Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hoarder Economics

While therapists and TV network producers aim to profit off of hoarders, none of them ever get around to actually solving the problem at its genetic level.  They treat it, they have interventions, sometimes an increasingly-rare father figure comes in, bypasses them all, and lays down the law.  But by and large the phenomenon is one that persists.

However, with my patented SAGE (TM) I have found an economic rationale or “counterargument” for what is the number one excuse hoarders use to explain why they hoard -

“It has value"


“I can use this in the future.”

And I think for those of you that must suffer hoarders, it will prove invaluable.

Let us set aside the argument that their basement-dwelling, mold-infested, “Computer Programming Today” magazines from the 1970's really don't have any value.  Let us set aside the argument that Beanie Babies don't pay dividends and provide no cash flow.  And let us set aside the argument that all those clothes haven't been worn in 10 years and are obsoleted through fashion.

Let's just assume EVERYTHING a hoarder hoards has value.

So where do you store it?

Well, you have many options where to store this stuff.  But the problem is that no matter where you store it, it's going to cost money to store it.

A rental facility costs rent.
Your house has a mortgage (and property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. even if you pay the mortgage)
And your apartment also costs rent.

And if you've ever been in realty you know that rent, housing and storage costs are measured by (what metric was that again?)  oh, that's right

$/square foot.

This is often the variable the hoarder's brain fails to account for.  That even if their stuff did have value, which it doesn't, they are still paying for it in that they must house it SOMEWHERE.  And the more stuff they have, the more they must pay.  You calculate total storage cost, and the fact they NEVER sell it, the true storage costs are at least thrice any potential value of all the stuff.

Naturally, for genuine psycho-hoarders who have an emotional vestment in their junk this logical economic argument will not force them to start jettisoning their junk.  BUT for the “sane hoarders:”

Great Depression generation
People brought up under poverty
A cluttery husband
and pretty much every female in America (yuk yuk yuk)

this handy economic rationale may open their eyes to how hoarding junk is really costing them more in the long run...not to mention grant you that sanity of having a clean house you can finally enjoy.


Anonymous said...

anon here:

i think they have mental illness(*). Although most already confirm this (if you check the wikipedia on hoarders).

But why the asterisk? I think this is due to not having real memory capture device (eg: camera / video camera) and yet they are a person with high sentimental / nostalgia attachment. maybe there is a reason for that (just like abused kid have attachment issues).

In the end of the day, what is the difference between alcoholic that drink and drive (this kill others) and drug users (that robs and steal) and you will realize that this doesn't affect other people much - except in cases where hoardes still have small children - which then this is child abuse.

other than that, let them be and hope that they are organized a bit (like video game collectors, etc).

there are stuff I wish I kept but already thrown away as I clean stuff up.

also as I note, these are loners (for whatever reasons, divorce or spouse death) so they doesn't have other to share and talk their memories with (so it can help them remember fun times) so memorabilia is all they have left.

to each thier own i guess...

Goober said...

Problem is that there isn't anything logical about their desire to hoard, so you can't talk them out of it by using logic.

When you said "let's set aside the fact that the moldy magazines in the basement about the new and improved Commodore 64 version!" you set asid the most important part of the discussion:

They apply value to worthless things, not because they think that there is value there, but because they are very ill people who are sick in the head, and having "things" fills a void in their brain and satisfies some need that their particular brand of crazy demands.

I have a lot of stuff. You would probably give me a copy of "Bachelor Pad Economics" for free if you ever saw all of the things I have, but i have them for a reason (my second living) and I actually DO make money off of them, and I go through it all at least bi-monthly and throw the worthless stuff away.

Nuts, bolts, machin parts, wood ends, that sort of thing. I do custom welding and wood work on the side, all strictly off the books, as "favors" for "Friends".

There is a difference between accumulating a lot of things because of your trade, and doing so because the crazy in your head says that you won't be a whole person without 50 different broken sewing machines and a stack of moth-eaten christmas cardigans in your dining room.

That's the line you're forgetting to draw. We can't all be part of the "makes money off the internet" trade. Some of us have to make money with our hands, and that usually involves having a lot of stuff laying around.

My tool kit alone would probably fill your apartment.

Or your Mom's basement, according to the fembots that drop in from time to time.

Dave said...

I don't clean out my hoard for two reasons: I'm lazy, and I have a wife and kids. A clean, sterile house would be comfortable for me but their growing minds need stimulation. My parents hoarded all my early-70s toys, and now my kids enjoy playing with them.

As an aside, NEVER bid on an abandoned storage locker. To a rational hoarder, a storage locker is sort of a halfway house between the closet and the dump. After six months, you go throw the stuff out, or just stop paying and let them auction off your baseball cards and old magazines.

QueenA said...

There is no way to make sense or apply logic to hoarders and why they hoard. I work with these people on a regular basis and they aren't normal people. Lots of psych pathology going on. There is almost nothing anyone can do to change them.

You can personally go in, clean up their mess, have the mountains of junk carried away. In another month or two the junk starts piling up again. Success rate of treating these people is not high at all. Its really amazing to see how bad it can be at times.

Anonymous said...

Most real hording is a mental illness.

That said, like Goober wrote, if you make a living with your hands you accumulate a lot of tools and stuff. In my case part of the back yard(forge, foundry, power tools) and a shop with lathe and assorted power and hand tools, paints and more stuff.

And that doesn't include all the raw material and used parts I have. It may sit there for years before I use it.

All in all I have enough to fill probably 3 bedrooms in terms of square footage used.

But if you do things with your hands, it's just the way it is.
You aren't going to have a room or house that looks all nice and sterile.

Anonymous said...

There is a caveat with the whole less square footage is cheaper idea. Smaller, more compact living spaces tend to be located in more densely populated, higher rent locations so the financal benefits may not exist. Mentally, though, it feels very good not to have to take care of so much space and stuff.

Shee said...

Whether a room in a hoarders house is empty or stuffed full of junk, they still pay for it.