Comments on
The Neglected Side of Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding has attracted a great deal of media attention. These media portrayals, whether they are television, newspaper, or other illustrations of the problem, tend to be somewhat unidimensional.  

2 thoughts on “The Neglected Side of Hoarding

  • February 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I wonder how often hoarding, or problems approaching hoarding, may be aggravated by ill health and aging. If you have only so much strength and energy to go around, stuff like daily newspapers and recycling can pile up faster than they can be carried out to the bin, and this is amplified in the winter when unshoveled walks can be a sufficient threshold to prevent disposal.

    The limitations of energy are not given anywhere near the consideration they deserve.

    In addition, if a family member falls on hard times and stores stuff with you,that stuff may stay put simply because it’s not your property to dispose of, and you don’t want to (or have the energy to) make them come and get it.

    Finally, some stuff is truly valuable, whether family mementos, old furniture, electronic equipment, books, and so on. The not-quite-a-hoarder can rationally see the value of them and not be able to bring themselves to put them into less respectful hands, feeling as repulsed by the idea as by the concept of throwing kittens in the dumpster.

    These are all strong, but non-clinical, inducements to hoard.


    • June 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      That is an EXCELLENT and sensitive observation, Noni. Some, or even many, of a hoarder’s “excuses” may be far more legitimate than people assume, particularly when there are any number of inhibiting factors present. As you mention, there can be chronic health issues (at any age, actually), including fibromyalgia, arthritis, MS, emphysema, etc., and certainly prohibitive weather conditions can play a part. Additionally, there could very possibly be mental health problems exacerbating the problem (ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, separation anxiety, OCD, etc.) Add to that conditions in the home–children, pets, lack of AC or heat, too many piles to navigate efficiently (let alone injurious falls!), lack of finances…there are so many possible contributing factors! The hoarder who wants to “dig out” may also lack family and/or social support for that often-required “leg-up”, either because none is available, or because the hoarder feels too much shame to ask for help.
      Considering the factors that can compound a hoarders situation makes it easy to see why there is no nice, neat, cure-all formula for hoarding behavior.


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