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Quirks: Cute, Annoying, or Necessary?

Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

I was reading an article today about items you should be buying in bulk and it got me to thinking of my Picture2 obsessive impulse to buy more Peter Pan Peanut Butter than I will ever be able to eat in a lifetime. Well, I take that back, if the zombie apocalypse happens and I can't get to a grocery store, I will certainly have more protein than I ever need. Add to that, Peter Pan is a great way for me to hide the medicine that Henrietta is on and will be for the rest of her life because of her bad knees.

I've convinced myself that it's necessary to have so much peanut butter on hand because many years ago Peter Pan was recalled and I spent entirely too much money on jars of inferior peanut butter from which I'd taste a spoonful, be grossed out by its taste then toss it out. I love my pb too much to go without! 

Buying in bulk is something that I do when it comes to peanut butter, but then I also can't seem to pass up buying boxes of cereal, which I rarely ever eat unless it's a late night snack sans milk. Cereal never works for me for breakfast because I don't like milk and dry cereal doesn't seem to go with coffee. My mom used to take trips to the warehouse stores when we were growing up and I remember it would be an eight hour day she'd spend there. She'd come home and we'd be rummaging around to find space for all of the oversized packages of ... well, everything... she'd purchased. Some items make sense to purchase in large quantities, others not so much but I've never had the impulse to truly browse a warehouse store myself. 

Anyhow... all of this got me thinking about my odd, now I'd like to say cute quirk, can my stocking up on peanut butter eventually lead to a life of hoarding? I mean I can't get rid of books on my shelves even though I will never read them again. I have notebooks of notes I've taken from various meetings over the years -- even those I used back when I worked at the newspaper -- I still have them even though it's been close to 15 years since I was last there. 

What is the tipping point from stocking up on an item or two to all out hoarding? I've only caught glimpses of the hoarding shows that are on television and have seen the commercials, but I've always wondered, wouldn't you have a friend or family member who'd be taking note of your "quirk" in living amongst stacks of magazines and newspapers? Do all of the hoarders live completely alone? Bereft of family connection? I'm sure there is an underlying medical condition that causes one to become such a hoarder that they're on a television show, but was it simply a matter of one item too many that tipped the scales?

I take comfort in my peanut butter stash, but if the day comes when I can't get out the door because jars of it are littering the walkways, I hope someone will shake me out of my quirk and help me eat through a few jars! 



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Hey Robbi, I agree that there is a medical condition pertaining to hoarding. I think you'll save money if you only buy enough number that you consume each month and not stock more that what you consume.

Rachel Papworth @greenandtidy

AMOP: I just wanted to clarify that I'm not implying that you suffer from Compulsive Hoarding. My last two paras were in response to questions you raised in your post. :-)

Rachel Papworth @greenandtidy

Robbi, it sounds like you're buying food that you're not realistically likely to eat.

Even though you can still get out of your door you could consider addressing the issue.

You could save money (as you would buy less). A client doing my online decluttering programme, this week saved £80 from next week's grocery bill as a result of decluttering one kitchen cupboard!

You could also save time (as you'd be able to find things more easily and would spend less time shopping), protect your physical health (all that uneaten food is in danger of going off), improve your mental and emotional health (by letting go of the emotions associated with your stuff), and reduce your environmental impact. You'd also increase your productivity as you'd get jobs done more quickly (being able to find whatever you needed).

There is indeed a medical condition of hoarding and, from next year, Compulsive Hoarding will be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Living with a hoarders is often distressing and unhealthy and there are cases of children being taken into care because it's no longer safe for them to live with their hoarder parent.

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