Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where do I start to dehoard? Pt 4 - Too many categories.

When I first started blogging, I tried listing everything I'd gotten rid of in the side bars. I realized I was getting totally overwhelmed, and something needed to change. I had such a problem categorizing that I couldn't seem to sort things into only large categories like 'donations' or 'trash'. I would spend several minutes trying to figure out which category an action or item fit best, and before I knew it 45 minutes had gone by, and I still wasn't done recording my discards.

I would list the categories that I'd dealt with during that particular day. If I donated things, I listed them according to what the items were: toys, (subcategories being educational, just plain play toys, sentimental, or vintage toys), clothes, (with subcategories of children's, women's, men's or baby clothes), and then I even sorted the trash in my sidebars into several categories. And if I got busy and forgot a day? Yeah. That wasn't acceptable. I would sit and wrack my brain for 20 minutes trying to remember everything that I'd accomplished for the day I'd forgotten to list in the first place. 

It was completely stressing me out, so I removed the lists and decided I'd try to list what I'd gotten done every day instead. But I soon found that I was mentally trying to sort the things I'd finished each day, so I could list them in a certain order on the sidebars. It was never enough to just say I'd accomplished a lot and leave it at that. It was was stressful and so time consuming that I realized I had to stop. The sorting was getting the best of me once again, and I knew I had to delete it all. 

I find that I slip into the pattern of sorting things into too many categories quite often. It makes things incredibly difficult at times, but I've been working on changing things.

The most important thing is for me to be aware of what is happening at the time. The moment that I notice that I'm falling into the same pattern of behavior that led me down that destructive road I travel so frequently, I put on the brakes. I stop myself the moment I notice what I'm doing. 

I ask myself what I can do to categorize things into fewer groups. Which categories can I eliminate altogether? What do the smaller categories have in common with one another? Which similarities overlap? Do they overlap enough to combine them into one category and sort them that way, instead of making things harder for myself? 

When I can, I eliminate the categories completely, like I did on the sidebar with the lists of my daily accomplishments. Or like I did so long ago when I got rid of all the different colors and styles and decided to keep only the white shirt hangers and black pants hangers, so I didn't go through the tiring ritual of sorting them each time I walked by.

Being mindful of what I'm doing is definitely the most important thing I can do when I find myself struggling with a glitch in my thinking. It takes practice to recognize when I'm in that continual loop of thought that gets me nowhere, but it's worth the work I'm putting into it. 

It's getting me closer to living the life I imagined for myself. 


  1. My goodness. How... limiting. Crippling. But every time you write about something like that, every time you stop and LOOK at what's in your head? You win a skirmish.

    And you're going to eventually win every single battle and be declared the victor.

    You're amazing.

  2. PS... did you get the furnace fixed?


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