Do you feel like the space in your home is getting smaller and smaller?
Do you use the floor as your own personal storage space?
Is your desk buried under hundreds of papers and never sees the light of day?
If you answered yes to one or more of these question then you might live with or yourself be a hoarder. For most people, like me, it’s a breaking point situation where all of a sudden you look around and realize what a mess your living space is. For others hoarding can continue for years without change and can create unsafe or unsanitary living conditions. According to the International OCD Foundation, the first case of recognized hoarding came from the poem The Inferno by Dante Alighieri in the 14th century, but has most likely been an innate tendency in humans for much longer.
I come from a long line of hoarders and noticed myself picking up these habits myself. If like me you’ve started noticing much more mess in your life than you’d like don’t fret, as . Here are some handy tips that I learned to make your life go from messy to manageable in no time flat.
Know Your Risk Factors
Since what causes hoarding is unknown it’s important to be able to identify what triggers could apply to you or your loved one. Research from the Mayo Clinic Health Center states that these can include:
⦁ Age– At around age 13 or 14 hoarding will present itself and its best to start teaching your kids early ways to manage this habit.
⦁ Family History-If, like me, you have a history of hoarding in your family then you may have grown up with it and not realized it. This could have given you a predisposition to hoard.
⦁ Stress– For some this compulsion comes after a death, divorce, or a natural disaster.
⦁ Alcohol Abuse– Alcohol abuse was a problem for more than one person in my family and their hoarding tended to come from not caring enough to clean their living space.
⦁ Social Isolation– For some being away from society can cause a tendency to hoard because of loneliness.
The Good News is that for most people hoarding is completely managable and doesn’t become a risk to their daily lives. If you or a loved one has stepped over this line then it may be time to see a doctor for professional assistance. For the rest of us here are a few things you can do, that helped me, to take control of the problem.
1. It’s Ok To Throw Away
One of the first things that you have to do is decide what needs to get thrown away. If throwing the clutter away is too much for you then donating might be a good alternative. If you donate your unused or unusable items you can sleep easy knowing they are being put to good use by someone else. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used a particular item in over a year then it might be time to get rid of it.
Now that you’ve cleared out the unnecessary its time to organize whats left. For me it was piles of clothes on the floor and a mess of books throughout my house. No matter what it is assign your belongings a space and at the end of the day make sure everything has returned to its space.
For me this is the most important step. Once you have successfully de-cluttered and organized your house then its important to start taking your bad habits and turning them into good ones. This will help prevent you from sliding backwards and ending up in the same place you started. Some of these types of habits include allotting an certain amount of time per day to clean, make immediate decisions about whether to keep mail and other small items like receipts, and waiting for a few days before buying something you see and immediately want.
Following these steps will allow you to finally take control of your bad habit and allow you to live in a cleaner, nicer space. I won’t lie and tell you it was easy because it isn’t, but in the end de-cluttering your life will lead you to become a happier person overall. Remember that while most hoarding can be gotten under control alone contact a medical professional if it gets out of hand.