Top 5 Ways to Tell if You’re a Hoarder

We tend to accumulate stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.  As a result, many people start the New Year by throwing stuff away. Unread issues of Reader’s Digest, boxes of Cap’n Crunch that expired in November 2012, bottles of dry shampoo and half-used, dusty, scented candles–they can all go in the trash.

But if you’ve cleared things out and still can’t walk in a direct line to your hall closet, have you considered the possibility that you’re a hoarder? (“Hoarder” is defined as “a person who hoards things.” Thanks, dictionary, for that insightful explanation.)

Here are some signs you might suffer from hoarderism:

You cannot sit on the furniture in your home. Walk into your living room. Can you see your couch? Can visitors sit on it? If it’s covered with newspapers, like your living room has become a birdcage for a free roaming eagle, you could be a hoarder.


(Can you even tell what room this is?)

You have no counter space in the kitchen. When was the last time you used your kitchen counter for cooking? The Clinton era? The Nixon era? If you have stacks of recipes ripped from 1970 Good Housekeeping magazines stashed around your kitchen, you could be a hoarder.

You haven’t seen your dog/cat/toddler/husband for days. Have you looked under the pile of shopping bags you have stacked in the corner? Could they have wandered off into the maze of boxes piled in the family room? If you’re pretty sure you have a dog/cat/toddler or husband, but have had no visible contact with them for quite a while, you could be a hoarder.

You cannot park in your garage. Can you open the garage door without boxes of discarded clothes tumbling down like a fashion avalanche? Do you have several mechanical projects that need new engines, better tires, several layers of rust removed or an entire renovation? If your garage looks like a bad episode of Pawn Stars, you could be a hoarder.

Your backyard looks like a refuge camp. Are there garbage sacks full of unidentifiable objects strewn around your back lawn? Is there a family of rats breeding on the remains of several swing sets? Do people in hazmat gear occasionally walk through your backyard with Geiger counters? If you find a family of immigrants living under a pile of old sleeping bags in what might be your garden, you could be a hoarder.


(Maybe it’s time to clean up the backyard.)

Luckily, tonight is New Year’s Eve, so tomorrow you can jump right on that resolution to rid your house of excess crap. But there are also lots of sales happening tomorrow, so you might take the opportunity to bring more useless stuff into your home. Either way, Happy New Year!

You Know You’re a Mother If . . .

Mother’s are a special breed. Usually a cross between a Pomeranian and a Black Lab, they are either yapping constantly, or smothering you with love. Once you’re a mom, you do things you never imagined,  because kids numb your brain to any kind of higher-thought functions.


(Your brain on kids.)

About the time your 2-year-old hands you a long, slimy booger, and you wipe it on the hem of your T-shirt, you realize your mind has become mommified. Here are other symptoms of this exclusive momish behavior:

  • You stop wearing dangly earrings and necklaces because your toddler thinks they are climbing ropes.
  • As a gift, you receive a Campbell’s soup can, spray-painted silver and covered with glued-on uncooked pasta (also spray-painted silver). And you treasure it.
  • You’ve ever said, “No, I’m not angry. Just really disappointed.”
  • Just the thought of having an afternoon alone makes you cry.
  • You have a kitchen drawer full of Tupperware lids for kids to play with.
  • Your child makes a mess, and instead of cleaning it up, you post it on Instagram.

Cassi's birthday (3)

(This situation calls for a camera–not a washcloth.)

  • You’ve ever yelled at invisible monsters in the middle of the night, saying “Get out of here, you monsters, or I’ll kick you in the butt!”
  • You try to catch throw-up before it hits the carpet.
  • Your child sleeps an extra hour, and you are so worried, you end up waking her up.
  • Your “good clothes” consist of yoga pants without any noticeable food stains.
  • Your trips to the bathroom are treasured reading times.
  • You warm up a Healthy Choice meal for lunch, and remember to eat it two hours later.
  • You’ve realized potty training is much worse than changing diapers.
  • Your purse is full of rocks, wilted flowers, used Kleenex, pinecones, Goldfish crackers, Band-Aids and spit-out apple skins.
  • You have chocolate hidden in your underwear drawer.
  • You can step on a Lego at 3 in the morning without screaming.


(What a Lego feels like on your bare feet.)

  • Everything you wear smells like peanut butter.
  • You know the entire TV schedule for PBS, Nick Jr., Disney and Cartoon Network.
  • Your child plays in the sandbox for 30 minutes, then leaves piles of sand throughout the house for two weeks.
  • Someone keeps eating the “good” cookies you hid behind the kale chips.
  • You can make a working volcano out of newspaper, glue and baking soda.
  • You play the Quiet Game several times a day. With coworkers.
  • You eat your child’s leftovers, including cold chicken nuggets, soggy French fries and fish sticks with the breading picked off.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you dedicated (and crazy) moms out there!