It all starts with ‘oh, what a cute cup!’ and suddenly the little plastic spoon follows, table napkins, plastic table utensils, packs of sugars, cream and ketchups, etc. I’m guilty of having these symptoms growing up in a family where the concept of thrift is introduced quite early. I have saved unused packs of cream and sugar for the people at home since I’m used to drinking black coffee. What are the indications of a hoarder?

For one, he would be reluctant to throw away some little things that can be useful in the future. His house would be filled with boxes, used containers and bottles, fliers, broken appliances, old magazines and newspapers. The spaces would sooner or later be filled with things he collected and saved thinking that they will be put to good use in the future. A hoarder would put value on things that he thinks would be worth keeping and reusing, to the extent that it would occupy more space and eventually he won’t notice the things already taking up much of the room.

I still have control and had developed a sense of restrain when it comes to keeping the things that I possess or the ones offered to me. I can say that the bulk of my clutter now consists of my drafts or scribbled notes that I haven’t found the time to sort out. I had poured some time in organizing them but only a few are put in order. Before, I had a hard time letting go of old clothes and things, and later on I’d realized that there are things that I haven’t touched for years and I’m still keeping them. I’ve developed a sense of setting things aside to give away or for donation because that way other people have the benefit of using the things we don’t really need anymore.

In the supermarket, I’m keen to spot products with freebies attached to them. That’s probably an onset of a hoarder’s quality but in the end I won’t buy that item with free unless we needed it. It is best to weigh the products being presented to us, and catch only the good deals. At times, the presentation may be enticing but being an informed and vigilant consumer could help us in determining whether we should buy the product or not. There are many marketing strategies out there that help make the decisions for us. It is better to pause for a minute and consider the ones we actually need or else we will succumb to more clutter. Some mathematical skills would also suffice in assessing the good buys.

My cousin and my sister were horrified when one time I said, ‘this cup is cute; mom would be delighted with this.’ They stopped me right then. That was an indication of being a hoarder and yes I let go of that cup. I’m grateful for the constant reminder of my two guardian dragons not to turn into a hoarder myself. I have learned from them to just gather what you need, that less is more, which is a true because you get to possess more with more space. But eventually as you make more space, you will be reluctant to fill those spaces. I do know that this isn’t true with my parents or the elders because more space means they can add more stuffs. But to my dragon comrades, they showed me that in constantly limiting your possessions, giving away the things you won’t need anymore, your movements become free. In time, you would appreciate the organization and be more creative with the space you have created.

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