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Good morning alstroemeria!

I had to interrupt composing this response because my newest cat insisted on sitting at the keyboard and wouldn't move despite my firm insistence that I was trying to write. She's now in the (messy) bedroom.

So I think I have hoarding tendencies, just not the aspect of bringing known unusable items into the house.

A very important point here is what different people consider "usable." Some of the literature I have read about the motivations of hoarders is that we tend to believe that many things we have are actually useful, not just usable. This might be a bigger factor for hoarders who collect things they find outside and bring it home. Or that we put too high of a value on various possessions (for myself, I like books and periodicals, or various boxes of files and paperwork from my work and personal history).

I pitched a fit when DH got rid of bath towels before our last move. Just like the hoarders I see on TV when their helpers get rid of stuff.

One of my beliefs is that there are many more possible hoarding situations that are prevented because of environment and social structure potential hoarder. I think either "perfect storm" type of circumstances, or for some a triggering event (actual, or emotional/mental), can turn very frugal* people into hoarders. For those like myself and similar, there may be clear and evident long-term contributing factors to becoming a chronic hoarder.

For context, each of my two ex-husbands were much cleaner and neater than I was though knowing how bad I am now, does not say much. My first ex-husband is almost OCD in being clean and neat. Though I collected and filed all types of things, at least my boxes and piles were well organized and neat. My second ex-husband was more of your average type of guy that wasn't particularly neat, but knew how to do housework when necessary (usually a weekly, or twice a month whirlwind of quick cleaning). With my XH#2, he had the habit of throwing away my things without asking/letting me know in advance (which also started quite a few volcanic fights). Right or wrong, one of my issues with him was disposing (or a few times, trying to "organize") of my things because he thought things were useless, or disgusting. On the other hand, one time when I tried to throw away one of his plastic soda cups (something from a fastfood chain from years before) that was difficult to clean and had food encrusted in crevices, he immediately starting screaming in my face.

With my XH#1, though he encouraged me to get rid of things, he never crossed the line of destroying or disposing of my things without my direct involvement and consent. His main rule was just to keep my things clean and neat, which I did (with his help doing all the other domestic cleaning and upkeep). Though different forms, I think we each had types of mild compulsive behaviors which at least we respected (sometimes admired).

What I tried to express, badly, in my previous post, is that I can understand and sympathize with hoarding even though on the surface my place usually looks OK.

In re-reading your original post, I misunderstood, you did not write badly at all. I misread it and I am sorry for the misunderstanding.

I was finally able, after 6 years of 2-3 month RV trips, to throw away maybe 1/4 of the accumulated crap before we took this trip. I was saving campground maps, area activity brochures, some useless stuff that actually had cost money like butterflies of so and so county, and could still part with just a fraction. So I take it back--I do bring some absurd stuff into the house (well, I leave it in tote bags on the Rv--DH brings it into the house, where I ignore it...).

I have traveled rarely, at least compared to many on TMF, and I also tend to save all the paperwork (maps, brochures, tourist stuff, etc.) as well. An added, but not sole, incentive is if it actually cost money (adding again to the concept of over-valuing posesssions). Yet, as you, once brought into the house, I do little to maintain the quality and condition of these items, at least long term. I may put these things in a special container or place when I first get home, but months and years later, they just become like so much of the thousands of paperwork and objects I've accumulated.

Being allergic to cats, whom I adore, and indifferent at best to dogs, whom I can take in small doses if well trained, we do not have pets. I grew up with canaries and parakeets and now prefer birds un the wild.

Cats I've had on and off through most of my life, though now it is the most in terms of quantity. The dog is the first dog I've ever had on my own. Birds I have had little exposure with though I will say that one of my volunteer projects involved helping a group of volunteers clean out a disabled man's apartment (he was hospitalized for more than two months) where he had "rescued" dozens of cats and dozens of birds (including some wildlife birds as well as a few street pigeons). Cats are messy of course, but birds and their cages require a lot of handling. Helping with that man's apartment was a deliberate effort on my part and one of the experiences that I try to hold on to as a motivator for me to stay on top of my own hoarding.

I have told 3 people that I have books to send them and haven't managed to part with them yet either.

=alstro, without DH's help, maybe a 1.5 or 2?

Sadly I know very few truly literate (meaning people who enjoy quality reading for leisure) people who I can give or share my books with. I wish I knew people in real life who truly enjoy reading and thinking.

I don't know if you would be interested in reading this. Though it is awkwardly written, I posted a subsequent response on the original thread on Get Organized!. I believe that is the last response on that thread, not sure if some of my half-formed theories make sense.

Lois Carmen D.

* "frugal" as defined:
1. economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful
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