Ever since the introduction of television shows like “Hoarders” and the rest of them that followed, the term “hoarding’, in my opinion, is now too commonly used. It’s estimated that between 2% and 5% of the North American population exhibit some type of hoarding behaviour. We are a society of stuff and most of us have more stuff than we need. What really constitutes a person with a hoarding disorder?
Acquiring items – Is it really a hobby?
Everyone needs a hobby. Hobbies show the world what we are interested in and can be very relaxing, easing a lot of tension. Some of you collect stamps, records, pop bottles and anything else you can think of and I personally have seen some very interesting displays of things that people collect.
Acquiring items can be an emotional experience for you and it feels good to you to purchase and to have items. However, when the collecting of items begins to impact your life in a negative way such that your collection has taken over, it’s no longer a hobby. You may have a tendency to hoard.
Has your social life been affected?
Hoarding is normally a source of embarrassment to the individual with hoarding tendencies such that you no longer want to have anyone over for fear of anyone seeing the way you live or the state that your home has become. Many people with hoarding tendencies become reclusive and lack the human interaction that we all need.
Do you have an excuse or rationale for keeping everything?
If you have a hoarding tendency you’re very good at rationalizing the need to keep what you have. “It’s worth something” or “I may need it one day” are common statements you may make. True “hoarders” are very creative and can see a use for anything and everything that is acquired. Possessions become part of your identity and therefore are hard to deal with. De-cluttering is typically a bad word in the vocabulary of persons with a hoarding disorder.
Have you been injured getting around your home?
Have you tripped and fallen over something in your home because there is too much to be stored properly? Are rooms not accessible due to the unorganized piles of goods in them? Has your home become something of a safety hazard?
Too many unorganized possessions can become a trip or a fire hazard or even a health hazard if mould starts to appear. Your collection and your possessions have value but not if they’re are a hazard to you.
Does what you keep have true value?
Take a real hard look at what you collect or have accumulated. Are you keeping old newspapers and magazines? What about clothes that no longer fit or are worn or you’ve not worn for a long time? Do you have any small appliances that you know you will get around to fixing “some day”? These types of items my have no real sentimental nor monetary value and therefore there may be no valid reason to hang onto them.
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or in a loved one it may be time to address it before it gets out of control.
Start with a small project that you know will take minimal time to sort and edit. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and spur you on to continue. If you need assistance seek out the help of family or friends or a professional.
If you need professional help ClutterBGone has many years of compassionate experience in helping people de-clutter in the Toronto area. Just contact me here.