Currently, the speed at which life unfolds may not leave us with enough time or energy to actually systematically organize our house. Clutter happens with all of the very small items that we regularly use, but may seem unimportant. Like magazines or pens, that if are not in their spot, we don’t really think anything of it.
Cluttering is what happens when we procrastinate on putting things where they belong, throwing or giving them away or finding the best use for it. Procrastination is a behaviour that takes place when we feel somewhat apprehensive or anxious about an activity such as organizing our space. Clutter, just like every other problem we choose to ignore turns into a trigger for high distress. The kind of stress that sets off a survival response in our brain. The kind of stress we feel when we perceive something as overwhelming, too big for us to handle. So, we go into fight or flight mode, aka avoid the problem or fight it to the death. And, just a hint: procrastination = avoidance = flight mode.
Now, hoarding is a different kind of issue. Hoarding was classified as a type of obsessive compulsive disorder in which accumulation of objects brings comfort and relief from emotional distress such condition creates for people. Yes, we used to think of it as a type of OCD.
Hoarding takes place in an unhealthy brain. You see in the brain there’s the amygdala, a gland that is responsible for keeping us alive, physically alive. The thing is that when our brain health declines it gets harder and harder for us to relax, control behaviour, self sooth and even to process daily life. This poor brain health is actually a mental illness: Hoarding. It is considered an illness because it interferes with their everyday functions.
For people with hoarding disorder their possessions are not just things. They carry deep emotional meaning and value. Things become a symbol of safety, trust and loyalty. Their space becomes an extension of their mind. Hoarding can be helped, but not just by getting rid of the things kept, but also by healing the wounds the brain, mind and heart have suffered.
Vielka Almánzar Bautista