Fear of Hoarding

Let me just start off by saying that I am NOT a hoarder and in fact I am the anti-hoarder. I have thrown out my children's homework when it didn't get put in their backpack quickly enough for me, and on occasion I have regretted getting rid of stuff that later on I should have kept. That said, I can go on to my post about my "fear" of hoarding.

I sell vintage items on Etsy and there are days when I feel my stuff is worthless junk. I am tempted to just toss it all away but I don't.

I watch "Hoarders" on television even though it makes my family nuts. They know after I watch Hoarders I create a lot of garbage because I literally go through a room and just throw out stuff.

Yes, I have a fear of becoming a hoarder.

I know why people hoard. It is due to a psychological issue that the person refuses to face. Sometimes it is because of a great loss in their life, a serious illness or major life regrets. Let's face it, many of us can fit into the category where we can lose it because of some stress or build-up of stress.

I get worried that I might develop an unhealthy attitude towards "stuff" although I never had that problem before. Maybe I fear that it could be genetic and knowing that it is an issue with some family members (who will remain nameless and anonymous) I get scared that it will be my fate.

All this is ridiculous of course. I have been homeless and all my possessions used to be able to fit into the trunk of my car (and it was a small car). Aside from my photos of my kids, there are no possessions that I cannot live without.

Unfortunately I am at a place in my life where "stuff" makes me money. I need money. I have been unemployed for longer than I care to admit and the bullshit temp jobs I have had have done nothing to change the dire financial circumstances I am in.

So, I have several bins of carefully inventoried and organized "stuff" (mostly acquired from others) that I present as Vintage in order to make it appealing. It sells, slowly, but it does sell.

In the meantime I have nightmares that I wake up in the morning and I cannot see my floor. I push stuff off of me and stumble through the clutter to find the bathroom. I am in shock about how my clutter-free home turned into a nightmarish collection of junk. I look around only to see piles of stuff everywhere. How did this happen? How do I get out of this nightmare???

Thankfully all I need to do is to wake up. My home is not the cluttered nightmare of my dreams. The problem is that I get so obsessed with fear that it could become my nightmare that I go crazy throwing things away. I long to have a home that is free of unnecessary and unneeded stuff.

It basically is that way but just 15 minutes of watching "Hoarders" and I go into panic mode. I know what hoarding looks like up close.

I worked a few years back trying to declutter a woman's home. She lived in what could have been a beautiful, huge old home. She gave me the excuse that because of her religion (she was Mormon) she had to stock up on certain items.

That was bullshit. The woman was a hoarder. She had probably 25 plastic cups from Taco Bell that she would wash out and save. This was just one of the weird hoarding rituals that she had.

It really was sad. Some people barely have money to buy groceries and this woman's house was filled to the brim with stuff still with tags on it.

I tried to help her but she wasn't having it. I later learned that her husband took her away for the weekend and had a cleaning crew come in while they were away to empty the house. She reacted angrily and I am sure went back to her hoarding ways.

Hoarding is an addiction that one does not get over until they get help or get tired of living that way. It is about needing to control something in your life. Why you feel such a strong need to control varies. Some find security in stuff to the extent that throwing it away causes them to have a panic attack.

I understand panic. I understand knowing that an act is irrational but it isn't enough to make me stop feeling like doing the act.

So this is why I fear hoarding. This is why I create garbage and why my family fears me watching "Hoarders". I mean I don't have much stuff and I might move on to theirs!

As long as I keep up on things my fear of hoarding will not be realized. In the meantime, I will continue my anti-hoarding. There is plenty of room in the garbage can and if it hasn't been used in a year, well, we can live without it!


  1. I googled this topic only because I thought I was losing my mind thinking this way but apparently I am not the only one out here with the same fear.
    I recall my grandmother who i still mourn 15 yrs later had hoarding tendencies. when she died we found over 5 yrs of newspapers under her bed. my sister has 100's of magazines she cant junk...inherited. My dad wont let us visit his place, i know in my heart it probably looks like the hoarding shows, it looked like 50% a hoarder show when he moved in. I organize, throw out, donate alot but i suffer from depression at times and it causes me not to complete a task i started leaving unfinished project supplies around. no xtra $ to have someone finish it for me and by the time im out of my dep cycle, i've lost interest and have another 2 months to force myself to finish it. The dep then leaves me not wanting to clean but the dust forces me to do so because i have allergies. Had no insurance for a while so had to do my own therapy. So i started watching hoarders whenever i start losing control and its like a scared straight tactic, watch one episode and freak out with anxiety and start scrubbing everything down and purging the house of unwanted stuff never mind that i do a big spring cleaning of all closets every 6 months. I just did it in April and its 5am and i just packed a bag of sweaters for good will, 2 other bags of junk trashed yesterday. However i'm an emotional compulsive shopper and sale hound. ex.) bath and body sale, i buy 6 of my fav body wash scents and have a giant size bin of bath products, hell i could not buy soap for 2 yrs and be ok. But if i feel down watch out debit card, here i come. i finally have insurance so i've decided to see a professional to deal with the underlying issues but had to vent with someone who understood. thank you for confirming im not the only one and not nuts, im terrified of becoming a hoarder. They should force dirty people to watch 24 hrs straight of the show and i bet they'd be cured, its my cure all when i get lazy and make a messy house. For the most part my place is always immaculate, white sofas should say it all and i've always had an if you havent touched it in 1 yr or its stained/broken then its garbage rule. however some stuff was neatly packed away where i wouldnt even see it, now any bins i have are clear see through types, if you dont see it you dont use it. i get the fear association with money, i think i have that too, i went from almost 6 figures to $35K to $0 in a 5 yr time span and I admit im scared not to be able to afford the things i've always had and like so i stack up when i do have $ to assure i will have those items avail. wow, writing it down makes it so surreal, yeah i need to find a dr quick, lol. Hahaha, i just read ur last statement, lol, we have the same rationale and moto in the end. Anti- hoarding all the way baby. Tomm i give unused vases and cups/plates to a family that just moved and has nothing. Hey at least i recycle the good stuff ;-) Be good my anti hoarding friend.

  2. Yay, yay yay. Ok after doing some more reading online. I've had an epiphany and gotten clarity. I read an article called when the hell did stockpiling become hoarding? the term is used so loosely now that its confused. im a stockpiler who fears becoming a hoarder due to the confusion between the two terms. woof, weight off my shoulders, but still consulting a shrink just in case and will still watch the show to make sure i keep up the place. My ex came by recently and said oh shit your house looks like normal peoples now, usually its so clean im scared to touch anything in fear i would dirty it, lol. Think i've always been ocd but the dep and low income is causing the hating to mop so now had been doing it every 2 weeks instead of every 5 days like i use to. however i've been watching hoarders this week and have been cleaning daily, lol. i'll find my happy middle ground soon but at least im getting all the grit out. next week = sofas get washed ;-)