What do I do with all this stuff?

DSC02591Writing a book demands focusing on the topic at hand. I have been working for a period of time to write a book that addresses the fact we are a nation of collectors. With every holiday there is some type of materialist item that is attached. Along with it is the memories that are formed as the event unfolds. Whether it is Christmas where traditionally gifts that are given, Easter with special decorations and Easter baskets, Halloween with the perfect costume, or Valentines day and the glass rose; each holiday has items that were purchased to show love, affection, or participation of the particular holiday.

What do we do with the items once we receive them? Emotional attachments occur, and memories of special moments linger long after the initial experience. When this continues to occur over time, clutter begins to develop due to the fact we can’t let go of things. This is where the danger lies. For many, as time passes, they lose their ability to move about freely in their living space.

In addition, there will be many who suffer from what is called hoarding. They didn’t start out thinking they were going to be a hoarder, they just collected things for one reason or another. Unfortunately, now hoarding is written in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) as a mental disorder. For the first time in the U.S. history, a mental disorder can be considered a violation of the law! Breaking health and safety codes can evoke the “Hoarding Task Force” to pay a visit to the home of those who suffer from this disorder.

A Hoarding disorder affects emotions, thoughts and behavior. Signs and symptoms may include:
• Persistent inability to part with any possession, regardless of its value
• Excessive attachment to possessions
• Cluttered living spaces with areas unusable for their intended purpose
• Stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail in various places
• Food or trash is built up to excessive and unsanitary levels
• Acquiring unneeded and useless items in the form of trash
• Difficulty managing daily activities due to procrastination with trouble making decisions
• Moving items from one pile to another, without disposing anything
• Difficulty organizing items, sometimes losing important items in the clutter
• Shame, guilt and/or embarrassment
• Limited or no social interactions
People with hoarding disorder typically save items because:
• They believe these items will be needed or have value in the future
• Items have important emotional significance, memories attached of happy times or beloved people
• They feel safer surrounded by things they save.

Hoarding disorder is not to be confused with collecting. People who have collections, deliberately search out specific items, are very organized and categorize every item. As a Heart Mender Specialist, I provide tools and coping skills to help those who are struggling with these issues. Contact me for a free consultation.


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