Often, hoarders have a real mental block about getting rid of things because we spent money on them. It seems that getting rid of them now is a waste of that original money and that the only way for it to not have been a waste is to keep the item.
The problem is, if we’re not benefiting from the product, it’s not doing us any good to keep it, even if it cost us a lot of cash in the first place.
One way to tackle this is to sell these things, rather than donate or trash them. This video with Donna Smallin Kuper looks at how to declutter for cash and, even though Craigslist isn’t used much here in the UK, there are some great ideas here.
Some very wise and pertinent words from Greg Denning
There are lots of different possible tactics to use to declutter our homes. This video by Brittany Taylor makes some suggestions:
- Pack everything you own into boxes. Take things out as you use them. After a pre-determined period of time, you can safely get rid of what’s still in the boxes, because you haven’t used that stuff for 3 / 6 / 12 months.
- Pick an area of the home to work on – a room, or a piece of furniture. Set a schedule and commit to working on it.
- Just dive in and take it all on!
As with a lot of decluttering advice, these techniques aren’t perfectly suited for full-on hoarders. However, as is so often the case, there are tips and tricks we can use and adapt to suit our circumstances. I think the first idea, above, is a particularly useful one to reassure us that we really don’t necessarily need all 80 of our teacups.
Ok, it’s overly simplistic and doesn’t take into account the emotional attachments that hoarders have to their belongings BUT if you’re stuck for ideas on where to start with your decluttering efforts, this video from BuzzFeed might just be what you need to push you into action.
Ok, this is pretty hilarious. And it hits the spot… “They fill the void… you know, stuff…”
If there’s one massive thing I’ve learned in this dehoarding journey so far, it’s to start with the easy stuff.
When I have a torn cardboard box that I know will be of no use whatsoever, I don’t have much difficulty getting my head round why that has to go into the trash.
When I have an empty food wrapper, I have no difficulty getting my head round why that has to go into the trash.
But what’s interesting is that the more tricky items – perhaps things that are pretty but not especially useful, or things that I don’t like the look of but have some nostalgic element – are getting easier to deal with, the more of this I do.
So, if you’re feeling disheartened, if you feel that you’ll never be able to get rid of the really hard stuff because you really can’t deal with your 12 identical saucepans, don’t panic. Go easier. Find a piece of blatant trash and deal with that instead. Because the longer you do this for, the easier it will be to get rid of 10 of those 12 identical saucepans.
But don’t fret about that. In the meantime, just go with the things that do feel easy. The rest will come, in time.
Some of this is a bit basic, but it’s good to be reminded…
I read a lot about decluttering and hoarding and minimalism and simplicity and all of that stuff, in the hope of finding the magic trick I need to get this hoard out of my house and having a home that looks normal.
If I could, I’d skip the advice that was aimed at people with ‘a bit of clutter’ and focus on advice for those of us with significant hoards, but there just isn’t enough of that available. So, I look at the tips and guidance aimed at people with a few more items of clothing or kitchen equipment than they need, and try my best to apply them in a way that suits my problem.
The thing that provoked this post was hearing some advice about throwing out / giving away one item a day. I understand this as a concept – it feels manageable and consistency is important.
But if a hoarder gets rid of one item a day, it will take them about 480 billion years* to have a tidy home (*may be a slight exaggeration).
So, can advice like this be translated in a way that hoarders can relate to? I guess my goal of getting rid of 100 bags of stuff a month is a seriously super-sized version of one item a day, so the principles of consistency and making continual progress are still there.
Perhaps that means that we can take advice for ‘normal’ people and adapt and apply it in a way that’s more realistic for us. I hope so.