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The opposite of hoarding might be obsessive-compulsive spartanism. This term seems to have developed on the Internet to describe people who habitually throw possessions out or give them away. Evidence about obsessive decluttering is largely anecdotal. As the name implies, this decluttering behavior may be obsessive-compulsive, but as of 2011 the American Psychiatric Association has not declared it a psychiatric disorder. Hoarding, however, may soon be acknowledged as a psychiatric disorder and is categorized as an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V.
Many people enjoy sifting through old items in the attic, garage or basement and having a yard sale to earn a little extra cash. Discarding old possessions can often create a sense of satisfaction. People who habitually throw things out bring a new definition to the term neat freak. Obsessive-compulsive spartanism describes a syndrome in which people feel compelled to rid themselves of belongings.
Reports on the Internet indicate that people will compulsively discard items like clothes, books and even expensive electronics and furniture in an effort to free themselves from what they consider to be clutter. It seems that people who compulsively throw objects out are overwhelmed by possessions. Fewer belongings makes them feel more in control of their life and surroundings.
Few studies have been conducted on obsessive-compulsive spartanism, and much of the evidence about this behavior seems to be anecdotal. One mother reported that her daughter constantly discarded clothes and shoes and kept asking for new ones. Another individual compulsively gave away the expensive gifts from his children. Some people will habitually purchase items in order to throw them out. Others live with little or no furniture, as one woman who threw out all the chairs in her house.
Occasionally, people who habitually discard possessions suffer from a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or dementia. As the name obsessive-compulsive spartanism implies, however, most people who habitually throw away possessions seem to have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, compulsion is any behavior like hand washing, saying words, or counting that a person feels compelled to perform over and over again. These actions are repetitively performed by people in an effort to control their obsessive, painful thoughts.