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Tips on Decluttering - How to fight Pathological Hoarding

Updated on January 2, 2013

Confession time: I am a hoarder myself, until...

Buying and keeping unnecessary clutter (things) at home is a result of the so-called Pathological Hoarding. It is an obsessive compulsive disorder that is manifested by storing, keeping and cluttering things that keeps the house untidy to look at.

Since we were children, there are things that we cannot let go. Most of it can be categorized as mainly: toys. During this age, we buy toys compulsively in order to brag or show off to our playmates or friends that we also have this latest toy or cards.

But as we get older, for example when we reached the age of puberty or teenage life, we tend to collect fashionable clothing, accessories and gadgets. Our allowances went to spending frenzy on unnecessary things, just to be 'in' with your group or company.

As we mature, the accumulated collection can become a habit that an clutter your personal cabinet or wardrobe. The reason for this will be a scapegoat to bigger family or personal problems. So, the tendency is to hoard whatever is available on sales at the nearest department store or flea market!

Or the worst scenario, your compulsive attitude can be a nuisance or affects other family members negatively.

Why would an individual be in this situation? There are things to consider as to why he or she collects things since childhood.

  1. The POSITIVE Effect - He/She foresees that toys, cards and memorabilia can be collectors' items in the future. It can be a lucrative way to generate business in the future,like in auctions, etc.
  2. The NEGATIVE Effect - If he/she was deprived of those things at an early age, he/she tends to buy and collect things compulsively.

Collecting memorable items can be therapeutic but if your house will not be able to hold your collection, then it's time to...


Note: This compulsive behavior of hoarding is also characterized by keeping things, even it is destroyed already or not functioning.

My workplace - a possible 'hoarding' niche? (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)
My workplace - a possible 'hoarding' niche? (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)

What to keep and what to discard

Here are some reminders on how to get rid of those imperfections.

Tips on Decluttering things at home

  1. Select those things that are still useful. Get rid of those that can only add volume and occupy space that is intended to other things.
  2. Avoid being sentimental. Put things at the right perspective. You can give some of your toys to children or even donate it at your chosen charity.
  3. Device your personal system in arranging things. For example, you can label things according to its name, specification, date you procured, etcetera.
  4. Know the values of the things you are storing. From paper magazine to plastic products and gadgets, you can get rid of those obsolete and destroyed.
  5. If you cannot decide by yourself, seek the help of an expert in deciding what to keep or discard from your collection.

Alternative Addiction Treatment for Pathological Hoarding and the like

Photo Source : Wikipedia thru Capture-a-Screenshot
Photo Source : Wikipedia thru Capture-a-Screenshot


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @earthbound1974: Good for you. Me? I have the tendency to buy impulsively. I always think of the future, and what fellow hubber, Rosika, opined, that "one day" I will use it. lol!

    • earthbound1974 profile image


      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I'm not much of an impulsive buyer and I'm not a clutter-er at home. Yet, this hub is important and serves as a reminder for those who are guilty of being the topic of this article. Lol!

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Harsha Vardhana R: What a philosopher you are! That 'fear' is a kind of compulsive disorder that serves as scapegoat to face the realities in life.

      Yes, we can give it by extending help to neighbors in need.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @rosika: Lol! You better swap it with me, if you may, please. I also have clutter here at home. I cannot decide what to throw or give, because I always felt I need it but it seemed idle in my closet.

    • Harsha Vardhana R profile image

      Harsha Vardhana R 

      5 years ago from Bangalore

      My philosophical view!

      Hoarding - a sort of fear that we may not get them when we need them. So keep them!

      If we have faith that we always almost get what we need, we can start gifting away to some who have highest need for them.

    • rosika profile image


      5 years ago

      I have so many things collected at my home that I don't want to throw thinking I will use them "one day" but that"one day" hasn't come yet..haha!....Now after reading your hub I am thinking I should get rid of them...or atleast some of them!

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @xstatic: Hahaha! Atta, Sir E.! We're the same. And I noticed that most of my men-friends are also cluttery.

      No, Sir, nobody told me about you, hehe!

      My plan this year is to really get rid of stuff that I considered obsolete. Perhaps, I will recycle it to minimize garbage disposal.

      Thanks for dropping by. :)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Well done and helpful to many I would think. One thing, Who told you about me?? Nooo, not a hoarder, but very cluttery and reluctant to get rid of stuff I guess. But we are talking about downsizing, that will be a test.


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