• Books

    Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee

    This book is based on the authors work with hoarders and hoarding. I was actually hoping the work was more about the general relationship humans have with things and stuff. This one had more case studies about hoarders and hoarding behaviour.

    I did find it interesting because it is true that everyone knows at least one person with hoarding tendencies or variations of excessive materialism. The book educates you on how hoarding itself is different from OCD and how it does not necessarily come from deprivation. It also seems to be a result of traumas and genetic or hereditary conditions. Hoarders can be very intelligent and experience world in a different way.

    The book presents more extreme cases of hoarding and it did make me uncomfortable reading about people keeping and owning so much. In the last couple of years, I’ve been trying harder to be more minimalist. This is not easy for me because like most people, I do enjoy stuff and things. When I was growing up, I did not have a lot so since working regularly, I would buy and spend more. However, I realize how society is materialistic and wasteful.

    Over the years, I also like to collect and amass things which I am not able to consume fast enough such as: Books, Yarn, Liquor, Handbags, Clothes, Pens & Stationery
    Digital Media, Food (pantry goods), Money (probably), and Cookbooks. While I have been able to curb the collecting and buying of the aforementioned, I still annually buy cookbooks. Last year, I bought at least 5.

    Currently, I’ve stopped myself buying and tried to sell or give away more things. I felt pity and also some vexation knowing how hoarders amass all these goods in their homes and subsequently, affect the lives of those around them.

    It is not to say that hoarding is unique to our culture. Ownership and clutter are normal and perhaps essential parts to being human. I do agree that in the end, having experiences and being engaged with people are more meaningful than objects. I recommend this book as a way of learning about hoarding in general but also as a reminder how consumer society can be detrimental.

    The antidote to this book would be The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

    Read Janary 11-16, 2016.