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Hoarder Could Do With Some GTD

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  • Hoarder Could Do With Some GTD

    I just saw this documentary about a guy who hoards huge amount of stuff in his home:

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/o...ve-hoarder/4od

    As a GTDer I could see a lot of similarities between his cluttered up house and the classic overstuffed draw that can be found in lots of offices and homes. Just exaggerated a million times.

    The doctor came to visit the guy and told him he had a psychological condition. I don't know if anyone can say that for sure but it seems there is a very fine line between a museum curator and a hoarder.

  • #2
    Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
    The doctor came to visit the guy and told him he had a psychological condition. I don't know if anyone can say that for sure but it seems there is a very fine line between a museum curator and a hoarder.
    It *is* a psychological condition. At the moment hoarding is listed as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it is likely that in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders it will be listed as a separate disorder. And I think there's a big difference between a museum curator and a hoarder - a museum curator knows exactly where everything is and takes good care of it, whereas a hoarder cannot possibly do that.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
      As a GTDer I could see a lot of similarities between his cluttered up house and the classic overstuffed draw that can be found in lots of offices and homes. Just exaggerated a million times.

      The doctor came to visit the guy and told him he had a psychological condition. I don't know if anyone can say that for sure but it seems there is a very fine line between a museum curator and a hoarder.
      My mom is a hoarder, and I grew up with no training whatsoever in the fine art of putting stuff away, throwing things out, and not filling your space with junk. GTD was a revelation. But hoarding is really a mental illness, one that takes a heavy toll. My mother's problem will likely cost them half the value of their house when they sell it (my parents are now in independent living).

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      • #4
        My mum for years had a drawer which was so overfilled with paper that it was difficult to open. In society that is seen as acceptable though - after all it's just one draw or so. Whereas, if you can't open doors for the clutter, that's frowned upon. And if it is all over your garden, then the neighbours might take you to court, as in this program.

        http://youtu.be/cEeJF09hGVU

        I am interested to know why people hoard. I wonder if it's out of guilt of our throw away society.

        Interestingly, I wonder if there is a name for the anti-hoarder. People who feel overwhelmed by having even a minimal amount of clutter.

        Without the ordered labeling of my A-z reference system, most people would call it hoarding, but instead they think I'm really organised.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
          I am interested to know why people hoard. I wonder if it's out of guilt of our throw away society.

          Interestingly, I wonder if there is a name for the anti-hoarder. People who feel overwhelmed by having even a minimal amount of clutter.

          Without the ordered labeling of my A-z reference system, most people would call it hoarding, but instead they think I'm really organised.
          I don't think it's so much about guilt about throw-away society, more a fear that something will be needed in future.
          People who feel overwhelmed by a minimal account of clutter could also fall under the OCD diagnosis - obsessed with having everything in its place and in order. It's a spectrum, and behaviour far enough to one end or the other could be considered outside the norm.
          I like your point about the ordered labelling though. Hoarders don't have the space to keep the stuff, and can't organise it, but I suppose the tendency to keep stuff falls along a spectrum as well. I always try to remember DA's two possible rules for whether to keep or throw out:
          1. If in doubt, throw it out. OR
          2. If in doubt, keep it.
          It all depends how much space you have to keep it

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          • #6
            I saw that documentary too and found it really fascinating. I think I identified somewhat with the guy there as I am probably a bit of a hoarder myself (although kept in check by OH ). The thing which struck me was that he seemed an intelligent, "sane" individual and his goals seemed to be worthy- he wanted to create an archive of newspaper articles by scanning them on to a PC. Just a major problem with execution of the task.

            Weirdly, I felt like something had been lost when the community came in to help him and get rid of his stuff. Another unique character lost to mainstream society. Of course in practise he was probably eventually going to end up trapped and burned to death as his house went up in fire so it was all for the best.

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            • #7
              IMO, a large part of it is about perfectionism and fear - fear to the point of terror - of error, where "error" is normally defined as errors of commission, not omission.

              Throwing out the expired tuna could be an error, because the tuna might not actually be bad. Throwing out that plastic cup could be an error; someone might want to use it. Anyway, it has a cartoon character on it; it could be collectible. That used envelope has a plastic window - putting it in paper recycling might be an error. Putting it in the trash might be an error. Ripping off the plastic window will take some paper with it and that won't be recycled and that's waste. Anyway, the address might be useful. Anyway, it might be useful as scrap paper.

              All of these feared errors are errors of commission. The hoarder doesn't see that the errors of omission - the failure to throw out stuff that results in the unlivable home, the unhappy family, the marriage at risk, the children possibly lost to the state, the dust, the dirt, the illness, the risk of fire, the risk of death of oneself or one's loved ones - cause far, _far_ more harm than these errors that they fear.

              Gardener

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