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chancelucky

I think the line is when it becomes disabling. I have, for whatever reason, several friends who tend to accumulate things. One is so bad that he doesn't dare let anyone he doesn't know really well into his condo. Actually almost none of these folk ever have people over, partly because there's no place to sit. I sometimes wonder if it's functional for them in that it gives them a reason to avoid having to have parties, dinners, play friends for the kids, etc.

Dave P

I agree with the upbringing/childhood POV. I'd also like to add that I think pack rats hold onto things that have sentimental value. When you get married and you have to combine your stuff and her stuff is when you'll have to part with many of the things you've been holding onto for too long. If you manage to pass that test, your family will have to clean up the mess when you die but probably learn a lot about you in the process.

Atul

Chancelucky,

I suppose that it could be a protection mechanism to "not let anybody in" literally. When I get messy, (not to that level though), I think it's a matter of me making my house seem more busy to make up for the fact that I live alone. Perhaps it reminds me of home.

Dave,

I totally forgot to mention the sentimental angle. That is definitely a factor. I keep things that are nice and have sentimental value or things that don't take up much space. With emails and computer files, they only take up memory and are easily found. That reminds me of the over-abundance of digital pictures. That will be a topic for another post.

I hate to think of it, but I dread the day when I would have to help clean out my parents' house. We do it occasionally anyway, (sometimes without their complete knowledge).

Adrienne

Thanks for the great post.
I grew up with some poverty and lots of chaos. reading helped me cope with my dysfunctional environment growing up, and now I collect books and information. I am an information addict-- surfing the net for my next fix. I do think however that this habit and tendency can be overcome, I am doing it myself, one day at a time.

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