Home Forums Before and After Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

This topic contains 22 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of repete repete 3 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #158628
    Avatar of ArtGal
    ArtGal
    Member

    I was just wondering about this because of personal experiences. When I was a massive clutter-collector, I had an issue with trying to be in control of everything and everybody (and really wasn’t.) By “control” I mean…taking on the responsibilities of anyone that would allow, being the event coordinator for everything, making sure everything was done the “right” way by anyone involved, helping everyone with everything, etc. As I have been working on the de-cluttering, I have let go (or worked out) of this need to control. I think this is a wonderful thing…and was curious as to whether anyone else has had (or is having) this same outcome.

  • #167034
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    For me it was more about loss.

  • #167036
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I think it varies from person to person. I would say that my hoarding is more because I always felt like I did not have much, so held onto whatever I could even if it was not really of value. It is a bit of a control issue now that I think of it, but in a different way than yours. But trying to find out what is making you hoard, or hold onto items you don’t need is a great way to trying to work on the problem.

  • #167039
    Avatar of Nina
    Nina
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Interesting post, because for me in a way it’s the other way round. When I find things in my life being ‘out of (my) control’ that is when I most feel the need to tidy and streamline my home, because here I AM in control. The most difficult part for me in regard to clutter is to get started in the first place.

  • #167040
    Avatar of suzjazz
    suzjazz
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Interesting theory. I think, from what I have observed, that hoarders deal with both control issues and feeling out of control. I helped BF clean out his mom’s house after she died, and it was clear that she was a hoarder (this was 9 years ago and I didn’t know the name for the condition) because there was 5 year old frozen meat in the freezer, dozens of cans of expired food, piles of every magazine that ever came into the house, collections of plastic bags carefully folded, hundreds of rubber bands and jars, as well as tons of useless objects. She wasn’t a Level 5–you could walk through the house–but she had symptoms. She exerted a lot of control over BF and guilt-tripped him constantly about not visiting enough. She also had psychological problems, depression or possibly schizophrenia. She hid things all over the house–we found an envelope containing over $1000 in cash in a closet. In recounting her story, I don’t want to give the impression that I am somehow superior. I realized not long ago that it is a very fine line between collecting and accumulating things and hoarding. I could step over that line at any time. I am a control freak and have worked for years on this with a therapist. I think that somehow because I have all my stuff organized that I am not hoarding, but who’s to say? I am in the process of purging my home of stuff–I throw away or give away several bags of stuff every week–and it has not required an intervention by a psychologist to do this, so I guess I don’t have a severe problem.

  • #167088
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    The people in my own life I think of as hoarders, they really struggle with it the way some people struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. When everything is going fine they can keep the accumulation/disorder under control but when something else goes wrong, they lose it. Though, isn’t the illusion of control one of the problems of addiction, too?

    For me, it’s about really growing into the changes in my life – first, when we bought the house, figuring out which household stuff really fits here and discarding the rest, including some furniture & curtains I really loved that just didn’t work for this space. Then with the baby (now 5) there were a few years when I didn’t really do most of my hobbies – but now I’m really able to sort out what I can still do (rollerblading is coming back; backpacking is coming back; daily gym sessions and long trips living out of a backpack aren’t; knitting I will do, but not sewing, and I’m done with writing and performing poetry.)

    I’m glad I didn’t just jettison everything during the years of having a very young child and no time to myself, but this last year I’ve really been able to cull a lot of the “old me” stuff.

  • #167108
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I think control definitely plays a part. Back in my worst cluttery days, having a lot of Stuff gave me a sense of ownership and groundedness that I wasn’t getting from anything else. During that same period, I was hanging onto a job that was very bad for me just because it paid very well. I was miserable, and I spent every cent (and more). Eventually I realized that I could not fix that situation, and I up and left.

    And that, looking back, clearly marks the point at which I gave up the notion of accumulating and keeping hold of things, because doing that had NOT given me the peace or comfort or freedom that I wanted. I’ve had a fairly tumultuous few years since, and am now settling into a new stability, and finding the baseline of what I actually need.

    Which has much more to do with time and space than with Stuff.

  • #167118
    Avatar of HappyDogs
    HappyDogs
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I’m with Nina, I think the both hoarders and those who order-to-excess are attempting to control their lives by controlling their environment.

    That’s why I tend to object to some of the site WOW posts — a few of the workspaces are so minimalistically free of, well, anything, that it begins to set off my radar.

    Like everything else in life, moderation is key.

  • #167134
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I think I’m like Nina, in that if something goes wrong, bugs me, or I’m just plain mad about something, into the kitchen I go to start tidying up. Cripes, what’s up with that? Order and cleanliness soothe me? I guess it’s better that eating everything in the kitchen.

  • #167138
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    since i decluttered and am now in militant maintenance mode, i find myself over-examining my husband’s purchases….
    and he is not a man who has to have a lot of “stuff”.
    so, i better get a handle on that and back off a little.

  • #167145
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Heh, Bandicoot, me too – well, I’m not as far along as you, but I have to watch myself because it’s so much easier to focus on my partner’s stuff. Also he is very messy – I spend all day following him around picking up socks, turning off lights, etc. So it’s easy to do that and not get to the part that’s mine, which is sort of a deeper layer.

  • #167146
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    omg are we having the exact same relationship?
    my dh is messy, but i am the one with the clutter problem.
    yep, his is surface stuff ; he’ll buy an extra t-shirt and leave his coffee cup lying around; but i am the one who says, o hey, let’s buy nine hundred new towels.
    not that i do that any more. but the tendency is there.

  • #167148
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Totally. We’re finally nearly at book parity but it’s only because I took basket after basket of books to the used book store and learned to donate most right after I read them. We’re nowhere near equal on clothes. (we each have a bureau, but we share a closet and it’s 75% mine. And my socks are in his bureau.)

    Though, does yours just use whatever “tool” is closest to hand when he’s doing something? I have nice teatowels my grandmother made, packed away because the man can’t learn the difference between the rag bin and the kitchen towel drawer and I know if he wiped bike grease on one of these I’d have to leave him. I keep thinking, do I really want to keep these if I can’t use them? And the answer is yes, but I would rather have them out. Also half our butter knives are crimped on the end because he couldn’t bother to go get a screwdriver or chisel (we’ve been remodeling our kitchen for going on 2 years, now.)

  • #167150
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    o rosa….i have had to ruthlessly train this one.
    i got my claws on him when he was 19 and that was 21 years ago and it is a work in progress still.

    we use loads of torn up old towels in our workshop and he uses them for EVERYTHING now.
    even for drying dishes. and champagne flutes.
    and i have a stack of beautifully ironed pure irish linen tea towels.
    so, he has gone the other way.
    which isn’t quite as annoying.

  • #167155
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Well, we’ve only been together 10 years. Maybe in 11 more I’ll be able to have my tea towels out, then :)

  • #167162
    Avatar of ArtGal
    ArtGal
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    @ Rosa and Bandicoot…funny funny :) About twenty years ago my sweet hubs decided to use my good pinking shears to cut a piece of aluminum sheeting (I don’t know why and don’t WANT to know why.) So I took him to the fabric store to spend a “fun-filled” two hours as I perused the selection of scissors for just the perfect pair to replace the now ruined ones…I tested pair after pair asking his opinion on each one of course. :) I picked out THE most expensive pair…and then we spent another hour and a half looking at fabric….WHEEEEEEEEE! Lets just say that he pretty much leaves my tools alone now. Maybe you could take yours tea-towel shopping?! :) Hee. Hee.

    Oops…does that fall under the “control” thing? ;)

  • #167164
    Avatar of ArtGal
    ArtGal
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    P.S. I still have the same pinking shears!

  • #167187
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    the pinking shears, hmmm, that is something my father would do.
    and something my husband would have done twenty years ago.
    totally.

  • #167194
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I’ve been thinking about this control thing, and Tball’s post, and what we’ve seen watching Hoarders where, if the rest of the family defends some amount of space with real consequences the hoarder can keep the hoard confined (the one family where the mom apparently said if the dad junked up the daughter’s room, they’d all leave him).

    And of course every hoard has limits – most of us have personal limits on what we’ll let clutter take up, hoarder have no personal limits but they have various external boundaries (if only the legal limits of their own property).

    Seriously, the only practical solution I’ve ever seen work is just defining some amount of space as not belonging to the messy person. The messiest people I know don’t mess up communal space if there’s negative consequences. So how does that work with the control stuff?

  • #167198
    Avatar of mugwump
    mugwump
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    @Rosa, that’s not control, that’s setting boundaries so you’re not controlled by someone’s else’s stuff. My husband has three times as much stuff as I do, but I defend my empty spaces, sometimes by putting something there as a placeholder, sometimes verbally. Luckily, he is very good about keeping common areas clear.

  • #167203
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    Yeah, it’s firm boundaries on the *other* person’s side, but from the cluttery person’s side, what is it?

  • #167216
    Avatar of atul4
    atul4
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be
    sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with
    everyone.

    World Travel France

  • #167235
    Avatar of repete
    repete
    Member

    Is Being a Hoarder (or Clutter Collector) a Control Issue?

    For me, I think un-clutterering is about control. During the most stressful periods of my life, I found that all I could control were my possessions. That’s when I starting tossing stuff. I might not have been able to fix my circumstances, but that faded T-shirt, old record, well I could get rid of them!

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