Hoarding – something to share

It has been quiet on my blogging front; I only threw one thing out into the world last month, I’m not entirely sure why, but there are a couple of reasons, reasons which I will hit on in a moment.

Firstly I wanted to share with you a TED talk I just came across about hoarding; it was published on Youtube a few years ago but I know a few of my followers are recovering hoarders/trying to live with less, as am I myself profess to be. We must all surely relate when we watch a talk about such a topic, and there are certainly a few resonating points raised. I’ll put the video at the end of this post so you don’t all skip off to watch that first and forget I was in the throws of telling you something important!

Firstly the speaker, Angela Horn, talks of her parents who reached that age where they can no longer live in their home and her and her partner end up with the task of clearing the house out, right after they themselves had reduced their own belongings down to a minimum.  And secondly some of her methods either echo what Marie Kondo (that well known Japanese “organising consultant” and author) suggests, or she contradict them; I do think some things are over simplified or an underlying point is missed, but I suppose that can be forgiven for a 13 minute-long video.

On the first point, to have a hoarder or two in my own family has, up until quite recently, left me somewhat worried about when such a task may fall on my shoulders, so I can certainly relate to that.

Part of my quiet time away from blogging has involved watching others partake in a particular hobby (which I’ll hold off specifying, but you may post guesses in the comments box below!) as they air their efforts and creations on Youtube. Years ago I shared this hobby for a brief time and I have been considering/procrastinating/mulling over/trying to talk myself out of getting back into it for a number of reasons, but I have been apprehensive because along with partaking in this hobby I see some unhealthy traits in doing so. Not all of these hobbyists share these, but there are two things I will raise here. For this creative hobby, and some others, I see some unhappiness being the reason to escape into the interest, and also some hoarding, some very extensive, and since I have enjoyed keeping my world simple for a while I really don’t want to slip into this way of being again; I doubt I will or even can, but still, one has to keep a check on these things, and the same for the unhappiness part; it doesn’t seem good to hide oneself away in a room to keep themselves busy, distracted, for hours on end, rather than facing the world and the real reason they choose this hobby. I also think: “All that stuff someone will have to get rid of when you snuff it!”

That depressing thought reflects that underlying missing point in Angela’s talk, it’s what must surely be the reason under all reasons for hoarding; unhappiness. Trying to make up for something that is lacking in one’s life, by buying stuff, binge eating, drinking excessive amounts of coffee, smoking, gambling, taking drugs, consuming mindless telly, having a fast/loud car, collecting cats, watching copious amounts of porn… basically partaking in all of the, let me count… yes, 10 deadly sins!

Another reason for my quiet time of late, is, I think, a desire to keep quiet. I’ve been feeling somewhat self-conscious in the face of ego that seems to surround us in this world and I ended up questioning a lot of what I do or have done or what others do, such as hobbies that draw attention to one’s self. I’ve been watching far too many videos of these hobbyists and been critical of them while knowing that I criticise myself when I do this. Some of the videos are fascinating or intriguing, while others whittle away too much my time and some are terribly “watch me [for 30+ minutes] drivel on about how to do this thing as if it’s a how-to guide, while really, you could just figure it out on your own!” I’ve literally watched paint and solder dry, I kid you not. OK enough hints already. Anything might do this, that is draw attention to oneself, from playing a musical instrument, to driving a car with a bright stripe down the side, to posting stuff online, to, I don’t know, getting your nose pierced. Not all of these things apply to me, but my point is how do we differentiate between what we do for expressing our ego’s sake, or something just… within. Something within that would make us eternally happy, not materialistically and short-lived happy, which is what we all fundamentally need. Angela Horn states that simply reducing all our stuff down to a minimum would, as if by magic, make us happy because we’d have more time and less stress, amongst a couple of other things, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple because you can get rid of all your stuff and then find yourself alone in an empty house with bugger all to do.

As for doing something for the sake of the ego, or, lets say, for the soul: Would the artist still paint if his were the last eyes left on this planet to see his work? I’m sure a true artist would, but I’m no artist.

OK, you can watch the video now:


  1. My guess is that your hobby is ……. SHOPPING!
    Seriously, if I hadn’t hoarded things for 50 years then I would have nothing to blog about. But I’ve always been selective about what I’ve kept, as if I knew they could be written about one day.
    And it’s fulfilling, recently reinforced by an article this week in The Guardian by Katrina Onstad about reclaiming the weekend, which mentions how serious leisure activities – pursuits that require the regular refinement of skills – are the most fulfilling (she cites sociologist Robert Stebbins but her own article is much easier).

    • The hobby has involved some shopping so far, but it’s not that… plus, I agree with that point about the refinement of skills, or the exploring of new ones, and I’m not so sure that shopping incorporates that, although I do like to think I shop skilfully, but I would quickly run out of money!

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