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To Sam

Im a hoarder

Hi sam, i have lot of stuff but id feel bad throwing it away and i find it hard to get rid of stuff because i have a emotional attachment to them. im not sure what to do since tidying my room is 10× harder with a hoarding problem and its really messy. how do i stop hoarding? thanks -C-

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Hoarding is a problem where someone finds it really difficult to throw things away. Even if the item isn't being wasted but is recycled or given away the person with a hoarding problem can struggle to let it go.

Hoarding is a habit that builds up over a long time and often is linked to other mental health problems that might be causing a person to feel like they can't let go of anything.

If you find hoarding is becoming an obsession and taking over other parts of your life or making you feel anxious then it might be worth talking to your doctor about it so you can get help from a therapist. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help a lot with things like hoarding. Or you could speak to an adult you trust to see if they can get you some help for this.

If you want some tips to try and tackle your problem, there are a couple of things I can suggest you try. First it's good to think about the problem in a different way.

If you feel attached to an object because it brings you good memories or makes you feel certain emotions this makes it harder to think about throwing it away because you might feel like by getting rid of it that you're losing the connection to that part of your life. Try to think differently - it's not the object that's important, it's the memory and the experience that you've already had. Whether you have the object or not, you still have the memories.

When you hoard a lot of things it's likely you don't often get to use or hold the objects you're saving. They're probably stuck in a cupboard or under a pile of other things somewhere and you never actually get to use them.

If you haven't held an object for a while and you didn't miss it or think about it, then you probably wouldn't miss it if you threw it away for good. You can also think about whether it's worth the 5 minutes of reminiscing you might get from keeping it, versus the years of it cluttering your room. You’ll probably get years of better mental health and happiness from having a room free of clutter than you will the short amount of nostalgia you get by keeping the object.

If you're still finding it hard to let go, then you could try taking photos of objects that matter to you. If you have detailed photos of the things you throw away, you know you still have a record of them and the memories they'll give you. Storing the photos digitally takes up no physical room, so you could have as many as you want. Taking a photo might help you let go of some things because you have the safety net of your photographs to remind you of that object and the memories it carries.

I hope these ideas help. If the thought of letting items go causes you anxiety, you might find the Calm Zone useful to help you let go of any stress. If you do want to talk more then you can chat to a Childline counsellor anytime you need to or you can speak to other young people on the Childline message boards.

Take care.


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