Perhaps you wonder if your family member is a “hoarder.” You may even harbor secret fears about yourself! We all have cherished possessions. From trophies to teacups. Spare buttons to cans of half-used paint.
To save things is normal. To hoard compulsively is not.
Most of us can determine when we have “enough.” And we can decide to stop buying things and/or start donating or recycling things or throwing them away. Hoarding is different. The formal definition of a person with a hoarding disorder is a person who acquires and fails to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value lives or works in spaces so cluttered they cannot be used as originally intended has significant distress and/or problems in everyday life that are caused by the hoarding behavior. What’s “normal” in home clutter occurs across a spectrum. The disorder of hoarding falls at the far end of this spectrum and can include:
Families who try a “let’s just do it!” approach usually end up estranged. Next month, we’ll outline signs of a hoarding problem and strategies to help reduce the chance of conflict.