How do you measure up?

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Simply put, really living simple and being organized looks different to everyone.

Living the simple life sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? The question is what do we do with all the stuff we may have accumulated? There are definitions or categories that a group of people created that describes people according to the amount of stuff they have gathered.

*Hoarders – Preparers – Pack Rats- Clutters – Collectors – Compulsive Shoppers

Where do you see yourself? There are many who have watched television shows about ‘Hoarders’. Some may think maybe their neighbor, family, or a friend is a hoarder too. Secretly they may even realize they have some type of hoarding issues as well. What do we do about it?

If one Googled the term “hoarder” and read Wikipedia they could get insight to the definition. As a mental health professional, I use the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel (DSM-5) that provides criteria that determines if someone truly suffers from a hoarding disorder.

When we see words that suggest we simplify our lives, we need to recognize it is easier said than done. There are many variables that must be addressed for each of us when dealing with letting go of materialistic things. The unseen ties and emotional bonds that are attached through memories or belief systems make it very difficult to separate people from their belongings.

The word belonging is a powerful image to be used in this context. One might say, “These things belong here, they have always been here”. Another may say, “Those belonged to my son or daughter when they were young, I couldn’t bear to part with them”. Working with one woman, she stated, “My husband used to golf when he was younger and paid good money for those clubs; I know he is almost ninety and hasn’t played in fifty years but still I can’t sell those!”

The list can go on and on, as we justify why we need this or why we need to go buy more of that. Rest assured the time will come when we all have to deal with our stuff one way or the other. Do we have too much now? Can we keep gathering, collecting or storing up for a rainy day? When do we realize we too have the opportunity to become somewhat of a hoarder?

Is it too late to choose to live a more simplistic life? It is never too late, although we now may need assistance from others as we move forward towards our desire to a clutter free environment.

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