Being Attached to Things

It’s most likely no coincidence that as I’m changing up my career-path to help to reflect a more compassionate and serving role as a life coach and grief counselor…that I’m finding mental illness is running in my family.  I suspect that I’ll take further counseling courses along the way. It makes good sense.

I have a family member who is a hoarder. He adamantly denies this but reality and hard facts beg to differ. Moving him over the past few weeks (getting his new place prepped, etc.) has proved to be quite a challenge. Now, he’s a mild case so there are no immediate health issues or danger to him or anyone, but trying to squeeze a 4-bedroom home which consists mostly of junk into a 2-bedroom home isn’t a lot of fun.

People get frustrated, angry and even sad/upset as he insists he NEEDS all the stuff he has. One does not need left over salt and pepper packets (that are God only knows how old) from fast food orders. One does not need old cassette tapes and long dead batteries from a dead video camera age. But he really does believe he ‘needs’ them because some day he ‘may’ use them. This is a disease and a mental disorder.

In reality, we need very little to survive. Our ancestors lived in caves, hunted with hand-made tools and traveled very light in search of food. Personally, I tend to purge many of my things (give them away, recycle, etc.) when I haven’t used them in a year or two. I’m not particularly attached to much that I have and never have been. I’m a perpetual mover so I’ve gotten rid of stuff due to necessity and downsizing. A few moves ago I went from 1300 sq. ft. to just under 600 sq. ft. You can imagine I really had to give it some thought as to what I wanted to keep and what I didn’t.

People who are hoarders find it impossible to part with things that they deem as absolutely essential to their life. I saw real distress on this person’s face when being chided and then persuaded to let go of the things he really should; things that needed to be disposed of. For the most part, he couldn’t do it and flat out refused.

Before my partner and I purchase a place together – hopefully in early 2017, I plan on purging a lot of things that I:  1) don’t need 2) won’t fit in the new place and 3) I can easily do without.

What are you willing to part with and what are you not?


3 responses to “Being Attached to Things

  1. While I would not describe myself as a hoarder as such, some of this entry did resonate with me,

    For instance, I have a stack of a couple hundred of DVDs that I rarely choose one from. So hardly useful. I just went though a phase where I loved collecting them. Part of me wants to get rid of them, perhaps earn some extra money too. Yet anther part of me looks over at that stack of DVDs and feels a certain amount of contentment that I have such a wide variety of films and TV shows to choose from when the opportunity arises. Like it represents a part of my own personal history.

    In your honest opinion (please don’t hold back!) do you think I should leave it be or part with it in the interest of freeing up space and using whatever I make from them to advance my future?

    • Collecting specific things as a hobby isn’t really hoarding. That said, it’s interesting just how attached to ‘things’ we can become.

      I’d ask these questions of you: how would you feel if you gave them away or sold them? Would the contentment leave altogether or simply find a new home in the extra space you’ve created or extra $$ that you’d have?

      It really boils down to ‘change’. But wonderful things can come out of change. Why not sell a few and see how you feel?

      • See that’s the thing. It was a hobby of mine a few years ago. I loved collecting films etc. Now I rarely get the time to watch any of them. I think I’d feel pretty bad if I sold all of them, but selling a few doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. I won’t deny that some extra money wouldn’t go amiss too! Thank you for the suggestion 🙂

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