Last article I highlighted signs of a potential hoarder I also said we should spend time this week finding out what we are holding on to like old clothing, Junk drawer, documents, old toiletries, makeups, broken jewellery, old underwear, broken or cracked crockery, old cards and letters, what is taking unnecessary space?
No matter what it is—a pair of jeans, a car or even a house—in that moment when an object becomes our property, it undergoes a transformation because we chose it and we associate it with ourselves, its value is immediately increased. If someone offers to buy it from us, the chances are, we want to charge much more than they are prepared to pay. This is called” Endowment effect”
It’s the reason that we have lofts, garages; “Ghana must go bags” and storage spaces full of junk with which we cannot bear to be parted from. Once we own something, we tend to set its financial value way higher than other people do.
The endowment effect is particularly strong for things that are very personal and easy to associate with the self, like a piece of jewellery from our partner. Similarly we also overvalue things we’ve had for a long time.
Greed/selfishness is the number one cause of hoarding, through greed we find it difficult to pass good sales in the shops say no to free stuff and not give out what we don’t need because we are a bit selfish… We always feel the need for more and more and never get enough of it, remember the definition of greed is an excessive selfish desire to want more than we need… applying this definition to our hoarding habits we can see it’s one of the main causes of hoarding… passing a lovely shoe, shirt, trousers etc. on a window shop even though we have 100 pairs of shoes, loads of shirts and trousers, not being able to say No to stuff even though we really don’t have the need for it…
Fear is another major causes of hoarding we fear that if we throw away or give away something it might be useful to us in the near future…and we might find it difficult to get it again.. Maybe it cost us a fortune or it took us time to get it. With this fear in mind we cease to live in the present moment when we live through the mind… past ( through memories), future(through uncertainty, dreams and wishes) we tend to hold on to things we think we might need in the future or hold on to stuff cause of some past event, when our minds are never in the present moment never in the here and now, in the there and then, we always accumulate things that will never be useful to us in our present reality.
We hold on to our clutter because they remind us of some loved ones, good times we had in the past or someone that left us. This can lead to us keeping boxes of childhood toys, photographs and mementoes, contacts. We even find it difficult to let go of people that have no value or serve no real purpose in our lives right now…. Like our past relationships. People are known to still keep close contacts with their exs even when they have moved on… when we get too attached to people or things we end up cluttering and hoarding our hearts with people and material stuff we don’t need… the issue of letting them go becomes a huge struggle and causes so much anxiety, anger and pain.
Going through bereavement letting go of items that belonged to a loved one who has died can mean facing up to our own loss and grief. We may also feel some anxiety and guilt, as if we are failing to honour a person if we let go of any of their items.
A busy lifestyle can lead to a cluttered home which can lead to hoarding simply because we just don’t get enough time to sort our belongings out or to organize efficient storage systems. A number of us feel life is too short to DE clutter, we have very busy social lives and the idea of spending time sorting our homes out is not high on our agenda.
When we define our self-worth through the things we have we find it absolutely impossible to let go of what we do not need, we are only focused on keeping what we already have and amass more and more because in our minds the external things we have define who we truly are as a person…. In a society where materialism is praised or encouraged we are mostly judged by our possessions, society does not help because we are encouraged to acquire more and more get the best new thing so we can keep up with the “Joneses”… It is a big struggle to take stock and look within to find the wealth and beauty inside ourselves….. Because of all these reasons we have a strong bond or connection to material goods and people which only births the hoarding tendencies in us.
Did you feel any of these emotions when you looked through your clutter… spend time meditate and be honest with yourself….. In Part 3 of this series we will find ways to curb our hoarding tendencies.