Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee was an eye-opening read for me. I do not watch reality television, but I am aware that the hoarding phenomenon is the subject of several shows.
Hoarding is quite different from being disorganized or sloppy. A true hoarder is connected emotionally to his possessions and struggles to get rid of anything. A broken figurine, a watch that cannot be repaired, and a bucket with a hole are all items that a hoarder would never consider throwing away. Even worse, some people hoard animals. Beware: saving a few cats can lead to cat hoarding!
I think this book has made me realize that while I am not a hoarder, I do share some of their tendencies. I have difficulty getting rid of things that I don't need, can't use or don't wear. I am sometimes unable to find things. I had to laugh while reading about one hoarder who was always looking for things, and the whole family would repeat this prayer: "Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, come around; something's lost and must be found!" (My mom taught me that years ago as she frequently misplaced things, too.)
I have made a commitment to myself since reading this book to get rid of things I am not using, and the first thing I am going to do is to return this library book!
Recommended by Pam Wiseman