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Hoarding

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There are only a very few people i know who intentionally, consciously, and frequently get rid of the things they don't use. Why is hoarding so common? Is it an innate practice? Or a mechansim that we developed a long time ago and we've kept using it sub-consciously? How does it serve us and our wellbing as individuals and/or species? When is it healthy and when is it pathological? What other species do we share this practice with? How and in what ways are we related/different?

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Posted (edited)

"Packrats are nest builders. They use plant material like branches, twigs, sticks, and other available debris. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance.[3] A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and "trade" it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_rat

We've all seen the funny videos of the cat(s) that steal from their owner's neighbors and end up with quite a large collection of items! But that's rare.

Our little dog steals things she finds interesting and we have to watch her, she can accumulate quite a pile when we aren't home. But her items are collected for chewing purposes.

I think of decorator crabs and one kind of hermit crab, but their collections serve a purpose too.

So the above are probably not "hoarders" I guess, they just came to mind.

Edited by QuiteContrary

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"Packrats are nest builders. They use plant material like branches, twigs, sticks, and other available debris. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance.[3] A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and "trade" it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_rat

We've all seen the funny videos of the cat(s) that steal from their owner's neighbors and end up with quite a large collection of items! But that's rare.

Our little dog steals things she finds interesting and we have to watch her, she can accumulate quite a pile when we aren't home. But her items are collected for chewing purposes.

Interesting observations! Have you noticed if your dog loses interest in the old objects?

I think of decorator crabs and one kind of hermit crab, but their collections serve a purpose too.

So the above are probably not "hoarders" I guess, they just came to mind.

As a hoarder i can tell you a purpose that's valid for all times: i might need it in the future lol. Others' purpose maybe keeping a memory of something/someone. I guess every hoarder has a very good excuse/purpose in their head.

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I tend to buy things I have a use for today tomorrow or at a future date but they each have a purpose.

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I tend to buy things I have a use for today tomorrow or at a future date but they each have a purpose.

Do they continue to have a purpose and you use them regularly?

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Posted (edited)

Except my television yerp. I will say I have some emergency supplies and crops that tend to not get used much but are for weather related events where I might need to take care of myself and those I care about for an extended period of time. I do rotate my food stores etc.

Edited by AsteroidX

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Posted (edited)

I'm friends of a man and his wife who are hoarders. They live in a mobile home and it is stacked from floor to ceiling with useless stuff. Their two back bedrooms are completely full - you can't even open the doors to these roomsanymore - you can't walk down the hallway to these bedrooms, and from the front door through the living room into the kitchen there is only a narrow pathway.

They feel insulted whenever I comment on all their collected junk, but they are very nice people.

I don't like to collect things, I don't own very much stuff I don't frequently use.

George Carlin's routine about "Stuff" is great. It's on Youtube. I'd put it here but it contains mild profanity.

Edited by StarMountainKid
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Posted (edited)

Interesting observations! Have you noticed if your dog loses interest in the old objects?

As a hoarder i can tell you a purpose that's valid for all times: i might need it in the future lol. Others' purpose maybe keeping a memory of something/someone. I guess every hoarder has a very good excuse/purpose in their head.

No, she is quite fond of all her treasures. It is we who take them away (some of them).

I guess there is a purpose in a hoarder's mind, as you've pointed out. But I guess what I meant is our dog uses all her toys regularly to chew on and certain crabs use their collections directly as camouflage, etc. and pack rats "decorate" (and I use the term very loosely, but they are obviously fond of shiny things) their nests with shiny objects? That is things don't go unused.

But I doubt the collector cat uses his stash.

@StarMountainKid, Carlin!!!

Edited by QuiteContrary

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Posted (edited)

"Their stuff is sh and your sh is stuff" LOL LOL

One of our good friends is a hoarder and I admit we call him at the end of our yard sales because we know he'll come and load up his car with what is left.

Wrong of us? Probably... Makes him happy? Seemingly.

Edited by QuiteContrary

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I think there's quite a difference between keeping things that could be useful, or even a supply of food on hand, and compulsive hoarding.

Are you guys hoarders or do you just not like to throw stuff out? The guy who takes away all the garage sale stuff sounds like one - IF he keeps it all sitting around his house in large piles that impair everyday functioning.

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A lot of professional organizers will say - "If you bring something in the house, you should take something out of the house".

Every object in your house should "earn its keep".

I get motivated to donate things to charity everytime I watch a TV show about hoarders. I can't stand the thought of living like that.

These people are mentally ill though. It's almost a form of OCD or trying to keep extreme control. But the more they try to hold on to their stuff, the more they lose control.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know if it's prevalent but it's obvious why it happens in my flat.It's too cramped.Take my kitchen for instance.It looks like the " white goods" section of Comet.So there's a microwave,two dryers,two fridge freezers,a cooker and soon to be two dishwashers.There's even a bookcase thrown in for good measure.It's so crowded the two pedal bins have took pride of place in the middle of the lino.

Then there's my clothes jostling for space with folders in a closet where the combi heater should have solitude.But Exhibit A is definetly my bedroom.There's a twin to the other bookcase,an other closet where clothes are not supposed to hang,some more books arranged like a Jenga tower and a wardrobe with loads of strange bedfellows. Like boxers and a dictionary.For a laugh I placed a sticker on it that said "stretch for comfort".As if my socks will get a chance to unwound.I'll have to say the washroom is the less cluttered place in the flat.Because all the toiletries are vying for attention with my telly.

I'm not what you call a serious hoarder though.

Edited by G Donnelly

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Possessions are nothing more than a steel chain around your neck. That we "own" something does not mean it's ours in anything more than a fragile legal sense.

I once had a large library of which I was proud, and lost it all in war.

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I think generally there are 2 types and/or stages of hoarding: collecting/buying stuff, and keeping/not getting rid of stuff. Hoarding becomes pathological when the purpose in the hoarder's mind is not realized/is not a reality.

I'm the type that keeps stuff (offline an online). I don't want to get rid of things because i believe i will need them in the future. But ever since i paid attention to this habit/behavior, i've been taking a different approach to address it. Actually two approaches: i either turn them into something else; DIY projects, so i contiue benefiting from them, or i organize them in a non-cluttered; e.g. scan papers and documents. I take these two approaches with everything that i still see some value in it. Everything else goes in the trash. It's liberating because i know i'll cross the bridge (fuure) when i get there; i can always get what i then need.

What I'm saying is: hoarding becomes a problem when it gets in the way. To keep it under control, one needs to know it (hoarding) is a means not an end, and keeps this end in check.

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I once had a large library of which I was proud, and lost it all in war.

That's painful! I'm sorry! How did you cope?

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I don't know if it's prevalent but it's obvious why it happens in my flat.It's too cramped.Take my kitchen for instance.It looks like the " white goods" section of Comet.So there's a microwave,two dryers,two fridge freezers,a cooker and soon to be two dishwashers.There's even a bookcase thrown in for good measure.It's so crowded the two pedal bins have took pride of place in the middle of the lino.

Then there's my clothes jostling for space with folders in a closet where the combi heater should have solitude.But Exhibit A is definetly my bedroom.There's a twin to the other bookcase,an other closet where clothes are not supposed to hang,some more books arranged like a Jenga tower and a wardrobe with loads of strange bedfellows. Like boxers and a dictionary.For a laugh I placed a sticker on it that said "stretch for comfort".As if my socks will get a chance to unwound.I'll have to say the washroom is the less cluttered place in the flat.Because all the toiletries are vying for attention with my telly.

I'm not what you call a serious hoarder though.

huh!

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How did human hoarding evolve?

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Posted (edited)

I once knew a MAJOR hoarder years ago when I was a kid. I snooped around her garage.

She even kept bent nails in a garage cabinet, every screw, plastic lids, etc...

This was NOT for recyclying. I asked my mom about it and she said she hardly threw out anything, and put them in drawers.

She also had boxes full of useless crap stacked, and stacked, and stacked.

She was a nice person though.

Edited by pallidin

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huh!

Was I speaking double dutch?

I was just illustrating a point that it dosn't necessary have to be OCD that's the root of the hoarding problem.There dosn't have to be a pscyological reason for every little aspect of human nature.Which is why I clearly illustrated a complete and utter issue with space and the lack thereof.But you never know when you might need these items that are clearly taking half the room up when you don't even realise you need them in the first place.That newspaper from a few days ago might advertise a job offer that you originally declined but you need the telephone number because you've hit a stumbling block with the one you applied for on the day you bought the paper.

Though there are examples that reek of OCD where the occupant is drowning in a sea of waste in a very spacious house.Though it could said that some of this stuff might have sentimental value.My visual picture of OCD despite hoarding being a stonewall example in some cases is guys arranging their toothbrushes by the colours of the rainbow.

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