While doing an assessment on the phone the person states they are a hoarder. I hear that term often from the caller. Now more than ever, due to reality shows like Hoarders or Buried Alive you hear this term used so often. People use it even when they really aren’t “HOARDERS”. These people may be packrats, which may be defined as people who gather, accumulate and store quantities of items in too small of spaces, for too long, for many reasons. Hoarding is one of many types of characteristics that fall under the umbrella of Chronic Disorganization.
In my 10yrs of experience and including taking classes on chronic disorganization, my opinion is this: That hoarders are described as people who are emotionally attached to their things, beyond the norm. Including trash ( as defined as items soiled ,damaged, expired, unhealthy, worthless, or nonsense). They place a higher value on these items and sometimes have irrational reasons why they hold on to them. They will acquire such stuff and will put themselves in harms way in order to keep these items in their physical space. They will choose to give up all human support & interaction due to these habits. They will jeopardize their home and live in filth,squalor, and danger to themselves and the dwelling’s structure. In extreme cases they will become homeless in order to hold onto their prized accumulations.
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization offers this:
“What is the definition of chronic disorganization?”
“Chronic disorganization is having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed, an undermining of current quality of life due to disorganization, and the expectation of future disorganization.
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Hoarding is a clinical term now recognized by the American Psychological Association and is included in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). In the current edition, DSM-V, this disorder, Hoarding, is newly defined . After so many years, it is now being studied , researched and being evaluated individually. It is also a symptom of several mental disorders & diseases and can co-exist with these.
Professional Organizers ask pertinent questions when doing an assessment so we can best serve the individuals. We do not judge people, and quite often find people use the “Hoarding” term too much. It’s become a generic label, people use falsely to describe themselves. It’s negative connotations will NOT forward your growth or the process.
Labeling yourself as a hoarder can ultimately give you a negative self image. It will dis-empower you. Instead get some assistance and start getting your place in order so you can feel alive again!