An image of a large wooden bookshelf filled with books, with a small chair beside it.


A perfectly organised walk-in closet, the walls a clean white, hundreds of possessions lined neatly. A bold entryway, lined with art and textiles, each item with aesthetic or personal value; that feeling of being cocooned with beauty and importance. Luxury hauls, extreme acts of spending, forgotten bags of designer items; so much, but never enough. Too much to live, but too little to occupy the vast expanse which you feel surrounding you.

Maximalists, materialists, and hoarders are not all one and the same. So, what are the differences?


Luxurious interiors, deep and bright colours in perfect contrast, paintings lining walls and collectable possessions decorating dark wood surfaces. The scent of expensive candles, a drinks globe and personal bar. Objects perfectly chosen and designed to bring joy to the mundane of the everyday. If minimalism is the joy of less, then perhaps maximalism would be best defined as the joy of more. It seems, though, that maximalists aren’t simply on quests to earn the highest number of possessions, but rather to have a life richly decorated by the things which they do choose to own. In some ways, maximalism relies on finding value in material objects, but it differs from materialism in the sense that maximalists, more often than not, surround themselves with things which specifically enrich their life.


The pulling feeling, towards the item which you know you need. You have to have it, it’s important. The longing for the material, which never quite goes away, no matter how much you gain. The endless quest for more, the nagging desire that this will be the thing which improves your life, this is valuable, important, fulfilling. The literal definition of materialism is: a person who considers material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. However, materialism is somewhat more complex than this. Many materialists may lean on both, material possessions and spirituality or religion. Materialists, at their heart, are looking for meaning in things. For some, that meaning and value lies in the price of the possession, and for those people their materialistic view may lead to luxury hoarding.


Items crammed on top of each other, great stacks of unread books gathering dust, closets bursting at the seams with clothing, unworn and forgotten mountains of textiles. The carpeted floor invisible underneath piles of things, nowhere for them to go, surfaces littered with things which fall and get lost amidst the wasteland of possessions. Unlike maximalism, or even materialism, hoarding is a symptom of a wider problem. Categorised as a disorder, hoarding is an unhealthy attachment to collecting and keeping possessions, with great reluctance to declutter the possessions, no matter their usefulness or value. Hoarding can result in a difficult or debilitating life experience, surrounded by clutter and held down by the emotional turbulence of the condition.

Do you see yourself in any of these definitions?

Featured image: Pickawood via Unsplash.


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