Hoarding or just harmless collecting?

At a recent Wintringham (www.wintringham.org.au) board meeting, I was challenged by a presentation on ‘hoarding’.  This is a debilitating compulsive habit for approximately one in 1000 people, where keeping things dominates time, space and personal function.

Hoarding sufferers retain so much stuff in their home that the rooms can no longer be used for their intended purpose. (Imagine a kitchen so full of boxes, bags, clothes, blankets, spare parts, toys, electrical goods, suit cases, etc that getting to the sink is a physical challenge and cooking is impossible.) Homelessness can be an outcome of hoarding.

Hoarding is not just avid collecting.  An estimated one third of the adult population collects things.  While an oversupply of snow domes may turn your lounge into a show room, the room is still habitable and fit for its intended purpose.

So hoarding is uncontrollable and dangerous to your health. On the other hand, collecting is controllable, not dangerous; for many it’s even therapeutic.

This led me to thinking about the parallel between collecting and hoarding physical things and emotional things…  What’s the fine line between collecting memories (harmless reminiscing) and hoarding emotional responses that no longer serve you?  

How are you on collecting and hoarding?

Are you remembering ideas you used to have about yourself and the world, and holding that collection with the compassion that comes from distance and perspective?
Or are you hoarding outdated concepts of self, rendering your internal rooms unfit for their intended purpose?

What could you update/give up/throw out to live an energised and free version of your leadership?