Declutter, or Hoarding WILL Happen…

I am extremely humbled; a psychotherapist friend in Bristol in the UK asked me to be a contributor for her practice’s website. My first article is available to read here. I shall write for her as required, from my own perspective as someone with depression, on various topics. It is a tremendous privilege to be part of a project like this, knowing that my stories may help others who are struggling.

As I was writing the published article, it got me thinking about other aspects of lockdown and how they’ve affected me.

I said to Eliza the other day that I am starting to hoard stuff, and it is scary. I know that hoarding is linked to certain mental illnesses, including depression.  To quote a short excerpt from an article I found online: “The term hoarding refers to a psychological disorder whereby an individual refuses to discard things that they own. The person holds a firm belief that they will eventually need these items for some reason.”

I’m not remotely close to the level that some people on the reality shows are. Many of them are extremely ill; hoarding is a disease. With that said, it’s not that I refuse to discard things, but I do think I may eventually need them (or that I’ll fit into them again), or I have a sentimental attachment to them, like the foil balloon Eliza, Nathan, and Carmen gave me for my 40th birthday. It’s still not gone flat, and yes, I still have it. Another thing I still have is my matric shirt; the one everyone signed when we graduated high school. It’s yellowed with age, the penned notes have faded and to be honest, I don’t remember half the people who left me a message. Like the balloon, there is a happy, although hazy memory attached. Both the balloon and the shirt are in the one spare room of the cave, along with a lot of other stuff I haven’t used in years. I do dust and polish in there regularly, but it would admittedly take less time if I would just get rid of some of the stuff.

One thing I have many of is glasses – water ones, hi-balls, champagne flutes, tumblers, and more. I have a mad fascination with a beautiful glass, yet, I hardly every use the ones I have. To give you an idea, I found a box of glasses and a jug in the garage, the box still sealed with the factory tape. I don’t remember buying them, but I know the reason I did is because I never knew I would move into a furnished place; I would have needed glasses in my home.

Another thing I tend to hoard are bath salts and the like. I have boxes of lotions, soaps, body scrubs, and bubble baths, which I’ve received as gifts. While I am not a person that is big on body lotions, I feel bad to regift them to someone else. What if they find out? So instead, I keep them, unlikely to ever use them myself.

I know though that the longer I leave it, the worse it is going to become. That adage about eating an elephant bite by bite is how I started to motivate myself. Yesterday I tidied my office a bit. I was surprised to see that my desk is indeed made of wood and not paper maché. I am quite proud of my achievement.

Let’s hope the uncluttered desk continues into the weekend because The Cave is getting full. Lockdown has made me lazy and most of my clothes seem to have shrunk for some unknown reason. Even if I get the snug-fitting clothes into a bag and to the charity shop it will be a win. Alternatively, I shall advertise all the stuff on Facebook and see if I can turn the ‘trash’ into treasure, whether cash, or something I genuinely need.

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