On November 15th, David Tolin author of Buried in Treasures: Help For Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. To get you excited we asked David to give us some advice for avoiding hoarding during the season of plenty. Below is his advice.
The holiday season is traditionally a time for reflecting on how the past year has gone, and to decide what (if anything) we want to do differently in the coming year. For people with hoarding-related problems, it can also be a particularly challenging time. In addition to being unusually busy, we’re bombarded with advertisements and marketing strategies trying to get us to buy things we don’t really need.
Take a moment and think about what’s really important to you. Family? Friends? Work? Spirituality? Recreation? Whatever it is, that’s fine—these are your priorities. Now think about how saving and acquiring fit with those priorities. For example, if you decided that family was a high priority, ask yourself some tough questions: Does my saving and acquiring bring me closer to my family? Does it contribute to the well-being of my loved ones? Or does it drive a wedge between us?
As you think about this, be sure to distinguish your intentions from your actions. I’ve known lots of people who would go out shopping and find the “perfect gift” for a loved one, and would feel great about finding it, but would then bring the “treasure” home and put it on top of a pile of clutter, where it would eventually get lost or forgotten. So the person had the intention of being a caring and generous family member, but didn’t follow it up with the action of actually giving the gift. If you find yourself in the same position, remember that what really matters is not what you intend, plan, or hope to do, but rather what you actually do. Hoarded gifts don’t make anyone happy.
So resolve that this holiday season will be different. Here are some great ways to make the most of the season without acquiring more stuff.
1. Have family or friends over to your home.
2. Attend holiday religious services.
3. Volunteer some time at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or other charitable organization.
4. Hand-write some thoughtful holiday cards to let people know how you feel about them (you don’t need to buy cards from a store; use your creativity and the materials you already have in your home).
All the best wishes for a happy and clutter-free holiday!