Hoarding and places I’ve been this week

Salon.com has a lot of articles and discussions right now on the A&E show Hoarders. I’ve never watched the show and am resisting (I see that it is on Netflix so it is available to me). While I find hoarding interesting I also find it so very sad. Here is an account by a woman who’s mother was a hoarder and the devastating effect it had on her family.

As Minimalism is now a buzz word so is it’s sad counterpart, Hoarding. What fascinates me is that, of the stories I have seen and read, there is an event in the person’s life that started or triggered the hoarding. In the article above, the writer’s brother was killed and her mother dealt with her grief by collecting. In the Song Dong ‘Waste Not’ exhibit that Chris and Henry and I viewed at the Art Gallery, the hoarding was both a cultural norm from living through a war and then became an expression of grief from a death. Obviously, buying and collecting are ways people cope with stress and emotion. It’s a good reminder to me to be non-judgmental of those that do collect and own lots of things. My way of dealing with stress might be a slice of chocolate cake, their way of dealing with stress might be buying a third television.

Places I’ve been this Week:

I’ve been a few places this week showing off my handbag and guest posting.

Everyday Minimalist – What’s in Your Wallet Series: voyeurism at its best. EM has this running every Tuesday and she’s featured a few Minimalist bloggers already. I was happy to weigh in with what’s in my handbag. I have way too many cards in my wallet. Going to work on cutting down.

HoboMama.com – Car-less with Kids: this is one of the best website names I’ve come across in a long time. Hobo Mama writes about natural and attachment parenting with the occasional delicious stuffed mushroom recipe. I was excited to guest post about living the car-free life with kids. Also loved reading the comments from people in Israel and NYC and how it’s the norm to not own a vehicle there.

Authentic Parenting – Minimalist Parenting: Can you raise minimalist kids? I hope so. Many thanks to Authentic Parenting for letting me guest post about my plans to raise Henry with less stuff. This is a very interesting blogger that is on the road with her family: they have lived in four countries since their daughter was born and are currently living in West Africa. Inspiration for when we some day get some extended out of country time.

Have a great weekend and remember to unplug!

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  • I have only watched snippets of the show “hoarders,” but would love to see a show called “minimalists”….anyone into TV production??? :)

    • That’s a fantastic idea! Anything to start reaching the mainstream and getting the idea out there that you don’t need so much stuff to live a fantastic life.

      Rachel, loved your post too on Authentic Parenting, we have such similar backgrounds with the “path to minimalism”. You’re so lucky you have a brother already on board though. My family is pretty much average consumers and have said the same thing “you just wait and see, your kid will want stuff and you will buy it for them”…. I’m pretty stubborn though =).

      • I heard about a show shooting locally that is about reducing stuff in your home. And I am sure there are some organizing shows. I’m way more interested in parting with things than I am with putting them in order.

        Thanks, FrugalVeganMom. You get a lot of ‘just you wait and see’ as soon as you get pregnant. Tell people you want to go without drugs? Just you wait and see, you’ll be screaming for an epidural. I guess it never ends because then you get it about how you are/will raise your kids. I’m trying to ‘be the change’ so to speak and get away from judging/comparing. Just doing what’s right for us and not worrying about what others do or what they think of our choices. It’s hard.

        Hope you are feeling great in the home stretch =)

  • We find Hoarders mesmerizing. As for triggers, one woman had been unemployed and had to go to a food bank. She has since begun hoarding food and can’t let it go. She had food that was literally years old.

    It is definitely a sad show, but I think a lot of people are using it as inspiration to get rid of their own clutter. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is helping real hoarders. For one, most don’t realize they are hoarders. My mom doesn’t think my sister would benefit from the show, she thinks she would have a negative reaction. And my sister is definitely a hoarder. It drives me nuts. It can be hard to remember that there is a reason, a trigger, for this behavior. And also that it becomes wired in their brains to live like that.

    • I read about a psychologist that runs group therapy for hoarders here in Vancouver. The psychological side of it is very real – these aren’t just people with collecting habits.
      Hope your sister gets help.

  • Hi Rachel,

    I’m likewise interested in, and saddened by, hoarding – also, just fascinated by the psychological compulsions that drive it. Very interesting that you mention hoarding as a way of expressing grief after a death – I just wrote about the role of holding onto material possessions after the death of a loved one on my blog (only my third post! it’s still my new baby 😉 )…

    Anyway, keep up the awesome work and inspiring writing!

  • Hoarding is so sad – especially because it’s usually triggered by a tragic event. I use to watch the show as “inspiration” to declutter but it’s too depressing!

    • Yes, from the articles I’ve read these people need a lot more than a few trips to the Salvation Army.
      My city recently put together a hoarding task force. It’sbecome a public health and safety concern.

  • I’m in the same boat with Hoarders, where I found it very interesting to understand my own compulsive habits and also those of my family (particularly my in-laws), but at this point I feel like I’ve watched enough where it just saddens me. Especially because I keep wanting my in-laws to get this kind of help and have the breakthroughs they need, but they see themselves as far removed from the type of people the Salon article describes, who have rats coming out of the woodwork.

    Thanks again for your wonderful guest post — it’s sparked a lot of discussion, both on the blog and on Facebook and Twitter. It’s also inspired me to walk more just these last few days, so thank you! Also glad you like my blog name! :)

    • Thanks for letting me guest post! Great to get connected to other families living without cars. I want to hear more about the family trike. Glad you were inspired. It can get pretty wet walking places in the PNW but I still love it.

      Is hoarding a generational thing? I’ve heard a lot from friends that parents or in-laws that are in their 60’s to 70’s are hoarders. It’s sad. And frustrating. But if they don’t think they have a problem there’s not much you can do for them.

      Thanks again!

  • I have watched the show and it’s fascinating. I find it a little scary that most people who are hoarders were able to live very normal lives until tragedy hit. It makes me realize that it could happen to me. And it really is no way to live!

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