Would you believe that you could be a hoarder and not even realize it? Experts say there's a new crop of hoarders these days - and they're not collecting piles of pizza boxes, or old clothes. Instead, they're hoarding digital stuff, like thousands of emails, text messages, and photos.
Digital hoarding may not sound like a big deal because it's mess-free. But experts warn it's just as serious as hoarding animals or trash. Since it programs your brain to think that hoarding in general is OK. David Nowell is a neuropsychologist - and he says digital hoarding is a huge problem. Because there's so much available storage, we don't have to make decisions anymore. We keep everything. And that cyber-clutter slows down your thinking. It creates anxiety because digital hoarders are afraid of losing things - like a simple text message.
And a lot of digital hoarders are young men. They spend so much time and money amassing collections of music, games and gadgets that they withdraw from the real world. They can't pay their rent or buy food, but they do have the latest games.
So, how can you tell if you're a digital hoarder - or are just plain old lazy when it comes to cleaning out your inbox or DVR? Well, the definition of hoarding is accumulating items beyond the point of usefulness. And experts say that "accumulating" crosses the line into "hoarding" when it gets in the way of your relationships or responsibilities. Experts say if that describes you, then meet with a therapist that specializes in treating hoarders. Because it's not enough to just hit "delete" on your 26,000 saved emails. It's important to take care of why you were hoarding emails in the first place.