A Different Kind of Hoarder

Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? It’s quite an appalling show at first glance. People have literally buried themselves in filth; old newspapers, take-out food from 1996,  dead cats.

I’ve watched this show and thought, Oh good God. HOW does that HAPPEN?!

But not too long ago, it hit me: I’m a hoarder.

Don’t worry, I don’t have my pet hamster from 3rd grade (Rose Bud – what a name for a brown piece of fur) somewhere under my bed. I can walk easily from one room of my home to another. I’m married to a minimalist, so really, a divorce would come before a hoarding situation.

I’m not a hoarder of tangible, material items, but of shoulds and obligations. I constantly bring new obligations and I should(s) into my life, even if I don’t need them or want them, or worse yet, when I can’t handle them (due to aforementioned hoarding.)

Join a club? Sure.

I should volunteer more.

I hang on to relationships that don’t fulfill me. I mean, that’s what “good” people do, right? 

I have trouble asking for help. Not on a I-can’t-stop-drinking scale. More like a, I-need-help-with-making-dinner scale

And then? I can’t let go. I don’t have the take-one-let-one-go mentality. I’ve felt buried and attached to obligations and shoulds that should (see, there I go again) be easy to let go of.

Just like a hoarder you see on TV.

I know I’m not the exception. I’ll make a sweeping generalization when I assume that most women are like this. We like to please people and we care what other people think about us.

For what would happen if someone (who didn’t know our entire story/filled-to-the-brim planner) thought we were a failure?! Or a quitter?!

Oh, I’m certain the sky would certainly fall.

Or then again, would it? ;)


  1. says

    You should read Loving What Is by Byron Katie. It’s all about accepting reality and stopping the mental hoarding. Just read it and loved it! :)

  2. says

    Love this post! I often find myself stuck in the coulds, shoulds, what ifs, etc. of life. I’m trying to let go, accept what is, and enjoy the present. Easier said than done but well worth it!

  3. says

    Guilty of a lot of these! Except holding on to relationships that don’t fulfill me…I let that one go a few years ago. I have no room for frenemies in my life anymore, what’s the point?

  4. says

    I’m totally guilty of this. I had a conversation with a friend’s roommate in September of 2011 and though it was totally casual, it was really really helpful for me and I’m so grateful to her for that. I thought I should write her a thank you note. I never did. And I’m still thinking about it.

    But it’s like, just because I have an idea doesn’t mean it’s a) a good one, b) necessary, or c) that I HAVE to do it just because it popped into my brain.

  5. says

    Oh Wow, this is SO me! Finally, I actually am a hoarder too! I have a sister who is a genuine should-be-on-TV-type-of-hoarder, but I am just as bad, taking on too many projects, never (ever) asking for help, and then drowning in guilt about not meeting my own expectations, all while at the same time taking on more tasks, and the never ending to-do list ( which progressively gets items crossed off, but also gets new items daily). Somehow, you make me feel a little better, and in a strange way, able to address this issue (with less guilt) not that you have formally published it ( in the same way we all go clean our closets when we watch the TV show Hoarders). Motivation!

    • Colleen says

      Hi, Matt! I’m so glad this resonated with you! It sounds like you described ME in your own comment – taking on too much stuff, not asking for help, feeling guilty, so on and so forth! Now that I’ve actually put it into words, it’s become easier for me to handle. I hope it’s the same for you! :)

  6. says

    Oh my god! Story of my life! I am a master of social obligation. Well, I was anyways. The BF is working on steering me away from the non-important obligations. His motto (words to live by) is that “It’s all optional.” You think you HAVE to go to that party of the guy you met twice, but should go to because your best friend wants to date him? Optional. You’re meeting friends for drinks at 8 and you just got home at 7:30? Optional. You can be late. You can ditch out. It’s all optional. Best. BF ever. :)

  7. says

    You never really think about it until you stop and ask your self why are you unhappy. I recently have had to “let go” and “clean house” to release myself from everything that was holding me back. I was worried that my world would come to an end but then I realized that I wasn’t losing anything I didn’t already have. In the end I am a happier person for cutting loose the ties that bind.

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