More About Hoarding

While trying to find a research study I once read about hoarding and gender, I came upon a great documentary called “Possessed.”

The film maker, Martin Hampton, lets four hoarders talk about their behavior and how it has affected their lives. It is 21 minutes long and well worth your time if you’ve ever wondered why you have so much crap, or why you continue to buy things you don’t need.

Even if you can’t relate to hoarding, you will still be fascinated and moved by the plight of Mr. Hampton’s subjects. They are in different stages of both awareness and desperation, but all four are so straightforward and sincere that you can’t help but feel for them.

Is hoarding a metaphor or a mental illness?   Do our possessions provide solace or do they weigh us down?

I was going to count my t-shirts to add a personal note here but I can’t bear the thought of it right now. Let’s just say I have a lot of them. Inside my thin self is a fat circus lady trying to get out, and inside my t-shirt collecting is a hoarder of empty toilet rolls and plastic bags.

Know what I mean?

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14 Responses to More About Hoarding

  1. I hoard cans of oriental and other exotic sauces.

    No problem as they last forever and eventually get used. Worse is expensive meat or shellfish in the freezer bought on sale for special occasions, which have to be thrown out when they becomes cardboard.

    But the worse form of hoarding is collecting Facebook “friends.”

    “I believe we shall come to care about people less and less. The more people one knows the easier it becomes to replace them.”

    Ambrose Bierce ca. 1895

  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks so much for that link — I can’t wait to watch it 🙂

  3. Sal says:

    I can relate. Truly. But I don’t think hoarding is a signal of mental illness unless it starts impeding regular functioning. You know, that old chestnut. But really. Although having more clothes than necessary does say things about us, that we’re mentally ill isn’t one of them. Or so I think.

  4. Mark says:

    61 pairs of Levi’s.

  5. K-Line says:

    I do think that hoarding is a symptom of mental disorder. However, I am compulsive about throwing things away (I struggle, seriously). And that’s as much of a problem in its own way.

  6. Den Den says:

    I feel that hoarding is a planned released strain of mental illness perpetrated on us by the media, big business (big brother) military-industrial-complex, _____ (fill in the blank), so we won’t/can’t feel good about ourselves unless we have the latest and the greatest and lots of it. And if we’re obsessing, hoarding, and possessing, and consumed by reading blogs about about a 20 year-olds self obsession with her fashion we won’t march in the streets. It we’re worried about fashion, weight control, celebrities, possessions, drugs, drinking and the latest fad, movie, love triangle, _______( fill in the blank) we won’t care who’s stealing the country blind, and we won’t worry about “those” people over there when we can’t manage our own lives full of __________ (fill in the blank).
    I’m getting reading to throw my computer out the window and yell, “I’m mad as hell and i’m not taking it anymore!”
    But I think I’m infected too! Say a hail Mary for me Sister Wolf!

  7. Den Den says:

    S/b “I’m getting ready (not reading) Yes, I can’t edit my own work! Sorry.

  8. hammiesays says:

    Moving house ten times in the first 4 years of Boo’s life helped me leave a lot behind. I also burned all my high school journals and year books. I think I developed the 3 Fs very early when I knew I needed to and shed any thing that would slow me down. (3 Fs: Fight, Flight and procreate)

  9. Sister Wolf says:

    Dextor -Facebook friends fill me with dread. But I loved my friends as MySpace!

    Catherine -My pleasure. xo

    Sal – Ha, so I think and hope, too.

    Mark – Shit!

    K-Line – Wow, I wish I could cultivate the throw away urge.

    Deni – Oh god, I’m not gonna pray for you until you relax.

    Hammie -Hahahhaha! You are always such a good role model.

  10. I think a lot about my hidden, inner hoarder every time I hear about the poor dead hoarder whose door can’t be opened b/c of all the newspapers, etc stacked round.

  11. Andra says:

    Good morning Sister.
    To change the subject – a couple of days ago I ventured into a very fancy watch shop in Cairns, Australia and there, lying on the floor was a very wonderful lesbian stick! Almost identical to yours but a little longer I think.
    I was going to mention it but the owner is Swiss and his two assistants are Japanese and I figured it might take too long to explain.
    However, I can now see how important a good lesbian stick could be.
    I guess I need one and I will make enquiries around town.
    Keep up the good work.

  12. Sister Wolf says:

    fashion herald -Yeah, that was a memorable one. Try the film; it’s really good.

    Andra – This is wonderful news!!!!!!!!!! Some lesbian somewhere might be forlorn, but I think the stick was meant for you! Send me a photo and I will post it! xo

  13. Possessed is a really good documentary I think. Sensitive and moving.

  14. Crystal says:

    Hi, My roomate is a hoarder. I’ve been trying to research ways to help her.
    She just doesn’t feel secure unless our living space is cluttered. I’ll help her clear everything out, and tidy up, but within a few days she’s got the place right back to where it was. When she lived by herself her place was pretty scary, pretty gross.
    Even still, our place manages to get downright unsanitary with two geriatric cats who forget where the litter box is, and a roomie who saves bags, flyers, shops compulsively and never throws anything out. Every counterspace is full of junk, I can’t even cook in the kitchen without doing an hour of cleanup first. Seriously, when she feeds her cats, she saves the tins. Which wouldn’t be so bad if she rinsed them out, but they just sit, until I pick them up and throw them out when she is not home. Our place smells like cat litter and food that’s gone bad, and I literally can’t keep up with the cleaning. I’d leave, but I love her and worry about her health. At first I thought she was just a slob, but the more I see her habits, I’m convinced that she’s a hoarder.

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