I recently looked up the entry for "hoarding" on Wikipedia.  It led me to the entry on "compulsive hoarding".  I must admit I was a little worried at first:

"A few symptoms hoarders might experience are:
1. They tend to hold onto a large number of items that most people would consider not useful or valuable. For example:  

  • Junk mail [CHECK]
  • Cooking equipment [CHECK]
  • Old catalogues and newspapers [CHECK]
  • Things that might be useful for making crafts [CHECK]
  • Clothes that "might" be worn one day [CHECK]
  • Broken things/trash [CHECK]
  • "Freebies" or other promotional products picked up [CHECK]"
Luckily, I breathed a sigh of relief when I got to the next section:

"2. The home is so cluttered that many parts are inaccessible and can no longer be used for intended purpose. For example:
  • Beds that cannot be slept in
  • Kitchens that cannot be used for food preparation, refrigerators filled with rotting food, stovetops with combustibles such as junk mail as well as old food piled on top of burners.
  • Tables that cannot be used for dining [I'M GUILTY OF THIS SOMETIMES...]
  • Chairs or sofas that cannot be used
  • Filthy unsanitary bathrooms; piles of human feces collected in areas of the home, sometimes there are animal feces over the floors of the home, giant bags of dirty diapers hoarded for many years.
  • Tubs, showers, and sinks filled with items such that they can not be used for washing or bathing. Hoarders would thus possibly forgo bathing.
  • Some hoard animals they cannot even marginally care for; often dead pets cannibalized by other pets are found under the heaps.
3. The clutter and mess is so bad it causes illness, distress, and impairment. For example, they:

  • Do not allow visitors such as family and friends, or repair and maintenance professionals because the clutter embarrasses them [SOMETIMES I RUN AROUND LIKE A MAD WOMAN TIDYING UP WHEN UNPLANNED VISITORS ARRIVE]
  • Keep the shades drawn so no one can see inside [ONLY SO THAT OUR NEIGHBOURS CAN'T SEE US WALKING AROUND HALF NAKED]
  • Get into a lot of arguments with family members about the clutter
  • Are at risk of fire, falling, infestation or eviction
  • Feel depressed or anxious much of the time because of the clutter [THIS IS WHY I'M WRITING THIS POST]"
During our recent Europe vacation we stayed at a number of Airbnbs.  Apart from the fact that it never ceases to amaze me how well I do at living out of a suitcase (with so little of my stuff), I was amazed at how homely but still "airy" (badum-tish) all of our Airbnbs felt.  The reason: the apartments were filled with everything one needs to feel at home... and nothing more. 

Living in this manner for 5 weeks, I experienced somewhat of a revelation.  These uncluttered surrounds and my well edited wardrobe allowed me to focus my wandering mind.  Not once in the past 10 years have I had so many great ideas and felt so positive - I was creative again!

I think that (once again) my surrounds have put me in a state of flux. I could even go as far as to say that I feel very sad and unproductive on a personal level.  I wrote about the very same thing here - actually, almost two years ago to the day.  Maybe the emergence of obvious clutter is a cyclical occurrence?

A fortnight ago I started to properly de-clutter the house and we've been getting some home projects completed too.  So far, I have only de-cluttered the bathroom and my magazine collection, but I feel better already.

I could never become a minimalist, but my pleasant stays at a number of wonderful Airbnbs have definitely encouraged me to at least try to get half way there.