With the interest in minimalism, the opposite has also been more visible – hoarding. There are a few key ways to know if you are truly hoarding or just disorganized. We frequently get questions at our Tigard, Oregon storage, Safeguard Mini Storage, about a loved one who is “hoarding.” In order to properly address the issue, which is very real and important, it is important to understand what hoarding is and the profile of a hoarder.
One: Hoarding is a mental health issue
As a general rule, hoarding is a behavior that comes with a history of mental illness, usually obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and/or major depressive disorder. Hoarders may be survivors of past trauma or have had a period of time that their basic needs weren’t met. Along with this profile, hoarders have difficulty making decisions and suffer significant anxiety when they need to throw things away.
Two: Hoarders are paralyzed by indecision and anxiety
When a person is hoarding, they are terrified to dispose of material belongings, often stating that they don’t want to be without a specific item for a few reasons. Typically, they are afraid that if they discard of an item that they will need it at a later date or fear that they will somehow throw away something that is of monetary value.
People who are truly hoarding have the challenge of being unable to make decisions, which causes escalation in their depression, further fueling their emotional paralysis to change their situation, and so on. These people don’t need judgment, rather assistance in conquering their compulsive need to maintain items.
Three: Hoarding is not collecting
Often, people mistake obsessive collections as hoarding. This is not the case. Those with collections value their items and display them proudly. Hoarding is not being able to discard anything. Hoarders are unable to use rooms for their intended purposes, have piles of items surrounding them, making their home unusable. This is far different than someone collecting clown dolls, no matter how creepy they are.
When we frivolously use a term such as “hoarding,” by throwing it around in normal conversation, we’re not giving due respect to the serious issues that are present in the life of a true hoarder.
It’s important to remember that one who is truly hoarding has a mental health condition and needs help. For those that are dealing with a hoarding situation, there are organizations, such as the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, to help.
For those who need a place to store those creepy clown dolls while you are long-term house sitting, come see us at Safeguard Mini Storage in ZIP 97223.