When I watch those reality tv shows that showcase examples of extreme hoarding, it always makes me feel better about myself. However, justifying my own behavior by simply comparing it to more extreme behavior doesn't mean I don't have a problem. The same way that show "My 600-Pound Life" doesn't make me healthy, watching extreme hoarding shows doesn't make me a minimalist.
Now, I ADMIRE minimalism. I really do. And watching examples of minimalism has the opposite effect on me that watching a hoarding show does. I see examples of minimalism and then I feel really bad about myself. I suppose if I were to tell myself to "not feel bad" after watching a show about minimalism, good health, or other admirable behaviors, then it would only be fair to tell myself "But don't forget that you SHOULD still feel bad" after watching their opposites.
But behaviors like hoarding seem to only be a problem when the negative effects are visible to others. When a house is overflowing with stuff and there are no floor or surface areas left, that's when we say "DAMN! THAT'S MESSED UP!" However, we don't say anything in the early stages. I often think about how organization is kind of a way of enabling hoarding. For example, a giant stack of old bills and receipts stacked on top of the microwave makes a viewer say "Why don't you just throw those out?" However, put them in files and sort those into a filing cabinet, and suddenly that's responsible behavior. We don't ask to see the dates on those bills, because they look like they are where they belong. The same thing goes for clutter. Does it make it okay to have stuff you don't need by organizing it into boxes, labeling those boxes, and then stacking them on nice shelves in your basement?
That's what makes me think perception is about space, not behavior. If you walked into an immaculately clean home, you might not think there is anything wrong. What you don't see is that the owners of that home might have 3 storage units full of stuff they "cleaned" out of their house. Without the storage units, the same amount of stuff might have looked concerning in that home.
And what's up with collections? Where is the line in the sand between collecting things and hoarding? That again seems to fall into the realm of perception. For example, i've never seen any guitarists looked at negatively for having 12 guitars, even though you can only play one at a time. A home library with a large collection of books is considered elegant, but without the shelves, a stack of boxes filled with books makes you ask "why don't you just drop those off at Goodwill?" It would seem the organization of "stuff" absolves it from being clutter, even though it's the same behavior.
So am I a hoarder because I own things that don't constantly bring me joy or function? Would the answer be "no" if I move into a larger home? Would the answer be "yes" if I moved into a smaller home?
I don't think i'm a hoarder as much as i'm overwhelmed about cleaning. And by cleaning I mean actually getting rid of things, not just moving things around. I am very capable of parting with possessions... i'm just too lazy to start.
Hi, i'm John(ny). I'm a middle-aged(?) husband and dad. I have a video/photo business that fills in all the gaps.