Obsessive-Compulsive Spartanism

Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism, also known as Obsessive Decluttering, is usually seen as a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Unlike hoarding, obsessive decluttering does not have its own entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Those who experience this face the issue of having an obsession with clearing the area or the house, and they will not feel better until this is done. As obsessive decluttering is considered a subtype of OCD, the symptoms are similar, save that the obsessions experienced revolve around clearing things out. 

 

Obsessive Decluttering vs Being Tidy

Being tidy as a person could mean that you cannot stand to see items cluttered, old newspapers in a pile at the door, and you always prefer to wipe the countertop after cooking so that the oil does not stick. Obsessive decluttering differs from simply being tidy in that it manifests in a more extreme manner.

A person experiencing obsessive decluttering believes that certain objects affect his/her life negatively, and therefore must be thrown out, even if the objects are of use. For example, giving away all the chairs in the house resulting in not having chairs to sit on. Then, proceeding to buy chairs only to repeat the behaviour again. This forms an obsessive-compulsive cycle that is detrimental to one’s life.

 

Why is It a Problem?

Unlike hoarding which sticks out as abnormal, obsessive decluttering does not. In our current social climate, we have been going for the “less is more” approach, with a preference for the minimalistic approach. Therefore, someone with obsessive decluttering might seem like a “role model” to some, resulting in them failing to view it as a problem. However, obsessive decluttering can indeed pose difficulties for those who experience it.

Financial Burdens

When someone suffers from obsessive decluttering, they tend to focus on specific objects they want to remove from the area or house. For example, it could be text messages on the phone, the television, specific furniture and so on. If the object of obsession is a material good like a table or TV, it could result in the person throwing out the item, then having to repurchase the item as they need it, and the cycle continues. Should the object of obsession be something expensive, it could greatly increase the financial burden the person suffers from this condition.

Negative Impact on Life

If the obsession is with something like text messages on the phone, it could negatively impact the social life of the person. Imagine having to delete all the texts on your phone every night in order to be able to sleep. You could end up losing important text messages or having to ask people what the conversation was about. It would also negatively impact work as text messages from work could also be deleted. 

 

What Should You Do?

If you suspect that you suffer from obsessive decluttering, you should see a therapist, preferably one that specialises in OCD. As mentioned, obsessive decluttering can cause significant problems just like any subtype of OCD. It would be beneficial to seek help to manage it so that it does not affect your daily life.

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