Anonymous asks:

I've become obsessed with getting rid of things. I am a self-confessed minimalist and get a kick out of putting things in the bin and taking stuff to the charity shop. I get restless when there are lots of things on surfaces and on the floors of my home. Is there something wrong with wanting my space to be just so? People are starting to comment- my family call me 'weird' but I find it quite therapeutic to purge my world of unnecessary stuff. My kids and husband are so messy, it doesn't help! 

Relationship expert Jessica Leoni says: “There is a condition which describes what you are going through in its most extreme form - it is called compulsive decluttering. Another term for this behaviour is obsessive compulsive spartanism. Because a clean environment typically looks better and more organised than a ‘cluttered’ one, people can start to get into the habit of decluttering, which can lead to the extreme of compulsive decluttering. People can often misunderstand compulsive decluttering with a typical "spring cleaning.” People that have compulsive decluttering disorder think that any items around them are cluttering or disrupting their everyday lives. Throwing these items away gives them satisfaction, and gives them the idea that they are in control of their lives.

Diana Vyshniakova / Alamy Stock Photo

Diana Vyshniakova / Alamy Stock Photo

“All the above does sound like you. I’m sorry if giving a name to your form of behaviour alarms you but it is best to be truthful. Having said all that, I don’t think this is anything to worry about. Yes, you are probably a bit over meticulous at times, and it can be exhausting for your husband and kids to live with someone who obviously stresses when everything in the home is not ‘just right’. What fills me with hope is that I don’t think anyone in your family is overly fussed about your behaviour. You say that your family call you ‘weird’ but I suspect that they mean that you can be mildly eccentric in your anti-clutter obsessiveness rather than the fact they think you are abnormal and need expert help. Everyone has ‘weird’ people in their families - ie members who can be a little obsessive about small things. It doesn’t mean that they are really weird - the word ‘weird’ is almost used as a term of affection in this context.

“I know it will be tough for you but you clearly need to chill a little. We both know you are always going to be a little OTT about tidiness but there are millions of people like you out there. Remember: you are doing your loved ones a favour by keeping the house looking good and uncluttered. Just try to enjoy the moment a little more and have more fun with your husband and kids even when their play might create a little disorder - and yes clutter - in your perfectly orderly existence.”

Jessica is a relationship expert for the dating site IllicitEncounters.com 


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