When clutter is pathological

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2010 at 3:44 am

Imelda Marcos's hand me downs

Any writing on shopping for clothes – op or otherwise – really needs to look at the issue of hoarding.  Why do I have a cupboard full of unresolved boxes from my move to Ashfield in July 2009? (unresolved = opened, but not decanted).  Am I certifiable? Fortunately wikipedia has the answer.  Wikipedia’s article on compulsive hoarding defines hoarding as a problem when it ‘interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering and sleeping.’  Fortunately my boxes of stuff can be hidden in a cupboard and do not inhibit access to the stove, tv set or shower.

I could use an extra pair of hands to sort out my clutter!

I need to curb my collation, but I am nowhere near as bad as this guy.

Does anyone else remember the scene from Sex and the City where shopaholic Carrie Bradshow realises she has blown the equivalent of a downpayment for a New York apartment on Manolo Blahniks?

Last  year the show I was working on at 2SER, Double X,  looked at over-shopping  for one of our shows and its relationship with hoarding.

(Currently I have my own show, The Thursday Daily).

Double X interviewed Randy Frost, an American Psychologist, who commented, in response to the question as to whether the addiction is to hoarding and having more material goods; or is the addiction to the process of shopping?  He responded that compulsive buying in its relationship to hoarding is much about the attachment to the object – an often very emotional attachment – but interestingly, he commented that once the object is acquired, the person still feels an intense attachment but they tend not to use it and sometimes the objects just pile up.  He added that the person can become fused with the item and if they were to lose it or get rid of it they can feel as if they are losing a piece of themselves.

....I feel connected to this somehow, I need to give it a home

On a very sobering note the interview ended with his observations that those who suffer from compulsive buying have usually gone through all their money and are usually more in debt than the average person.  However this debt still can’t stop them from buying more things – and when having a shopping ‘episode’ he commented that the person enters a different state of consciousness during which they often forget about the context of their life.

He surmised , “They forget about the fact that they’ve got 30 thousand in credit card debt, that they can’t pay off; they forget that their home is so full they don’t have any room for this – all they can think about is the thing in front of them waiting to be acquired and it is not until they acquire it and start home that their context of their life comes back – and that is what causes them to feel so badly about it.”

In the same show, I spoke to former overshopper Neradine Tisaj, wrote about her journey from significant credit card debt to now being a reformed shopper.  Nowadays Neradine hardly ever enters the shopping mall.  Before her reformation Neradine said that financial advisors told her she had to cut back her spending, but it wasn’t until she was rummaging in her wardrobe and found two identical blouses, that she realised she had no recollection of purchasing the second blouse.  She went on a shopping detox, limited to only purchasing food and transportation.  Her first few visits to a supermarket were extravagant and one night she realised she had transferred her overshopping and abandoned a full trolley in the supermarket and went home.  Her resulting book ‘How to Give Up Shopping’ outlines her journey back to finding a way of nurturing herself during stressful times that doesn’t involve spending any money.  She emphasises finding a fulfilling hobby and keeping a list of 2o things that you like doing to relax, that don’t involve spending money, in your purse next to your credit cards.  “Look at the list of 20 things you like doing that will make you feel better,” she concluded.  “Rather than buying a pair of expensive shoes that you won’t wear.”


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