One way to quit hoarding without losing nostalgic memories

I have a love of antiques. I also love holding onto things that I have no space to keep. So the combination of those two things once led to me being a massive hoarder. I just couldn’t bring myself to part with that old pay phone, or my vintage 1980s Omnibot 2000 robot, and certainly not the silver coin that was part of a real pirate’s treasure from a 1700s sunken ship. But the time came when there was simply no more space to keep this stuff. They had to go, along with the typewriter collection, the bubble gum machines, the floor-standing gramophone, and that box of floppy disks for the Commodore 64.

Here I am in 1998 with my cool pay phone in my bachelor pad. But along with the Swiss train station clock, there was no more room! (The Steve Jobs black turtleneck had to go too.)

Sadly I gradually started selling stuff off. But I did something else too.

I took pictures of those things. And in a way the pictures are almost as good as having the original pieces. Or maybe the pictures are even better. Here’s why.

Many of those items were sold for more than I had paid for them. And inevitably I took some of those funds and bought other antiques. I took more pictures. Sold those. And the cycle went on. I was a bit like an amateur antiques dealer, but only buying and selling things I really liked. But I wasn’t filling up again. All the while I was gradually dwindling down the overall volume of stuff I owned because I was becoming less attached to owning items and more interested in just keeping them for a little while.

That allowed some really cool items to pass through my hands over the years: KGB credentials, a piece of the InGen set from Jurassic Park, a ceremonial cauldron from a Chinese castle (I kept that one, and it’s now in the relaxation centre).

Letting things go can be tough. I’m a natural hoarder, but I have found that taking photos of the things I send off for someone else to enjoy ultimately gives me a better feeling than keeping those things in a box stuffed into the back of a closet.

A ZIP Drive? Seriously?

Alice Boyes PhD, author of the The Anxiety Toolkit, recommends this take a picture it’ll last longer method for compulsive hoarders. Taking a picture is a great way to keep the memory without loading your closets with boxes of things you aren’t likely to ever look through again.

Have you tried this? Let me know your comments and thoughts!

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Author: Colin Stone

Professional Relaxation Therapist (MASC, BSYA) and founder of the Relaxation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Using guided imagery, therapeutic music and aromatherapy to relieve stress in the most relaxing room on earth!