A thoughtful and personal essay by Jon Day on the phenomenon of hoarding, something his own father does and that he has a tendency towards himself:

“You could argue that the hoarder’s tragedy is his inability to convince society that the objects he treasures have value. The line between ‘having a lot of stuff’ and ‘being a hoarder’ is porous, dependent to a large extent on social norms… A hoard that has been curated can become a collection; a collection that has been labelled becomes an archive (just as a collector is merely a hoarder who has space for his stuff).”

Day draws an interesting parallel between the messiness of hoarding and the idea of western psychology and psychoanalysis:

“It’s no wonder psychoanalysts have found hoarders so fascinating: making order out of disorder is the hoarder’s problem and the analyst’s process… The psychoanalytic method has a lot in common with the hoarder’s. ‘All psychoanalyses are about mess and meaning, and the links between them,’ Adam Phillips writes in ‘Clutter: A Case History’. ‘If our lives have a tendency to get cluttered, apparently by themselves but usually by ourselves, most accounts of psychoanalysis have an inclination to sort things out.’”