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Do you have a treasured possession that you used to carry around when you were a kid? It might be a hat, a backpack, or a teddy bear. We all have something that holds a special place in our hearts that we just can’t bear the thought of parting with. 

It’s natural for anyone to be attached to anything with a lot of memories, but is it natural when that attachment and memory appear to be present in almost everything a person owns? 

Amassing Possessions

Intense attachment to personal possessions because of a presumptive desire to keep them can be seen as a compulsive behavior. When anyone goes through massive difficulty to part with such possessions, such a behavior is identified as hording disorder. Particularly, the term “hoarding refers to the habit of amassing possessions and keeping them to oneself, usually in secret. 

Hoarding, overspending, and compulsive shopping are all examples of behaviors that are similar to this one and are associated to process addiction. Many people find that keeping hold of possessions, purchasing goods, and spending money momentarily calms their unstable emotions

Either they satisfy a need that they are often unaware of or they provide the individual in question with a sense of identity and self-worth. The desire and guilt vicious loop that these activities frequently cause is challenging to break. Therefore, it might be claimed that the existence of such an attachment to items cannot be seen as natural.

Emotional Attachment to Clothing

People are known to often feel an emotional connection to one or more pieces of clothing, which keeps them from getting rid of it. Everyone treasures their happy and comforting memories, and for many individuals, looking back at certain pieces of clothing can be a wonderful way to relive some of their most cherished and emotional experiences. 

“Clothes are like memory banks, they constitute a powerful tool that can trigger nostalgia which in turn breeds happiness and lifts your mood. If a garment gives you the ability to harken back to the good old days, cherish it for a little while longer.” Shakaila Forbes-Bell

A person keeps all of these emotions alive in that one special object, much as they might save their wedding gown, their child’s first onesie, or a piece of clothing that reminds them of a loved one they have lost. It’s natural to feel comforted by and emotionally attached to a particular object that has special meaning for you. However, if a person seems to feel this way about everything, there can be a concern. 

Fashion and Hoarding Disorder

The understanding of hoarding behavior can best be illustrated by looking at clothing and fashion products. In the world of fashion, if someone struggles with hoarding behavior, others may notice it in their purchasing patterns, which can be linked to obsessive shopping tendencies. 

For instance, when you see a pair of jeans that fit you perfectly and are available in a variety of colors, you decide to buy them all even if they are all identical because you are certain that you won’t ever find another pair quite like them. It may be an indication of developing hoarding behavior if someone begins to shop excessively and pointlessly. 

Hoarders often exhibit this buying behavior because they suffer from ‘FOMO,’ a powerful sensation that makes it difficult for many individuals to avoid shopping during sale seasons. A shopper may spend unnecessarily because of a compulsive desire to not miss out on amazing deals, which sows the seed for this obsessive habit.

How to Identify Hoarding Behavior?

A person with hoarding problem feels distressed at the notion of getting rid of the possessions, but the real question is how can anyone identify with this behavior? 

Object attachment is the experience of growing emotionally attached to an inanimate object and possibly even experiencing pain if they had to let go of it. 

Strong object attachment in adults can develop as a coping technique for a lack of interpersonal attachment or as a sign of hoarding disease, even if it has typical levels throughout the lifespan.

How to Treat Hoarding Behavior?

Treating hoarding disorder can be challenging since many hoarders are unaware of the repercussions of their behavior or do not believe they need therapy. However, one of the most popular types of psychotherapy for treating hoarding problems is cognitive behavioral therapy

Through therapy, one can learn to manage their urge to buy more things, identify and challenge their attitudes and beliefs about collecting and keeping things, organize and categories their possessions to assist them in making decisions about which to keep and which to throw away, and control these urges.

If getting professional help is not an option, even performing these routine organisational duties and acknowledging the impulse with a loved one’s support might help someone prevent hoarding.

Pallak Kher

Author Pallak Kher

Pallak is currently a student at the London College of Fashion, majoring in Applied Psychology in Fashion. Born and raised in New Delhi-India, she has always had a keen interest in fashion consumption and consumer behavior. Her current focus is on increasing awareness of the psychological impact on the fashion industry and its consumers.

More posts by Pallak Kher
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