CPIM 19th conference hoarders Kerala
CPIM 19th conference hoarders Kerala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a television program all about hoarders of one sort or another. Some hoard books and magazines, some ornaments of a particular type or simply ornaments of any type. Some even collect live animals, cats, dogs and other things. Whatever it is they collect it becomes habitual for the hoarder. Many of us collect things though for most what is collected is kept to a minimum. Not so for the hoarder who cannot find it in themselves to impose such limits and end up with that much clutter they can hardly move about their homes because every spare space is taken up for storage. Now I can understand why people like to collect things and for some it is simply a hobby. They may wish only to be able to admire their collection and to do that they put it on display. For the hoarder it is a different story for most of what they collect ends up hidden away under piles of other things more recently collected. That is totally pointless we must agree but for the hoarder it doesn’t register, they cannot help themselves and so the statement is meaningless to them. Some do realise but their compulsion to hoard is stronger than their will to resist and carry on as usual. For those living with a hoarder the situation can be overwhelming and often leads to marriage or relationship breakdowns. I have been in homes where a hoarder lives and the first thing I noticed in each case was the lack of space in which to move and the resulting lack of housework that gets done. Everything is covered in dust and sometimes cobwebs. Furniture creaks under the weight of articles placed upon it. Curtains (drapes) are invariably left closed and the rooms consequently remain dark and gloomy probably either to hide the fact that the room is filled to the brim with stuff or to hide the fact that it is never cleaned. The people, that is the hoarders, sometimes neglect themselves too. I really do feel sorry for them for it is not their fault they are the way they are. Often there will be an underlying reason for their behaviour, something that has driven them subconsciously to act the way they do, something they have found difficult to cope with. That could be anything from the loss of a relative, husband, wife or child, a breakdown of a relationship, a divorce or even something from their past, their childhood that they have never been able to reconcile. The hoarder needs professional help but not all get it. For some their hoarding, though a nuisance, is kept under control. It may be difficult for others to live with but they cope. I suppose there is a fine line between one who hoards and one whose hobby has overtaken them slightly to the point of being over-indulgent. For myself and being a minimalist it is hard to work in places that are overcrowded with what I see as junk. Even at home I hate too much clutter. However I live with someone who doesn’t seem to care that ‘junk’ can creep up on you unawares! E isn’t a hoarder I hasten to say but she does have a collection that perhaps should be rationalised!

Shirley Anne