Recently, while having a conversation with a friend, he ended up calling me a hoarder. I had never heard of the word hoarding till then so my general response was to ask him to explain the meaning. My friend of 31 years being just like me, decided to not be too helpful so he suggested I look it up in the dictionary.
I looked up hoarder on google and came across it’s literal meaning. I also watched some videos on YouTube with regards to hoarding. In the UK, they even have show running on people with a hoarding problem.
I spent a few hours watching these hoarding videos and documentaries. I soon realized that my friend was right. I did have a hoarding problem. Maybe not to the extent shown in those documentaries but the problem was around.
I did have a problem of holding onto meaningless objects only because they are attached to some memory in time. This left my room in a complete mess. A few of these documentaries suggested that a messy cluttered room led to a cluttered mind.
The Buddhist philosophies I’ve followed since the past 5 years always suggested to let go of emotions, needs and bonds. Here I was still holding on the certain objects of the past all while thinking I do follow certain Buddhist ideologies. Buddhists believe that attachment – the clinging onto objects is what causes suffering because nothing lasts forever.
I then came across the concept of minimalism ie. have only the things you need and had a eureka moment. I realized all this while I chased money for two reasons.
⦁ To be happy
⦁ To gain recognition
At this moment I realized that the more I earned money the more lavish I became in my spending. I’d go out on expensive dates and blow the money away to feel good. I also realized that to earn recognition one necessarily didn’t have to be insanely rich. There were many other ways to gain that recognition. Social entrepreneurship allows once to have a good life too. I soon realized that beyond a certain threshold of income it wasn’t more money that would make one happy but more joy in the work you do.
Once I was through various minimalism blogs and videos, I decided to do a little bit of minimalism myself. I decided I would remove all the stuff I didn’t use in my room over the past 6 months would have to go out.
This is what I found in my room.
⦁ Practice test papers from 10 years ago.
⦁ My school socks from 15 years ago.
⦁ Blankets and clothes which I’ve not used in 5 years.
⦁ Clothes my sister bought me when she first started working, ie 10 years ago.
I packed all the unnecessary items and handed it over to my maid. I told her that she could decide to sell or use them. Here are a few pictures from before and after the disposal.
My old clothes had piled up in the corner of the room over a box of old clothes which now didn’t have more space to take more.
My cupboard was stuffed with old test papers and books I didn’t read in years.
A few days later I realized why my mind was disturbed. It wasn’t only because of the number of things I would oversee at work but also the fact that I would hoard at home. I was a hoarder and I held on to memories through objects. As the days went by mind was free again. I felt I could achieve and do a lot more. Friends would walk in and say how unbelievably neat my room had become, but it wasn’t the case that it was bad earlier, I just had less stuff now.
I’ve decided to follow the idea a little more strongly in my personal life. Like the folks of my favorite religion say, happiness is when you learn to let go.