How to Avoid Hoarding Behaviours at Home

teenagers and father cleaning garage

Some people are incapable of letting things go. They say these items have a sentimental value, so they just couldn’t part ways with them. But when you start considering that toilet seat you bought years ago as something with sentimental value, perhaps it’s time for some deep reflection before you use all of the storage facilities in Adelaide.

In order to get a better hold of yourself before the hoarding demon comes out and ruins your life, here are some useful tips to keep yourself in check.

Know if you’re a hoarder

Not all people who collect stuff are hoarders. Hoarding is a recognised psychological abnormality with deep-rooted causes that would require professional help and treatment.

Hoarders experience social impairment when it comes to their situation, and they often experience extreme separation anxiety whenever they are pressured to throw away unnecessary items. Clinically diagnosed hoarders are easily distressed when someone criticises their inability to throw stuff out. They can also appear aggressive towards those same people.

So if you don’t feel like this whenever someone mentions to you that you really should get rid of that muffler you bought a decade ago because you don’t own a car, then perhaps you’re not a hoarder in the true psychological sense. But maybe, you have hoarder tendencies. If that’s the case, follow these suggestions to keep your hoarding at bay.

Take small steps

items stored in the garage

When you realise that you have hoarding tendencies, don’t immediately reach for the nearest item and throw it out the door. Instead, go through one small section of your house and throw the items you don’t need. This would entail throwing out those extra napkins, tablecloth, staplers and other items you won’t need right away.

The reason for this is to avoid feeling regret after you’ve thrown away an item on a whim. If you feel regret in throwing away something, the risk of you falling back to your hoarding tendencies will become likelier.

Minimise your ‘collections’ into single digits

You hoard stuff because you think you’re building a collection of memories that you would want to treasure until your twilight years. But if you’re going to keep the items that remind you of your kids, like the artwork they’ve done through the years, then keep one to two things for each child. You can also ask your kids to keep items they treasure but minimise the number of those items to single digits to properly manage the clutter.

Use the ‘box test’

If you’re having a hard time figuring out if the ladle you’re holding can be of use to you, then put it in a box for now. Put the box in the attic or in the basement and proceed with the ‘box test’.

The box test is a way to gauge if a certain item is useful to you or not. If the ladle you put in a box stays in that box for a period of six months, the ladle failed the test, and it’s time for you to throw it out. Use this test on other items, and you’ll be able to declutter your house eventually.

It’s hard to throw stuff away when you’ve been used to thinking fond thoughts about each and every item you encounter. But just go through the tips above, and perhaps you’ll be able to keep the hoarding demon right where it should be—in the lowest pits of your mind where it can’t control your life.

Scroll to Top