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mrrich724's avatar

Can you identify with this "opposite-of-hoarding" attitude?

Asked by mrrich724 (8522 points ) April 1st, 2010

I don’t know what it’s called, but I guess the best way to describe it is that sometimes I just look around and get disgusted (I don’t know if with myself, or humanity in general) at the fact that people keep so much shit in their house. And dependance on material possessions kinda seems absurd to me (sometimes).

When I have one of these episodes, I begin giving things away. Last time my g/f’s brother came in town, I gave him a stack of about 20 DVD’s and XBox360 games just because I was tired of looking at them.

I know it’s nice to some people to have a DVD collection. But I look at all the DVD’s and I’m like “Am I ever going to watch this DVD more than once or twice?” The truth is NO. So why have a big ass DVD collection? Just to weigh you down when you want to move, or spontaneously go live life outside of your house of crap?

DVDs are just one example. Last weekend I donated two bags of clothing and blankets to Good Will. Why? Because it was bothering me having piles of clothes and blankets there. That’s all. I mean, who the hell needs more than a few blankets anyway?

For this same reason I don’t buy furniture. I just don’t find it necessary. My whole life, my family and friends have had a room with sofas and tables and SHIT that nobody ever uses b/c everyone always hangs out in the kitchen or living room. So I have very little by way of furniture.

Can anyone identify with this? Is it a disease like hoarding?

All thoughts are welcome.

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55 Answers

mrrich724's avatar

And please let me add that in no way do I have excessive amounts of stuff. In fact, I live with less than most (you’d be able to see why)

Trillian's avatar

I can identify. Fifteen years of being in the navy does not allow one to keep a bunch of crap, because one knows one is going to have to move it.
So I’m ruthless with getting rid of stuff. I go around every three or four months. If I haven’t used it since the last time I looked at it, it goes. I take bags and bags to the Salvation Army. They’re always glad to see me.
I don’t know that it’s a disease or condition. I’m just not tied to stuff on the material plane.

snowberry's avatar

It’s a lifestyle called minimalist. There are people who blog about it, decorate around it, and there’s probably even a magazine about it. somewhere.

mrrich724's avatar

So my next question, which I ask myself as well, is why do you even buy it, knowing that after one or two uses, your just gonna end up giving it away. That’s part of my confusion in the matter.

Although, I do relate to that good feeling you get when you buy something new. But I do it sometimes. I look at something and I’m like, “Why did I buy that!”

I think your being in the navy is comparable to college. I knew that every summer I was going to move somewhere new. So I just didn’t accumulate stuff b/c I feel like if I was responsible for moving it all, it owned me more than I owned it.

jrpowell's avatar

Marry me. I’m the same way. Last time I moved I was able to fit my stuff in the back of a Volvo wagon.

gggritso's avatar

Hell yeah. I throw stuff out mercilessly. I’m tired of having crap. Crap just makes life more complicated. If it’s not necessary and doesn’t have significant (and I do mean significant) nostalgic value it is gone. I hate clutter. I may not be as extreme as you, but I identify for sure.

snowberry's avatar

Here’s a link Do an online search and you’ll find a lot of insight.

anartist's avatar

I’m a collector. I like to think of myself as keeping only good things that I value for one reason or another [usefulness is important but not only reason]. I think of the very small space I live in like a museum curator with very limited gallery and storage space. For every accession I must deaccession some stuff. It at least keeps me in balance.

mrrich724's avatar

Seriously, if I had to pick up and leave tomorrow I’d take very little, my iPhone, my laptop, and my motorcycle (obviously besides clean underwear, LOL) and the clothes on my back. It wouldn’t bother me one bit.

mrrich724's avatar

@anartist after a while don’t you wonder why you kept a certain thing so long? and then if you are just going to replace it with the newer thing, then do you ask yourself what the point is in keeping the first item for so long is?

anartist's avatar

Do you have plenty of money so you can get new underwear, a new computer, lodging, whatever you might need? Are the few bits of furniture you do keep beautiful or just functional? I assume you are a guy.

cak's avatar

I am the same way. I do not get bogged down by possessions. My husband has even begun to appreciate this way of life, as opposed to saving every single last thing he ever touched. It’s just very freeing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve gone through this over the yeas of becoming annoyed at things I’ve held onto and collected. Books are an example of things I just don’t buy anymore and keep, it started to feel wasteful to have so many that I’d read and them just sitting around to be dusted, arranged and toted from home to home. Same with CD’s, videos, hordes of towels and other stuffs. Something feels really good about looking over the things that remain and knowing they’re more useful rather than decorative or whatever. Twice a year I go through clothes and ask myself, “did I wear this last summer (pick a season)?” If not then I pretty much know I won’t wear it this time around and away to donation it goes.

anartist's avatar

If I like it, why would I replace it? Many of my kitchen appliances are 15–20 years old. And some of my furniture goes back several generations of my family.

Coloma's avatar

Hmmm…well I’m guessing that the opposite of hoarding would be compulsive throwing away? lololol

Yes…keeping the load of stuff light is freeing, I’ll never be a packrat.

anartist's avatar

I’m actually uncomfortable during long stays elsewhere where I am helping with cooking but missing a favorite tool. I often buy it for my host/ess.

TexasDude's avatar

I actually like stuff. I have a lot of collections and I absolutely adore trinkets and junk. I guess that makes me a hopelessly ignorant barbarian.

DominicX's avatar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I have something, it gets used.

If it doesn’t get used, then it will get thrown away. I’m constantly throwing stuff out that I don’t use and it’s very satisfying, but I keep the stuff around that I do. I have hundreds of CDs. But I use them all. I wouldn’t have them if I didn’t listen to them.

gggritso's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I don’t think anyone is saying that at all…

rahm_sahriv's avatar

No, but I wish I was more of a minimalist or if it is a disorder, I wish I had it :P I tend to be a packrat.

I do agree with your furniture thing though- I have a bed, entertainment center, table and bookshelves with a few folding chairs. I don’t see the need for it. So maybe I kind of see your point.

mrrich724's avatar

@anartist, no I don’t make more than anyone else. I don’t spend excessively.

but to respond to your later comment, I think it’s good that you have furniture that has been in the family for years if it has utility. If it’s just a room to look at, and you’ve not used the furniture in years, that’s where I stop following. But something like appliances, where I assume you use them to do things like wash clothes or dishes, or cook on a consistent basis makes sense.

It just comes to other things, that you don’t use consistently that I don’t identify with anymore. Or that almost starts bugging me.

lilikoi's avatar

I am exactly the same way. Interestingly, I also have wondered if it is a reverse hoarding disease, lol. The presence of clutter kind of builds on me, and builds and builds, until finally a critical mass of annoyance is reached and I am compelled to put life on hold and purge. I am in one of those modes right now – I spent all of yesterday posting ads on Craigslist. Indeed, I am unloading some neat mid century chairs simply because no one ever sits in them (only the cat uses it – as a scratching post).

My goal is to be able to fit all of my possessions into a suitcase. When I am finally able to check out of society and embark on my travels, I will achieve this goal. I don’t think it’s possible if you’re living a “normal” life holding down a full-time job, because that requires clothes, furniture, and other social staples.

TexasDude's avatar

@gggritso, I didn’t think so. Just preemptively berating myself in case someone did.

anartist's avatar

I don’t use things consistently because I am more erratic than consistent but I want them there when i want them

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The opposite of hoarding would be not keeping anything, to an extreme degree.
I’ve never seen such a disorder but this would logically include habits like giving away everything and not buying anything to the point that it affects your health and personal relationships.

ubersiren's avatar

Totally. I’m not a minimalist, but I’m definitely a purger. I love to get rid of stuff, to my husband’s dismay. I watch Hoarding: Buried Alive and I literally itch to go to those people’s homes and go through their stuff and clean and organize.

LuckyGuy's avatar

What a waste of resources. Talk about a wasteful consumer. Are you able to save your money?
Before you purchase, think about where it will be in 3 months. Maybe that will discourage you from opening your wallet.

mrrich724's avatar

@ubersiren exactly! OMG, that show makes me crazy.

MagicalMystery's avatar

i am not a hoarder but i do have collections, and i do save some stuff (like certain special greeting cards that people give me) for sentimental reasons. i like to say “I need a bigger house.” however when things get outdated i do get rid of them, like videos. i am also on the verge of wondering why i keep my CD’s because i never play them anymore.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

More to the question, I hate having a lot of stuff so my spaces tend to be rather spartan as a rule.

mrrich724's avatar

OMG, I can’t even handle DVDs, I don’t know what I’d do with a collection of CD’s. I got a collection of unopened CDs from work last month.

I opened 3 of them and imported to iTunes. Then I begged people who came over to take them (it was a variety of different tunes, so no one person was likely to enjoy more than one)

Finally I told the G/F she HAD to take them to work b/c I just didn’t want them in my house anymore.

Coloma's avatar

@ubersiren @mrrich724

Lol…I just saw the preview for one of the next Buried Alive…this woman ends up buying the house next door to keep hoarding in. OMG!

I go through stuff every few months…right now guess whast being sold to my daughter and her room mates?

My 18 month old Eliptical with a whopping 4 miles on it.

Another home gym bites the dust!

I’m keeping my bras that hang from it at the foot of my bed. lololol

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think there is a certain conditioning of status by ownership that drives the compulsive purchasing; there are certain things that it feels cool to own. To me the worst clutter offender is owning books that you will never read, or never read again, that are not reference books. Is it necessary to own two different editions of Riverside Shakespeare as well as three different editions of each play? How many cookbooks do I really need to own, when I automatically go online to find recipes?

Coloma's avatar

My only hoarding issue is pjs and night gowns…the amount of sleepwear & lingerie I have is obscene. haha

anartist's avatar

1000 lbs of books

wilma's avatar

I need some of you to come to my house and help me get rid of things.
What do you do with the stuff?
Do you give it away, throw perfectly good stuff in the trash? I’m not sure I could throw it away, but I could give it to someone.

filmfann's avatar

Just before my Mom died, she had a garage sale, and sold a lot of her things. She died a month later, and there was an enormous amount of stuff left to go thru. We spent weeks dealing with all of it, and much of it remained unresolved. It is now stored at my sister’s house.
Once I went thru that, my mantra became “Less…”
I want to stop my kids from having to go thru what I did. I want less stuff.
My DVD collection continues to grow, but everything else (the collectables, the knick-knacks, the furnishings) are all slowly being pared down.

Nullo's avatar

My tendency is to keep things that look useful. That’s books, salvaged RAM, a floppy drive, various flavors of cables and cords, stuff for working in the yard, small office supplies, that sort of thing. I’m somewhat clingy about my school materials: I live in fear of being expected to do something that I learned and then forgot about, and want the instructions nearby.
And sometimes there’s just stuff that I need to get around to disposing of. (I’d be more than happy to toss that stack of newspapers – really, it’s quite a bother – but these Flood aren’t going to kill themselves, are they?)
It doesn’t help matters that I’m often right about some doodad’s utility.

Once in a while I’ll get rid of stuff, and it’s always a relief to see it go.

Pandora's avatar

OMG. Yes, I can identify. Less is more. I wish I could give away half the stuff I own. I hate having to move things to clean and keeping useless stuff. My husband unfortunetly is a collector. When I moved to japan they had huge closets and rooms just large enough for a bed, or 1 sofa or a tiny table. I loved it. No little crap around the room. Only clothing in the closet and only necessary furniture. It was so cozy and easy to clean and keep clean and organized. Its amazing how much time you have for yourself when the home can be cleaned up in 15 minutes a day. Laundry was the only thing to take some time because of the small machines. We only watched one movie a night on the weekends, and had no computer. Life was so simple and you notice the world so much more.
Now we have so much crap. I just feel like lighting a torch to it some days.

Zen_Again's avatar

You are welcome to visit me anytime and help me get rid of my junk. Seriously. I need people like you for inspiration. I hate the junk in my house.

Brian1946's avatar

Another relevant condition could called Kardassian syndrome, where the victim keeps all their junk in their trunk. ;-)

Nullo's avatar

@Brian1946 A fun game: mentally replace every instance of “Kardassian” with Cardassian.

thezooloft's avatar

If you’re attached to nothing, you lose nothing

Dalai Lama

oreo45's avatar

@anartist I too held on to books, but I did give a bunch away. no point in letting then sit on a shelf collecting dust when the could be read. I read them at least 2xs.

Zen_Again's avatar

@thezooloft If you’re attached to nothing, you’re probably homeless and have nothing.

CodePinko's avatar

I am a minimalist. A fork, for example, needs only three tines. Forks with four tines are redundant and make me a little uneasy.
Hoarders suck. I have a flat in Manhattan and seeing people with larger homes wasting space disgusts me.

snowberry's avatar

@CodePInko I’m sure glad this country is big enough for collectors AND minimalists. Without collectors, we’d have no clue who we are, for history is always bound up in things from the past. Someone has to know what they are, and collect them.

On the other hand, there is much to be said for the un-emcumbered life, and the freedom it lends. However, it’s a pity that you seem to think you must judge people not just like you to justify your lifestyle.

clevergretel's avatar

@ubersiren: I can relate! I watch hoarders as “clutter therapy”. I am actually concerned that I am spending too much time trying to get rid of things as a hobby – amazon, ebay, craigslist, swapadvd, paperbackswap. What I can’t sell I eventually take to goodwill. But what if I just dropped it all off at goodwill, skipped the selling, and did something else with my time?? One tendency towards hoarding is the feeling of needing to “take care of” things – somehow I think my selling is along this line, but surely it is a better tendency than hoarding? Don’t worry, I still have plenty of stuff, LOL! But I am working on it. I just keep thinking that I am still wasting time on “things” though!

wilma's avatar

@clevergretel I understand your feeling of “taking care of things”.
I also have those feelings. I try very hard to find the right person or place to give my things to. I have a very hard time with the idea of things going into landfills and or being destroyed.

And

Welcome to Fluther!

meds4every1's avatar

My sister gets rid of her stuff. She went through a divorce and gave away or threw away a lot of her stuff. She has been a type of minimalist throughout her life but, it is worse now. Is it an emotional thing? Is it her way of not getting attached to things? I don’t think it has to do with her self esteem but, I’m not a psychologist either.

mrrich724's avatar

@meds4every1 I agree. It can be a way of not getting attached to things. My preference for “less is more” developed after my mother passed away. Now I get a little anxious when I see too much “shit” in any given place.

GypsyAtHeart's avatar

“There is nothing new under the sun”.........I knew I’d find this very question somewhere on the web – and I love all the different responses! Everybody is different and thats what makes the world go round. That said, I think it’s always about “balance” – anything to either extreme is out of balance, hence we ask this question. Compulsively getting rid of things seems so much more “honorable” than those that hoard. Just like being “underweight” is just somehow not as disgusting as being “obese”. Choosing minimalism is different than what we are talking about here (or what I’m thinking about). I think the issue at heart is “control”, and finding a way to minimalize “internal anxiety”. To speak for myself, I personally feel “like the tides” – a constant internal struggle – the ebb and flow. I buy something, and unless I really love, love love it – 2 hours later, I’m thinking, “why did I buy this, and how soon can I sell it at my next garage sale. Even after opening a gift that is not my style, it’s hard for me to just keep it, or use it awhile – I just want to get rid of it immediately. I do like order, and even though I do have different collections, I definitely keep things pared down. It almost feels like a different type of “binging and purging” to me – do you know what I’m saying. Maybe people that feel out of control internally, need to control their external world. When I visit friends who have tons of stuff, while I’m sitting there, I’m mentally rearranging,, and decluttering their house in my head. I also love organizing and design, and that’s one good aspect of this. Ok, there has to be a name for this, and I think we can come up with one – the opposite of hoarding – and keep it nicer than a total OCD thing, because it definitely can border on that spectrum.

wilma's avatar

Great answer @GypsyAtHeart and welcome to Fluther!
Interesting how you compare the two extremes to the two eating extremes.

flo's avatar

You are really lucky to have that problem, or should I say “problem”. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

A person that is the opposite of a hoarder? An OCD consumer. I am a packrat of sort, and I will wear that moniker proudly. Especially when these people who toss everything need a drill, or a bundgie cord, or that roll of packing tape or even some packing pillows to mail that lamp to their aunt they do not want to get broken. They come ask ME because they know I would more than likely have it. I could tell them go to USPS and buy it, because they didn’t have the foresight to think it was reusable when they purchased that last Xbox, but I am usually nice enough to share. Then I remind them as they are leaving, sometimes trying to clear all clutter leads to waste of good stuff.

We here in the US are mostly a throwaway society anyhow. It is not like you keep something when it gets old, that would say something about you. Your phone get old, they come up with one that can microwave bacon, you can’t be stuck with your old phone that only take pics and video, text, email, fax, watch movies, play games, keep track of appointments, find your car, a restaurant, bla, bla, bla, because it is now OLD; it can’t microwave bacon. You would look like an un-cool mook to have an old phone when there is the new fangled one out.

I have HTML books from years back, but there is always something in it for good reference. And I may not need or use my OHM meter everyday, but when I need one, it is there, I do not have to go out and buy another that I will toss 6 months later, or try to see if the neighbors have one.

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