When I was a boy, I hoarded Stuff. I had what my parent’s called a “rat’s nest”, a closet full of the Stuff I’d gathered. Why did I hoard Stuff? Was it because we were poor and I wanted to own things? Or was it something deeper?

As I grew older, I became more discriminating. I didn’t hoard everything — just certain things. Books, especially. But it was difficult for me to throw anything away. When Kris and I moved out of our old house four years ago, I was forced to dump all the Stuff I’d been collecting in our storage shed. So many magazines — gone! It was a painful experience.

My own compulsion to hoard is minor. Martin Hampton has created a short film highlighting four excessive hoarders, people who cannot rid themselves of any of their Stuff.

In a parallel world, I could be any of these people (especially the first guy).

Hoarding appears to be linked to mental illness, usually to obsessive-compulsive disorder. This doesn’t surprise me. I’m just happy to finally be shedding the urge to hoard Stuff. (I’ve been purging my life of useless things for several months now.) If only I could figure out how to stop hoarding data…

More info:

I’ve learned that hoarding can be costly. As the film demonstrates (and as I know first-hand), it costs money to acquire the Stuff we hoard. It costs money to store it. And it costs mental and emotional energy to deal with its presence. I don’t have any solution for excessive hoarders. All I can say is please, do your best to prevent Stuff from ruling your life.

[via Andy]

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