Some people simply don’t have what it takes to get rid of things that are no longer functional or don’t serve a purpose. From outdated machinery to magazines and newspapers that were never read in the first place and probably never will be, there are so many things that the stereotypical hoarder believes will one day find a use. Unfortunately for those suffering life with a hoarder, it is perfectly obvious that these things will never get used and are simply taking up space needlessly. If you are looking for ways to survive life with a hoarder, there are some things you can do to make life a whole lot easier on yourself.
Why These ‘Possessions’ Are So Important to the Hoarder
Before even thinking about ways to reduce the clutter by ridding your home of all those unnecessary things lying about, the first thing you need to do is understand the psychology of a hoarder. According to clinical psychologist and author, Linda Blair, the hoarder’s identity is somehow intertwined with all those possessions. Quite often a child is never afforded the opportunity to express himself or herself as a child.
As a result, those possessions are seen as an extension of one’s self and that’s why they become so vitally important. By throwing away things you see as disposable, it’s like telling the hoarder that he or she is also disposable. The best way to handle a hoarder is with kid gloves. Don’t harp on the fact that those items are useless because you will inadvertently be telling him/her that she is useless and that is not the case at all!
Finding a Happy Medium
What you can do to satisfy both the hoarder’s need to hold onto those possessions and your need to reduce clutter is to find a way to keep many of those items, but somewhere tucked out of site. For example, if you live in Quebec you might want to seek out the affordable storage options Montreal has available for home and condo owners who simply don’t have enough room to store items not currently in use. In this way you are telling your personal hoarder that those possessions are, in fact, important but there is a better way to keep them ‘safe’ until they are needed (which will most likely be never!)
Learn from the Old Adage about Change
You have probably heard it said countless times that you can’t change anyone else. You can only change yourself. This is what you need to assimilate when living with a hoarder. The psychological need to hold onto all those items may be so great that there is no way to talk the other person into parting with them. What you can do is learn to accept that person’s instinct to hoard and learn to cope with it. You may be able to get the other person to let you store those items in question, but never, ever, try to dispose of anything without first discussing the possibility with your loved one.
If you want to survive life with a hoarder, you will most likely need to change the way you look at things but chances are slim that you will be able to convince the other person to part with those cherished possessions. Find alternative ways to keep them out of sight but don’t summarily dispose of them. To do so might signal the end of a relationship. It’s not that he/she values those things more than you, but simply that those things are seen as a part of who that person is. Once you understand that you can learn to live with a hoarder.