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I just went into my home office to get something. I avoid the room because it's something out of a Fibber McGee and Molly episode. There's some boxes I need to cut down. A multitude of dead computers and parts. But worst of all are these bags of books. Grocery bags full of curios. I tend to pile my readings across the house, then in a rush of cleaning, either put them on my full shelves or into the spare room. There's just so many, and I probably won't read most of them. I've been reading off my Kindle. Why so many books? Hey, the bookstore was selling any 10 books for $20. So I grabbed the vaguely interesting reads, or something pricey. Do I NEED a coffee table atlas of the history of the Jews? No, but it was a bargain!

Why don't I put them in the basement? Well funny you should mention, but there is no room as I have several boxes of French and German texts down there. I can't read German or French. My sister got then from an estate sale and gave them to me because she didn't have the room and I couldn't get rid of them. Dr C hates them so much. We've had many discussions about them, usually with her exclaiming "But you don't know French or German!". She just doesn't understand.

When do you know you have a problem? When does it become "hoarding". There's no dead cats in there, yet.

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Any 10 books for $20? Bargain! When the Kindle phase dies down and books become fashionably cool and retro, you'll be sitting on an absolute fortune.

That's the kind of enabling I'm looking for :)

Seriously, mate.

This IS hoarding. You're filling your living space with things that have no value or use to you. You're keeping them for reasons known only to your subconscious. Perhaps you wish you could read French and German?

Perhaps, like me, you feel books are immensely valuable and undervalued nowadays, so they need to be preserved? Now and then I steel myself and have a Book Purge, and donate boxes of them to a local charity shop that deals ONLY in books.

If these books are becoming an item of argument between yourself and your lady, you do seriously need to examine why you are keeping them. What part of your self-esteem do they feed? Is it necessary? Surely a local college could make use of them?

Books need to be read, and used, and functioning objects. Just keeping them is doing them no respect or favours. I tell myself that regularly - my husband and I have had many careful discussions about our respective collections of books, and we keep talking, keep weeding out those that are evidently of no intrinsic or functional value. You just have to grit your teeth and do it.

Oh, it's not subconscious. I would love to know French and German. Read Rousseau in his original language? Yes! Alas, this isn't going to happen with someone too lazy to tie his boots when he leaves the house.

I've been working through some stuff the past year so the clutter aspect is starting to get to me. Probably part of the process.

For actual definitions and help around hoarding, some folks in my old department at the university have put together a reference site, also with an FAQ.

In a nutshell, compulsive hoarding is:

  • The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions.

  • Clutter that precludes activities for which living spaces were designed.

  • Significant distress and impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.

There can be a lot of underlying causes for hoarding, and its important to be able to differentiate between hoarding and clutter. If you're worried, it's definitely worth a call to a mental health professional that understands the root of hoarding behavior. There is help!

So... if my LIVING SPACES aren't affected, it's not hoarding.

I have a 3 bedroom condo with a half-finished basement with storage shelves. I can pack in a lot of shit before it's into the living spaces :)

I'll read your FAQ, though. Thanks.

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Someday I'm gonna read the Proust. I swear!

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WE love books. We both have a tendency to hoard.

New rule in the new 3 BR apartment? If we start saying "we can put it into storage", then it needs to go.

Books go to libraries and used book stores and charity shops.

Artwork? We have been giving away artwork to friends, and when we have our open house/house warming, we are asking people to take from a stack of work we have.

The hardest thing for us to give up is art/craft supplies. "But someday I'll need these glow in the dark stars!" It's bad, because there have been times I purged, and then I had to re-buy something for a project. HOWEVER - most of the stuff I've purged I haven't had to re-buy.

Time to let them go to people who will read them. Don't you think the books would prefer to be read?



It doesn't count as hoarding if it's books.

Nobody wants my books. Nobody can appreciate my Joseph Campbell collection more than me.

I generally think that books are exempt from hoarder status, so best not listen to me on the matter.

it's hoarding. Let C help you. Let her take all the books to the used book store and take you out to dinner with the money she gets for the books.

No dead, flat cats pressed between boxes and books? You're fine. Not a hoarder.

I am building bookshelves on an entire wall of my house, twelve feet high, and all I can think is, "I honestly don't know if I have enough books for all these shelves".

I'm tempted to joke about needing the book piles to hide my roasted chicken carcasses, but people may think I'm serious.

I am certain you will find a way. Like a goldfish, book collections tend to grow to fit the container.

I think you could POTENTIALLY become a hoarder if you let things get out of control. You may also be more likely to become a hoarder when you get old and senile. But I don't think you'd ever let the books *really* get in the way of your life or marriage and I have a feeling there are other things about you that annoy your wife *more* than having a few too many books ;). I think it's sweet that so many people are so concerned, though. :)

Yeah... well, it was such a happy wedding, and relationships are so fragile... when you've followed a friend on LJ for a few years, you do get to care about their happiness.

My relationship sensors are very alert to the early signs of sadness. Comes from personal experience... and being coerced and bullied myself for a number of years, to fit someone else's rigid idea of A Good Wife.

But he never got me to dispose of my Books.

John Hodgman says that the difference between collecting and hoarding is a display case. Books in bags just sitting around is hoarding. Put them on shelves, and it becomes a collection. Same with the curios.

PS: How to you know there are no dead cats in there. Perhaps your sister also got into pressing cats (the way some people do flowers) and has left some pressed cats in those books. You've never read them, so how would you know?

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