Hoard1Lots of TV shows, lots of discussion on hoarding – it seems to be the “in” word to use.  Sadly, it’s not always being applied correctly and care should be taken when referring to anyone as a “hoarder”.  

Hoarding is a disorder, a complex issue and there is no easy solution.
The following definition is from ICD (Institute of Challenging Disorganization) …
Experts on compulsive hoarding use the following characteristics to define those with Hoarding Disorder:

  1. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  2. Living spaces that are sufficiently cluttered as to preclude their intended use
  3. Significant distress or impairment caused by the clutter

Think carefully before you label yourself or anyone else a hoarder.  If stuff in your home has become overwhelming, you’ve been through a period where you have not been able to maintain your organising systems or bad habits have creeped in, you may just be disorganised and overwhelmed with clutter.  Revisit the definition above and assess if this is you – “acquiring & failure to discard possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value”, “spaces sufficiently cluttered so they are not used for their intended use”.
Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2%-6% of the population in the USA and often leads to substantial distress and disability.  In Australia, it is estimated that between 400,000 and one million Australians have a problem with hoarding.  (www.swinburne.edu.au/chancellery/mediacentre/media-centre/news/2012/10/hoarding-and-dsm-5)
It is not limited by age, race, gender or nationality, nor any educational or socio-economic level.  It can begin early in life but is more common in older adults.
CONSEQUENCES:   Hoarding disorder can impair social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.  Potential consequences of serious hoarding include health and safety concerns, such as fire hazards, tripping hazards and health code violations.  It can also lead to family strain and conflicts, isolation and loneliness, unwillingness to have anyone else enter the home, and an inability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing in the home.
If you suspect your loved one is a hoarder, then you should seek help from experienced professionals.  Please do not undertake clear outs without the person’s authority as your keenness to help may actually cause harm.
allsorters may be able to assist.  If not, we know the experts you should consult …

Mary, the allsorter