This Is My GarageThis is a shot of my garage from last year. My concern here was that, in addition to blocking the exit door, she had piled boxes up against the gas furnace and gas water heater:
Some time in 2012, I started to change the way I thought about this mess, probably because I started watching Hoarders on TV more..
My older brother was a confirmed hoarder - he kept hundreds of pounds of old, unread newspapers in my parent's house. He died a few years ago in his early 50's. My parents sent me some pictures of his apartment, and it was almost impassable. He had hundreds of pounds of clothing, CD's (most never opened), newspapers, books, etc. I'll post those photos if I can find them.
Therapists lump hoarding with OCD, anxiety disorders, and perfectionism. It's hard to imagine that anyone who is a perfectionist would make a mess like this, but I think that fits. My brother called himself a perfectionist, but he could never finish anything, maybe because it would never meet his standards.
It's not about laziness. I consider myself lazy. When I get mail, I immediately throw almost all of it away. If I get a bill, I immediately throw out the outer envelope. Then I throw out the reply envelope (everything is on auto-pay), I spend about two seconds on the pamphlet. Then I take a photo of the bill with my I-phone, or maybe scan it, and shred it. In sixty seconds, my mail is gone.
It takes a lot of effort to save your mail for 2 or 3 years.
That reminds me of a funny story. My wife gets mad when I try to recycle the return envelopes. She takes them out of the recycling and saves them to re-use for mailing things. My brother did this too. I've suggested that the cost of crossing out all the text, and affixing a new label isn't worth it, since we almost never send mail. Since the labels are not recyclable, she is creating more waste. But even if she doesn't use them, she says that the local schools want them, because they use them to mail things. I haven't been able to confirm that.
My problem is, I then have these return envelopes all over the place, and I think these bills are due. Also, these envelopes add to the piles, and I am not sure they actually ever leave the house.
I've offered to buy the school a box of 100 envelopes at the dollar store, if she would permit me to dispose of 100 return envelopes in the recycling. No dice. I offered to make a $50 donation to the school, in addition to providing them 100 envelopes. Again, no dice.