By: Becky Esker, President, Get Organized! LLC
clutter become “hoarding”? Or better yet, does too much
clutter lead to hoarding?
Compulsive hoarding is a potentially
serious mental issue. There are thoughts among the scientific
community that it’s a “wiring” issue of the brain. Some connect
it to obsessive- compulsive disorders and others to impulse
Hoarding is defined as the acquisition and
failure to dispose of large quantities of items, which are of
little use or value (Frost & Gross, 2003). However, to the
hoarder, these items are considered valuable and needed. This
is because the hoarder has a distorted and abnormal view of an
item’s value. Many times, hoarders will determine an item has
value simply because someone else finds it to be valuable.
Take this scenario, two friends are
shopping at a yard sale (hoarders love the variety and hunting
challenge of yard sales), one buys a weed-eater because he/she
really needs one. The other, the hoarder, also buys a
Ironically, the hoarder lives in a condo
and doesn’t have a yard to care for. The weed-eater has no
obvious use for the hoarder. But, because the hoarder’s friend
finds it valuable, the hoarder determines it must be valuable.
In fact, the hoarder will create a need. ie: I’ve thought
about moving to a home with a yard, so I could need it; I bet my
sister could use a new one; or I’ve been thinking about becoming
a seller on ebay, I think I can re-sell it online.
Essentially, many hoarders determine value based on what others
perceive as valuable.
Clutter, on the other hand can be a sign of
hoarding. Yet, in many cases, clutter is simply the result of
the inability to keep up with the household. Many clutterers do
know what has value and can let-go of items, but simply have
gotten behind on the household chores for whatever reason.
are an estimated 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United
States thought to have compulsive hoarding syndrome, clutter
does not always lead to compulsive hoarding. Nevertheless,
clutterers and hoarders both will likely need to consult with a
therapist and/or professional organizer for assistance in
putting order back into their life.