I used to be a hoarder.
In fact, I talked about my multiple efforts to minimize my things here, here, and here. It took me 3 years to actually let go of about 60% of my stuff and another year to get rid of 20% more. Now, I have about 20% of the amount of stuff that I used to own and I have never felt better.
To help someone out there who may be having a hard time letting go, here are 10 lessons / tips / thoughts that I have about being an ex-hoarder.
1. You hoard because you are actually filling up an emotional void. Hoarding makes you feel like you are in control of things and that the more stuff you have, the more you have in life. This is not the case.
People who hoard will never stop hoarding until they actually address the real issue that they are hiding from or running away from.
2. Hoarding is an addiction. It's hard to stop and your mind is always on default between the following:
- but I might need this someday ...
- I'll use this one day.
- What if it runs out of stock?
- It's on sale!
- It was really expensive. I can't just let it go.
3. Hoarding wastes a lot of resources. I used to have too much of everything. Make up, skin care, clothes, bags, shoes, arts and crafts. I had too much of everything.
Since I had too much of things, I ended up not using a lot of them. I wasted so much make up, skincare items, bath essentials, and even bags and shoes.
Makeup expires within 6 months to 24 months. Please don't hoard this. It is the same with lotion and moisturizers. The temptation to try so may things is great but try to use up what you have first before buying another. There's this wonderful sense when you empty a bottle or pan.
4. Hoarding does not just take up physical space. It takes up mental space and that affects your overall psyche. You might think it's just physical space but our physical space has a lot of effect on our mental health.
When a house is too crowded, there's not enough air or light that gets in. You also need to always navigate around your clutter and the possibility of constantly looking for things is huge. This causes more stress.
5. When you have too many clutter around you, things that you don't use, love, or want, it lowers your creativity as well as your productivity. When there's less distraction around you, you can channel your energy on things that actually matter.
6. When you hoard, you spend money on things that you will never use, never enjoy for more than a moment, and will only add to the clutter in your home. When you finally learn to stop hoarding and just buy what you need or truly love AND will use, you will be able to save money.
7. When you stop being a hoarder, your entire well being improves. You will find that you will smile more, sleep better, and overall feel better.
8. You realize how much you really have the moment you de-clutter and stop hoarding. I recommend shopping your stash. I promise that the amount of items you have will blow your mind.
9. You gain more time. Now that you don't need to navigate your way around your clutter or spend time looking for lost treasures or items, you will have more time doing things that you actually love.
10. You learn to let go. When you de-clutter your hoarded stuff, you learn to let go. It will be really hard in the beginning but eventually, you learn to let go of the following:
- things that belong in the past
- things that have no real value
- things that someone gave you but you don't really love
- things that were handed down to you but you don't really want
- things that you have outgrown
- things that no longer matter
- things that are in excess
- things that are just there because it's expensive
Even if you have a mansion, hoarding is not a good thing to do. It affects your physical space by causing more dust, dirt, and insects to house in your place. It affects your mental health because it adds more stress and wasted time. It affects the Earth because you will waste more than 80% of what you have. You should buy only what you need.
Lastly, it will affect your finances because you will buy and buy but not end up using things. Wasted resources, wasted money.
I hope that this helped someone choose to not hoard anymore.