Sunday, April 19, 2009

Field Guide to The Pack Rat: Closet Cases

Hard times can awaken the hoarder within. Your trash is my treasure. 

Psychology Today Magazine By: Elizabeth Svoboda

For more than 30 years, Ange Aguirre rarely got rid of anything. From elementary school on, she squirreled away her possessions in boxes and corners, and when she married at 19, she took it all with her—from the third-grade math work sheets to the letter jacket to the teddy bear she'd been given the day she was born. "I was on my high school drill team, and I had every gift that was ever given to me during a football game," says Aguirre, now 39 and living near San Diego. "I had notes people had written to me when I was in the seventh grade."

Like layers of sediment, Aguirre's belongings piled higher and higher over time, teetering in unwieldy stacks and choking off access to closet shelves. But it wasn't until she and her husband were preparing to move across the country to California that she admitted her tendency to hoard was affecting her life. "We have eight children, and things were getting crowded with their toys and belongings," she says. "I had to do something about it." But when she resolved to tackle the mountain of stuff, her attachment to cherished items got in the way of her judgment, making it almost physically painful to trash them. "They were something to hold on to when the days got tough, to bring me back to a good time in my life."...  More

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