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Overall, people tend to relate to their homes in one of four different attachment styles.
These reflect different states of balance – or imbalance – between order and chaos.
As in many areas of life, our relationship with our homes and possessions is a constantly shifting dance between these two forces: order and chaos, yin and yang. Order is what creates structure and boundaries, enabling us to navigate life and to function effectively. Chaos is the open and unstructured space we all need for spontaneity, creativity and play.
Here are the four attachment styles that I believe characterise the way people relate to their homes and the objects within them.
If you are able to identify which of these, or what combination of them, applies to you, it might help you make a psychological shift and understand how to establish a better relationship with your home.
This is when you have a healthy relationship with your home. It is neither neglected nor obsessively tidy, reflecting a good balance between order and chaos.
We understand the importance of secure relationships with parents when it comes to healthy development in childhood. I believe that similarly, it’s vital that people have a secure connection to their home – and that this can bring many psychological benefits.
The grounding effect of a nurturing and integrated home can provide both a haven from the stresses and demands of life, and a secure base from which to venture forth into the world with confidence.
People with this attachment style find they can’t relax unless they feel absolutely everything in the home is perfectly ordered and under their control. An excessive desire for order has taken over.
As the critics of hardcore decluttering rightly identify, the healthy maxim: ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ can be carried to an unhealthy extreme.
Instead of bringing peace and ease, the impulse to create order becomes an unhelpful and stressful control system orchestrated by a critical inner voice.
In this situation, people may experience a part of themselves continually telling them that they are not okay unless their environment is perfect.
A particularly unhealthy aspect of this is that it leaves little room for relaxation, spontaneity and play.
A fastidious attachment type might see you feeling anxious if even one item is out of place (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Hoarding behaviour is characterised by collecting so many things that the home becomes unsafe or seriously detrimental to a person’s quality of life.
There are many factors behind hoarding. These can vary from underlying mental health issues to strongly held beliefs developed in childhood about acquiring and discarding things.
Hoarding is often an attempt to find a way of coping with stressful life events or burying serious trauma. There is also often serious imbalance in how much psychological value is attached to the hoarded objects.
Paradoxically, although hoarding leads to very cluttered homes, it is …read more