10 Signs You Might be a Hoarder Gina Vaynshteyn

In college, you meet all kinds of people. Sometimes you even end up living with them. For example, I accidentally lived with a hoarder for awhile, which was pretty weird, and by weird I mean horrible. It wasn’t Leslie Knope level hoarding, but it was pretty bad. Since the New Year is upon us, if you feel like maybe you’ve been senselessly holding on to things or annoying your roommate with your impressive collection of half-eaten boxes of cereal, maybe it’s time for an intervention. Unsure of your hoarder status? ** Browse through these signs and see if any sound awfully familiar to you.

1. It kills you to throw something away even though you know you can just buy it again at Target.

I know some objects hold sentimental value. I have one earring that I absolutely will not dispose of even though I lost its other half, because it was part of my very first pair. I also own cinnamon that is probably 20 years old that I also will not throw away because it reminds me of when I used it to bake with grass and sticks as a kid. (I was practically an only child so I had to get creative. Also, my parents thought I would burn the house down with an Easy Bake Oven.) I’ll admit, even this is a bit on the hoarder-y side, but when you’re struggling to throw away Starburst wrappers or ancient Lip Smacker tubes, then you’ve got a problem.  Furthermore, if you own piles and piles of objects that hold “sentimental value,” be suspicious. My rule of thumb is two to three shoeboxes worth of silly, nostalgic s**t.

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 2. There are more than three things in your fridge or shelves that are past their expiration date.

Is your milk chunky? Has your bread turned into penicillin yet? Are you unable to squeeze in any more groceries in your fridge and cabinets because you haven’t thrown out all the crap you bought a last week? I made a rule for myself that I will not go grocery shopping if there is little to no room left in my fridge. Get creative (Chopped style) and cook everything off for an amazing leftover meal. And yes, I bet you can make dinner with green olives, pasta and clementines.

 3. You can’t walk around in your room without murdering a toe.

If you can’t see your floor, then it’s time to organize and clean. And most likely get rid of stuff. Plus, how do you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without killing yourself??

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 4. Your unread messages on both your phone and e-mail are in the three to four digits.

You guys, I am guilty of this vice. I’m really lazy when it comes to cleaning out my inbox. In fact, at one point I gave up entirely and just made a new account but I’ve successfully filled that one up too. Like, not only do I fail to delete all of my e-mails from the Careerbuilder account I made two years ago, but I don’t delete old personal messages because I’m like, “what if I want to read them again? What if I need an alibi? What if this person dies and this e-mail is the only memory I have left?” I mean, it’s kind of crazy. Unless it’s a love letter or legality-related, you should just let it go into the internet’s vast black hole of garbage.

 5. You consider it torture to close all 26 open tabs.

You do not need that many tabs open. I repeat. You do not. For work, I usually have like three or four, sometimes more when I’m researching, but that’s it. At night, when I’m done, I usually close them all because having a bunch of tabs open is terrible for your computer, it slows it down, and it makes you a slave to your browser. Your tabs do not define you, girl.

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6. You feel embarrassed to have people over.

Isn’t it weird Leslie Knope only had Ann Perkins over like, once? And she had to hire somebody to clean out her house before she had that dinner party? If you feel uncomfortable with people coming over because you at least slightly understand that your place is a hot mess, then something is up. And I’m not talking about an occasionally messy room. If you do have guests over, are you constantly apologizing for your home’s state of affairs? Not good.

7. You perpetually empty your bank account on things you will never use.

I saw this in action and it’s incredible. Frozen pizza on sale, a bizarre flavor of eggnog, a new shampoo bottle that goes super well with the five others in the shower, seasonal Post-Its: your grocery list knows no bounds. Before you buy something, ask yourself if you are going to use it more than twice. If the answer is no, then put it back.

 8. You still have antibiotics from a cold you had five years ago.

Okay, a) that medication is now poison, and b) you most likely needed to finish that prescription, so I don’t know why you have extra, anyway. I see this all the time; even my parents have ancient bottles in their medicine cabinet.  In most  future cases, a few leftover Clindamycin pills won’t help you. Consume all your antibiotics/medication per orders. Throw away the bottle. Boom.

9. Your version of cleaning is placing things into piles to form a path.

Your house is not a backyard, you cannot landscape using books, clothes, and CDs.

 10.  Your room kind of…smells.

Are you leaving half-eaten bowls of cereal under your bed? Do you have gift baskets from three years ago laying around? Cookies your bestie made that you haven’t the heart to throw out? If food starts to spoil, toss it. If you find yourself buying Febreeze or scented candles to get rid of a funky odor, then you need to throw out whatever is going bad. Like, right now. Because that’s bacteria right there, and the last thing you need is fungus declaring war on your domain.

** Okay, so I know this can be hilarious when we see it on TLC, but hoarding actually exists and it’s been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder. If you do think you have hoarding issues or have a friend or roommate with some, then medical attention is actually necessary. Because very often, hoarding is a side effect for a much bigger problem.

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  1. I save everything, I even bought a 2 acre farm to have more room to save everything. So yeah, I guess hoarding is a problem for city people who live in a small 100 square apartment, but not for real people. Nature solves things itself, because nature is much smarter.

    • This was strangely a very meditative comment. Thank you.

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 12/24/2013 12:12 am
  2. I love this post! It spoke to me a little too well, for my comfort. So thanks. :) The email one (fine all the others too) for sure. I ask myself those questions all the time! “What if I want to read them again? What if this person dies and this email the only memory I have left?” Hilar!

  3. Please credit Allie Brosch for the “Buy ALL the things” pic at the top. Her blog and Book, Hyperbole and a Half are hysterical. This article is very timely for the holidays though, :)

    • Totally! I love Hyperbole and a Half. There’s a link to the image at the bottom, but I should have mentioned it’s originally from her blog (which is amazing) :)

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 12/22/2013 06:12 pm
  4. who should you get in touch with if a loved one hoards?

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