We all have that precious clutter we're ready to save from burning buildings — call it mementos, knick knacks, "hazarai." Maybe your physical memories can be contained to a shoebox, while your friend's could fill a shoebox-sized Manhattan apartment — and that's just her middle school years. In any case, we all could benefit from a thorough edit. Some of us, between two to five percent of the U.S., are apparently in truly dire straits. To sort it all out, the Huffington Post has crafted a handy guide to distinguishing the pack rats from the full-blown hoarders.
Did you really like to collect items as a kid? You may be an emotional hoarder, HuffPo notes, citing research published in Scientific American as evidence. The kid who couldn't throw away a book report could become the adult who still has that book report shoved deep in a drawer that will never open again — in a room filled to the ceiling with fourth grade trophies and emotional detritus. Scary!
Other warning signs: needing to acquire goods to feel good. "Many of us buy things because it feels good, even though that feeling is only temporary," Dr. Annette Perot told HuffPo. Hoarders tend to hold onto to more and more of these random purchases, which leads to sentimental junk taking over your living space —yet another symptom of genuine hoarding. If it gets bad enough, you may even reach a darker stage: You stop having guests over, since they won't be able to find a vacant chair to sit on, or worse, could trigger an avalanche if they open a certain "off-limits" door. And most of all — despite the shame of letting life get this out of hand — for true hoarders, it's just too damn hard to imagine existing a different way. After all, you attach yourself to objects you are are positive you might "need someday."
Actual pack rats might be messy, but do have a Macgyver-like knack for collecting the right odds and ends, and utilizing them brilliantly at a moment's notice. Keep that difference in mind the next time you're about to stow that restaurant menu from a vacation six years ago in the memory box. Just say no. And if you can't: get help. (Huffington Post)
Photo: via The Huffington Post.