OCD, Decluttering, Hoarding

New Year, New You’s first prompt is to clear away the old and make way for the new. My post the other day about getting rid of time wasters turned out to be more appropriate than I thought. However, thanks to my OCD, I have a somewhat awkward relationship with purging.

OCD and hoarding are related disorders, linked by anxiety and a desire for control. My own mind can go too easily to the hoarding direction – aside from yesterday’s discussion about the safety of books, I do found metal sculpture and clothing remixing. I could easily see myself becoming the star of an episode of Hoarders if not for two things.

1. a paranoia of rotting things that results in a near-refusal to keep or touch food in the fridge after a bare minimum of days

2. at some point, my reaction to stress by controlling my things turned into reacting to stress by getting rid of things

My girlfriend can tell when my brain chemistry is boiling over because she comes home to find me in the middle of the apartment with a handful of boxes, sorting through the books. Again. If I could make stuff instantly disappear, instead of having to physically take it to the dumpster/thrift store/secondhand bookstore, I would have far less stuff than I do now, even, because in the heat of the moment I often decide I want to get rid of things that I really shouldn’t.

It doesn’t help that my mom raised me as a dedicated thrifter and flea market browser, and I really do enjoy the “hunt” of a good day spent wandering from thrift store to thrift store. So stuff creeps back in, and I try like mad to organize it, decontaminate it, and evaluate it.

It’s yet another cycle, like my time sinks, where I spend all my time veering back and forth instead of enjoying the middle path. No, I’m not going to purge purging from my regimen, tempting as that is. (I don’t do well with blanket bans.)

One of the deities that Deborah recommends working with for this is Ganesha, who I’m very fond of but haven’t worked with in a while. I’m thinking I’ll go for an invokation along these lines:

Lord Ganesh, mover of obstacles, master unclutterer,
I don’t know what stands in my way right now.
I can’t see the forest for the trees in my way.
I trust in your wisdom, help me to discern
what are obstacles that need to be removed
and what are challenges I need to overcome
and what I should keep and cherish more.
Point me on the correct forest path and guide
my machete as I hack through the undergrowth
to get where I need to be.

I just finished the final real unpacking from the move, with excellent timing, but I’ll do some old-fashioned cleaning this weekend and see about smudging again, too. And at some point I need to sit down and work out some magical goals like these great ones over at the Unlikely Mage. Not the same goals, obviously, but having them seems to be giving him a lot of focus, and I really need some focus right now.

0 thoughts on “OCD, Decluttering, Hoarding

  1. This is Deborah from Charmed. I am so inspired that you’re willing to give this a try, even when it’s hard. Your prayer to Ganesha is lovely. Please keep me posted with this and things that you figured out that helped you with this both as a magic user and someone with OCD.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I’m definitely looking forward to more prompts and to seeing where this takes me, both magically and personally.

  2. I don’t know anything real about OCD, but I have my own personal theory based on what works for me. My theory is that we’re wired to do repetitive, creative handwork (whittling, basketweaving, flint-knapping, knitting, what-have-you) but we don’t do much of this anymore! So we’re left with this desire to create in a controlled way with our hands, which turns into a free-floating, unaddressed desire to control something, anything, anyone. So I start chopping up onions, or knitting those socks, even writing by hand helps, until my hands tell me I’m done. Probably sculpture helps, too.

    1. I do have nervous hands, and I’m unable to concentrate when I’m listening to someone without being able to do something with them. Writing by hand does help. Sculpture helps me too, though I do metal sculpture, so it’s not quite as soothing as working with clay like some of my friends do. I’ve never thought of it as related to my OCD before – I think of that as being something nested entirely in my brain, in thought patterns I can’t stop and compulsions I have to act on. That’s definitely something I want to think more on.

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