Hoarding and Lack of Faith

I have a fascination for mental disorders. I never actually specialized in mental health when I was in nursing school or working as a nurse for 13 years, but as I have said often, “every nurse is a mental health specialist”. I have worked with more crazy people than you can shake a stick at.

Probably I have watched every episode of Hoarders or Hoarding: Buried Alive or any other variation thereof while knitting/crocheting; I can’t sit and knit without something to occupy my brain and left to itself my brain can run amok. There’s something satisfying about seeing people come to some difficult realizations about their lives and making positive changes. Not all the stories have happy endings and there’s no way that a few days with a psychologist, organizer and cleaning team can “fix” a hoarder. But anyway, along with other documentaries, it’s something I like to watch.

The other benefit of watching a show about hoarders is how it makes you rethink your own possessions and reasons for holding on to them. Now, I don’t have sentimental attachments to empty yogurt containers, but I find it difficult to get rid of certain things. There is a reasonable amount of storage of clothing for hand-me-down purposes that must take place in a family with many children but even that good reason can develop into frank hoarding. Holding onto a piece of clothing because I like the pattern of the fabric is not good if there’s no one who will be able to wear it. There are certain heirloom baby clothes that have been passed down that I continue to save and will keep for grandchildren. Other than that, I really have to be strict with myself about keeping things.

“Just in case” is a common argument heard on hoarding shows. “I need to keep this just in case the other one (or ten) breaks,” or “I need to keep this in case I don’t have enough money down the road to purchase something this nice.” This is a not-too-transparent version of “storing up treasures on earth”. When we keep every little thing because we “might need it someday” we are both displaying a lack of faith that God will provide for our needs and a selfishness in refusing to allow the item(s) to bless someone else.

So let it go. Look at your excess and ask yourself if you need it right now or in the immediate foreseeable future. Ask yourself if you have a definitive (and practical) plan for it. If not, consider letting it go. Let it bless someone else. If years down the road you are in need then trust that God will provide for you. Right now, in letting something go you may be the hand of God providing for someone else in need.


14 thoughts on “Hoarding and Lack of Faith

  1. Excellent reflection. I find it hard to argue with myself on the “but I might need it later…” thing, and this gives me mental dialogue to work with. I'm pretty good about getting rid of stuff and living lean, but I could definitely do more.


  2. I find that it is really easy for me to let go of some kinds of things, but others i do have that “just in case” mentality. Crafting supplies are so easy to get piled up, especially when i have so many ideas of what to do with them. But I dont mind getting rid of books we dont need or outgrown clothes and toys. Good to remember that where our treasure is our heart is also.


  3. I love watching hoarders. I never collect too many things…oh no…not me. NOOOOOTTTTTT MMMMMEEEEEE. [shakes head vigorously in denial, and contemplates her scarf hoard which she has accumulated since Wes got cancer two years ago]


  4. You are not the only one that feel she needs to use the brain: I restarted to knit/crochet in the period I was learning French :), I have now 3 blankets, several pullovers, hats & gloves & scarves, one dress for me etc but I can speak and read French at the expert level.
    About hoarding, I just looked to several tv shows some years ago – and I started to clean the house and to donate/sell/throw away what I never used in the last 2 years. Now I am more advanced, what I didn't use in the last 6 months and I don't see any utility => will go. If i will need in the future, I can buy it at second hand. Of course, this rule is not applying for my kitchen tools :D.
    I see between my life and the life of my friends/relatives that emotional attachment to objects has dramatic effects.
    I love your expression: “let it bless someone else” ;I sold objects for 1 euro, just to give the chance for people to manage the difficult financial moments.


  5. You've definitely got me beat! I took a total of four years of French in high school and college and I think I have enough French to be able to follow the directions to construct a bookcase. I'm just not language-gifted. On the other hand, I've amassed quite a lot of information about plane crashes. 😉


  6. Oh yes, the yarn. I am trying not to be a yarn-hoarder, and only buy yarn when I have a specific use in mind for it. The secondary thing is not allowing those “specific uses” pile up and never get done!


  7. I am not gifted for languages neither, I am engineer ( the joke is in high school I said to a teacher: I will only maths and mechanics/electricity, I will never use English and french. . God had plans to educate me so never say never). The need is the best motivation 🙂 and I am almost sure I will need to study german soon …

    Thanks for the inspirational articles. Keep writing, we will keep reading you


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