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How A Closet Collapse Is The Sign That I've Hit Rock Bottom With My Hoarding Habit

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One woman shares her story of how she knew she had hit rock bottom with her obsessive hoarding.

"I grew up in a house where hoarding was normal. My mom is a hoarder, and my dad tolerated her behavior. I now see myself sliding down a very slippery slope into the same dangerous territory.

Let me explain. My family home in South Carolina consists of five bedrooms for our family of four. When my brother and I left home, my mother took over all of our closets for her massive collections of handbags, shoes and suits. My dad even built her a custom closet in the spare bedroom.

My mom amassed tremendous amounts of clothing because when she loses or gains weight, she buys a new wardrobe and doesn't throw anything away. Once, she had a garage sale and we hoped that she'd be getting rid of some of her stuff. Instead, she sold my things to make room for her belongings in my closet.

This obsessive collecting has started to creep into my own life. Hoarding is in my DNA, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Growing up, I was always very organized about my belongings, but there were hints that hoarding was in my future. I needed to know where everything was so that when I got dirty I could run inside and change. My family says I would change multiple times a day.

Once I was a professional earning my own income, things got bad -- my online shopping addiction took over. Around the same time I moved to Philadelphia, where my habits weren't as closely watched and my storage space was limited. While I may have sacrificed closet space, I sure didn't curb my shopping.

I have one closet in my current apartment. The closet is small (it measures 29 inches wide by 79 inches high), and I have open shelving where I store my shoes and handbags. I have a bedroom dresser that is stuffed to the max as well as numerous plastic storage units under the bed. I use suitcases as shoe storage, too.

There are many problems with this situation, one of which is that I don't get much wear out of my clothing because I can't see it all. I stumble across things that I've bought that still have tags on them.

Thankfully, it's not a financial crisis -- yet. I never shop on credit; I only shop with cash and I know the limits of my budget. But I know that I'm addicted: I love the thrill of a good deal.

Then, I hit rock bottom. When I moved into my current apartment the metal closet racks were already damaged from the previous tenant. Since DIY isn't my strong suit, I ignored it and hoped for the best. But things took a turn for the worse when I kept loading my new purchases onto the already weak frame. One Sunday night, while watching "Game of Thrones," I heard the inside of my closet collapse. I groaned, because I knew exactly the mess that was waiting for me behind those two doors.

I slowly opened the doors and then quickly slammed them shut again. That's when I realized I had become my mother and was officially a hoarder.

Since then, I've given in. I've succumbed to it, allowing it to stay that way. To make matters worse, I've begun piling my clothes on top of the mess, like a widow throwing herself on a funeral pyre.

In my eyes, the only solution is a new apartment with a bigger closet. Though it may not sound like it, I am learning to deal with my addiction. I've become obsessed with closet organization: I watch YouTube videos and I plan on investing in Huggable Hangers to conserve space.

I know I have work ahead of me in order to curb my hoarding tendencies. I'm going to have to let go of many of my prized possessions. I've held onto things that haven't seen the light of day since the late '90s -- those have to go.

But I'm not gonna stop shopping. Instead, I can focus my talents on my new home. Rather than a new pair of shoes, I'll be looking for a new couch."

Are you in need of some organization? Here, some of our best tips:

The Best Cleaning & Organizing Tips
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