I’m reading a great book right now that sheds a lot of light on why we save so many possessions, some times to the detriment of our relationships, finances and health. The book is called “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things” by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).
The book profiles people with hoarding problems, taking a fascinating look at people who save things like the labels off of jars, gum wrappers and rotten food. This may not be applicable to your life, but what is applicable is the section on what our things mean to us.
Frost and Steketee says there are three reasons why we save things. The first reason is because the object allows us to do something, thereby giving us a sense of personal power. That’s the most common reason. The person who saved labels off of jars used them for stationery and notes.
The second reason is that objects give us a sense of security. We turn our homes into comfortable refuges with the things we own.
The last reason we save things is because the objects become part of our identity. We save mementos to remind us of who we use to be and what our relationships with others were like.
I recommend this book if you have been watching shows like “Hoarders” or “Clean Sweep” and want to know more about the psychology of the people who stuff their homes to the gills. It’s also a helpful book for those of you who have a loved one who hoards. This book has really opened my eyes about the painful lives of hoarders.
Image courtesy of Amazon.