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Are you Messy, a Hoarder, or just a Collector?!

Written by Lisa Jenkins 30 Apr 2022

The term "hoarder" has 'come out of the closet' in recent times, but people often use this label too quickly - I'm here to let you know, there is a huge difference!

Only you can decide when it's time to do something.

The majority of the time its friends or family that tell you you're a hoarder and that you need to get rid of all this 'stuff'. This alone can be confronting and sometimes hurtful, even though they believe its being said with 'good intentions'.

Ask yourself "Do I feel out of control or overwhelmed by having all this stuff? Is it weighing me down or causing me to feel depressed? Or am I happy and proud of what I have accumulated?"

Hoarding can create a sense of chaos to a degree, and this weighs on our mental well-being. We can generally deny it and try to turn a blind eye, or use the excuse "I'll get to it one day". but the compounding anguish day after day can wear you down to a point of feeling shame and depression.

Having a 'messy' home is not hoarding. Generally speaking, you are not got at organising but you know exactly where everything is and the purpose of having it. Finding storage solutions can be challenging, especially if your home doesn't have a lot of options. Things tend to get piled up cause there's nowhere to put them. Otherwise known as 'organised chaos'. This can also be a burden if it gives you a sense of being 'out of control'. Or you are always frustrated that you can't find something when you need it.

On the other hand, a Collector has a sense of pride and value of their belongings, and there is generally a theme such as, coins, plates, dolls, model planes which are usually displayed or shown to others. I've seen were toys kept in boxes end up selling for six figures!

Clear the clutter for peace of mind.

Letting go of cherished belongings is as much a mental process as it is a physical one. It can feel like a roller-coaster of emotions. I'm a trained therapist so I feel very comfortable holding someone's hand while they share their memories. This can be challenging but once they move through it, the relief is phenomenal.

Remember, it's YOUR home not theirs. Just be honest with yourself about how you feel living the way you are. Your instinct or intuition will always tell you the Truth.

And let's not get being "messy" confused with hoarding either. It's often the minimalists or OCD people who see this as a problem. Often I see where people keep items out of cupboards because they use them a lot and find it hard or time wasting to keep putting them away. We're not all born "organizers" either so finding ways to store things can be hard for some.

What a gift!

We all are individual so how you like to live is going to be different to how I like to live. Keep in mind too, one day a loved one is going to have to deal with your belongings that you have cherished so dearly, so make sure you are not hand-balling the responsibility of decluttering on to someone else.

You're home is your castle or sanctuary. It should be a place where you can put your feet up and have a real sense of happiness and peace.

Whenever I work with clients going through a decluttering process, I'm gauging how they are coping and supporting them every step of the way. It's not about "chucking" everything out at all; it's about sorting through at a pace they are comfortable with, and deciding together if we donate or keep. I have no idea what meaning or memories are attached to their things but the stories I get to hear are so interesting and heartwarming. Having someone share their life - the good times or sad - is such an privilege.


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