelle,
      Thank you for your kind offer. Yes, here it comes — the but. But, I have to fight this on my own. Well, not really on my own, because I have The Big Guy, God on my side. I have to fight his battle in my mind first. I already got rid of some items today. How many tables do I really need?
      All the best, and thank you again.

  • I have the opposite problem. I don’t keep anything and I could live in a cloister and be perfectly happy. I am completely unsentimental. My children get upset with me because I want to throw out all their medals and trophies. But I have a very cluttered mind, which is just as hindersome, if not more so.

    • pamelahodges

      Hmm, how to you throw clutter out of your brain? Do you want to trade your brain for my basement?