There is a subset of people with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) who are not well-described in the literature. Much is known about compulsive cleaning and compulsive hoarding, but not much is known about the other end of this spectrum- compulsive decluttering.
Compulsive decluttering, also known as obsessive compulsive spartanism and clutter phobia, is when people have severe anxiety when they accumulate stuff, and have to get rid of almost everything they own in order to have the anxiety go away. This is in contrast to compulsive hoarding, where people can’t get rid of stuff for fear of throwing out something important or fear of feeling incomplete.
For people with compulsive decluttering, they have the anxiety that they can feel in their gut about having too much stuff around, or have the fear that they are being overcrowded or smothered by stuff. So to relieve this anxiety and uncomfortable feeling, they have to get rid of stuff, to the point where almost everything is discarded or recycled out of their home. In addition, people with compulsive decluttering will buy the furniture or object they discarded, only to have them discarded again after their usefulness is outweighed by their anxiety in keeping it. And this discard/rebuy cycle can occur repeatedly.
Compulsive decluttering is similar to compulsive cleaning, a common compulsion seen in OCD. Compulsive decluttering is also on the opposite spectrum of compulsive hoarding, and people can end up anywhere on that spectrum. But compulsive decluttering becomes problematic when you spend all your time and energy getting rid of stuff, and having to spend enormous amounts of money to buy the same objects back again, only to get rid of them when the anxiety builds back up when keeping too many objects around.
Compulsive decluttering is treatable, as it is a form of OCD. Learn more about compulsive decluttering and other anxiety problems by visiting the rest of AnxietyBoss.com.