Monday, March 29, 2010

All that junk you can't dump

By Eveline Gan

To most people, things like old plastic bottles, empty food containers, shopping and grocery bags are merely useless clutter.

But for one middle-aged woman, Mabel (not her real name), such items are too precious to be discarded. Some day, she thinks, they may come in handy.

But when Mabel's collection literally filled up an entire room, her brother decided that enough was enough, and dragged her to see a psychiatrist.

Mabel's "collecting" obsession, however, is mild compared to fellow "collector" Danny.

The unemployed divorcee, in his fifties, accumulated so many DVDs, clothes and books - which literally piled up to the ceiling - over 15 years that his family had to move to a bigger apartment just to house his collection. Because each item held a sentimental value, he found it hard to part with them. So Danny brought everything along with him to the new house.

Most of us may sometimes keep things that we don't need, such as stacks of old receipts or old clothes. But in cases such as Mabel and Danny, they may take their love for junk a little too seriously.

Psychiatrists TODAY spoke to said that while cases of compulsive hoarding are uncommon, they tend to be rather serious by the time sufferers seek medical attention...."