Many of our clients refer to themselves as “hoarders”. A lot of people use the term to describe others who have more possessions than they think they should have. Individuals that have been medically diagnosed as a hoarder typically require specialty services relating to de-cluttering and much more than just downsizing and organizing services.
What is Hoarding?
Hoarding is the overwhelming difficulty of throwing away or getting rid of one’s possessions. It is often classified as a compulsive behavior. The possessions could range from plastic bags to old newspapers and magazines. Regardless of the items accumulated the value of them are irrelevant to the owner. Those with this compulsive behavior accumulate a large quantity of possessions, which is what makes this behavior stand out in comparison to other people. The compulsive behavior, which is associated with hoarding, can also be related to compulsive buying, compulsive collecting of free items, or a compulsive search for the perfect item. An individual diagnosed with hoarding is unable to let go of any item, regardless of the value.
Hoarding is not to be confused with collecting. The behavior of collectors is often prideful in regards to their possessions and are proud to display their items. Collectors are also more organized than hoarders.
What are the Symptoms of Hoarding?
Individuals with a hoarding disorder often demonstrate severe anxiety when attempting to get rid of an item, or have the inability to discard their possessions to make space for new ones. Those affected with this compulsive behavior often find it difficult to organize their belongings, as they often feel unsettled about where to keep them. In some cases, they even feel unsettled about their possessions, and often act suspicious of other people touching any of the items. This compulsive behavior causes obsessive thoughts of their items whereabouts, or possibly not having enough of one particular item.
Why Do People Hoard?
The compulsive thoughts associated with hoarding are often that the individual believes they need the item for future use, feel a strong sentimental value towards it, feel it is irreplaceable, or they got such a great deal that they don’t want to throw it away. In some cases hoarding may be a disorder on its own; however, it is a common symptom of other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or depression.
How Does Hoarding Affect One’s Quality of Life?
Hoarding diminishes one’s quality of life considerably. Due to a considerable number of possessions, the hoarder’s living space may become unhealthy or even dangerous. Many hoarders will live without basic comforts, and cope with things such as broken appliances or furnace in order to avoid somebody coming into their living space to fix the problem. In many cases, this behavior causes issues among the individual’s family, from feelings of anger and resentment to depression. Hoarding can affect the social development of children who live in the space, and can have an impact on the family structure from divorce to loss of child custody. Hoarding can cause the living space to be unlivable, which may lead to eviction. Serious financial problems can occur as well.
What are the Effects of Hoarding?
As a result, hoarding behavior can be damaging and affects both the individuals with the hoarding behavior and their family members. This behavior can affect those on many levels, including emotional, physical and social, as well as financial and/or legal. In some cases, due to the loss of living space because of the large quantity of items, the living conditions can cause health problems.
So you see, hoarding is much more than just being disorganized and having clutter in the home. Hoarders typically don’t see a problem with their behavior and rarely reach out for assistance on their own.
If you need help with your organizing and clutter challenges look no further than your professional organizing team at ClutterBGone. ClutterBGone is proud to serve Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, including York and Durham regions. From home organizing and downsizing, to small office organizing, ClutterBGone is here to liberate you from your clutter!