Today I went to a hoarding and clutter support group. I don’t know when my hoarding started. I guess I’ve always liked “collecting” things, but this has got out of hand. I mainly hoard clothing. I now own two chests of drawers which I can barely close. I have a large wardrobe which is also stuffed with clothes. The rail is all bent and about to snap under the weight of so many clothes hanging off it. There are bags and piles of clothes sitting in my room. While some people in the support group managed to have a garage sale, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. I just filled garbage bags and large plastic containers with some of the clothes and moved them under the house. Now my problem festers away under the house for only the rodent baiter to see. I also store some of the clothes at my dad’s house (one of the good things about my parents separating!).
I seem to shop every day now, mainly online. I was even shopping during the support group. There was one day this week where I messaged over twenty people on Facebook Marketplace about items of clothing. My inbox was exploding as everyone replied.
My clutter pisses my mum off and I hate it as well. I don’t like to think of myself as materialistic. It’s embarrassing. It’s Christmas every day now. I’m worried the postie knows me by now. My friend came over the other day and we were looking for something. She opened my wardrobe and I cringed. She didn’t say anything. I don’t know what she thinks of me now. Sadly someone in the support group said he’s lost many relationships to his hoarding. We all avoid having people round to our house.
Most people who hoard have experienced trauma. Many speak of loss and also deprivation early in life. Hanging onto things for difficult times like famine and winter is inbuilt into us, and it’s as if this natural safety strategy has got out of control. Clutter also forms a wall, quite literally. We feel safe behind the wall. For me, I feel the clothes fill a void in my life. In my post on depression I talk about how life has got emptier and emptier. Often I shop out of plain boredom. I probably get a rush of dopamine whenever I find cool things and it gets a bit addictive. One person in my shopping addiction group who’s also been a drug addict said it’s just as bad. I keep telling myself that this will be the last thing I buy for a while, but soon enough I’m browsing again. Many people can’t stop even when they don’t have the money. They’re in debt, they’re lying to their partner and their marriage is falling apart.
I also feel that this sense of being trapped may be behind my hoarding. I need to have options, and I need to know an item is there in case I need it. It is distressing to get rid of something and then want it later but it’s gone. It’s a similar feeling to when I have lost important relationships and I have no way of contacting this person again. I managed to part with a dress a little while ago, but recently found a jacket online I thought would go perfectly with it. I then regretted giving the dress to an op shop. I searched all my boxes and bags under the house in case I’d kept it but I couldn’t find it. In the end I actually did a good job calming myself down. I told myself that I have way cooler dresses than that one.
I do get emotionally attached to my belongings, and experience their loss like the loss of a person. I hope this post gives you a little bit of insight into people who hoard. The irony is that I buy all these clothes but I don’t actually wear them as I never go out. I just sit at home in my pyjamas all day. The only time I really wear them is when I go to appointments. I have no life. I keep buying more and more, but there are times I ask myself what does it even matter, I’ll probably die soon anyway. I’ll probably get cancer from all the time I spend on the computer and the radiation from it.