An introvert asks: Are introverts hoarders of stuff?

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A guy sent me this question a couple of weeks ago, and he’d love to have some opinions/comments!

I love trying to figure out what “box” I fit into regarding introvert/extrovert, enneagram , myers briggs, Kolbe. Some people hate being put in a box, but I find it fascinating, and have done all the tests I can find in an attempt to find out what statements ring true for me. I sit in the INFP for one of the tests, and thought I was an enneagram 4 for ages, but now realised that I am closer to a 5.

One of the other parts of who I am is that I hoard lots of stuff. Journals of stuff I have written, drawings, clippings, ideas. I wonder if this is related to being an introvert, or if some introverts embrace the zen minimalist thing. Sometimes I try and head down this path, after all, if there was no junk to have to store, and sort, there would be more time to enjoy the space and time to think of a cup of tea staring at the back yard. But when I do get the rare space (being married with a baby, which is a whole other conversation in trying to eek out some time and space), I want to write in a journal ideas, as dumping the ideas out is a great relief and I really enjoy doing it. But then I get a big pile of journals! And if I try and clean them up, then I open up a journal or diary and get sucked into the ideas I had back then and am lost for an hour, and cant bring myself to throw them away. Would love to hear comments on this!

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14 Comments

  1. If it has value to you, which it sounds like your journals do, then it’s not junk!

    I don’t tend to be a hoarder, and try to get rid of as much stuff as I can (hate the process, love the effect), so in that sense I’m in line with the minimalist ideas, but the point in minimizing and streamlining is that we get down to just the things we “need” and use. If you go back and read what’s in those journals occasionally, then those aren’t what you’d be wanting to get rid of when trying to streamline your stuff.

  2. I agree with Deb’s comment that if it’s valuable, it’s not junk.

    I keep journals too; I’m quite sentimental in general, it’s very hard for me to throw anything away. I don’t know it it’s an introvert thing; it’s certainly an introspective thing, if you understand what I mean. Much of what I keep are things that remind me of people or events. I still have an ipod mini that I got for my 17th birthday; my friends pooled their money and got it for me, and even though it stopped working a very long time ago, I just can’t throw it away. I also keep stuff with no sentimental value, because I think it might be useful, like boxes, gift bags, bubble wrap, etc.

  3. I used to keep a lot of stuff when I was a teenager (I’m 27 now), but have been walking toward minimalism in the last few years. I think my feeling is that too much stuff around me adds noise to my life. Just as I don’t like being around too many people, I don’t like being around too much stuff. It was a slow process, but I’ve learned to detach my memories from material things, so I’m usually ok with letting go of things with sentimental value – because the sentiment is actually inside me. As for the journals, I also used to keep piles of them, but I decided to move them to digital format, which not only occupies zero physical space, but also allows me to better organize the entries and to search by keyword. And if it is stored on the internet, I can access it from anywhere 🙂
    Erica@From the kitchen table´s last post ..Jorge

  4. Are we hoarders of stuff? I’m not sure, as just because we’re an introvert doesn’t mean we’re the same as other introverts. However I think we tend to keep stuff that has meaning to us, because they cause us to think. I have a whole bunch of papers, pages, folders and booklets, all full of drawings and writtings of thoughts, ideas, plans, movie/story ideas, poems, theories, phrases, things I want or need to remember, recollections of dreams, etc. The reason I keep all this stuff from years ago (I’m 20 now and when I moved to my new home at 17 I lost about a box load of my own writtings and this caused me to be sad, even though I properly didn’t re-read the writtings) is because its a part of me, and we introverts value our own personal experiences alot more then extroverts, even if the experience is very little.

    However bottom line is I don’t think you could really box us off as all being something, I’ve read traits of other introverts that don’t sound anything like me, or at least for the most part.

  5. Hoarder does not mean Introvert. In fact, most of the people I know who save too much junk are Extroverts! If you have ever watched that show on TV about hoarders, you would understand that most are using stuff to fill some extreme emotional need that should be met in some other way.

    Now, that said, saving journals is not hoarding any more than saving photos is. As in most things it’s going to extremes is where you get into trouble. If your living space is being over run by stuff you never use – you are a hoarder and need help.

    I too have moved my journal to the computer. It’s much easier to do a search and find the info you are looking for and not get preoccupied with other memories. I’m in my 50’s, imagine how many journals I have. 🙂

  6. I agree with Deb and the others – journals are not junk. I’ve known extroverts who hang onto all kinds of crap as well as sentimental introverts, of course. And I’ve known introverts who are such neat freaks they hardly have anything beyond their clothes and a few items. Enjoy your journals and hang onto them. They’ll be a very fun visit into the past someday!

  7. Its reallly good to know that I’m not alone! I love to live a simplistic minimalist life, but my journals are something I would never throw away… I love looking back into my life in 2008, how I thought, how I wrote, and what I said. You’d be suprised how many giggles I get and how many reaffirming statements I re-read.. I love it

  8. You are not a hoarder. A hoarder is someone who collects and keeps USELESS stuff–junk– and will not go through it, weed it out ever, or throw anything away. They have utter disorder in their lives and little pathways through their living areas. Your journals are useful and meaningful to you. Do no throw them away. You’re not a hoarder, you’re a sensitive introvert who loves ideas, writing, pondering.

  9. I agree with Diane. You’re not a hoarder. You’re sensitive and introverted like me and you like to keep your journals (just like I do). I’m in my 20’s and I have quite a few journals. What you could do is turn them into a book or two (or more, depending on how many you have) and try to get it published. Like make up this family and use your real life experiences (just change them a little so you don’t reveal any personal things about yourself that you don’t want revealed) and other stuff in the books. I’m planning to do that with my journals soon. Just try it and see what you come up with. 🙂 Good luck! ^_^

  10. I am a strong introvert and a minimalist. I weed out closets and drawers on a regular basis. Granted, I have moved many times throughout my life, and I feel that having additional “stuff” weighs me down. I am almost phobic of having stuff around unless it is useful. I have had to let go of this in the last few years after we had a child. Kids = toys and mess everywhere!!

  11. I would agree with everyone too :). Hoarders and introvert are not interrelated. I would say a person who “hoard” a lot of stuff and emotions in his/her mind is an introvert!

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