Clutter and Obsessive Hoarding


Obsessive hoarding behavior causes some major problems. The first of which is danger to one’s physical and mental well-being. The second one is danger to the community. Another issue brought about by the increased accumulation of material possessions is the compromised structural integrity of the hoarder’s home.

If you have seen any of the recent television shows about hoarding, then you probably noticed that almost all of the houses (of people with hoarding problems) are filled with combustible materials. Whether the hoarder was had a collection of old hats or newspapers, it doesn’t matter. The hoard becomes very combustible and if a fire started it could also put other homes in the community at risk.

In addition, it is also common for a hoarder to have difficulty in disposing of day-to-day garbage such as empty food packages, containers, wrappers, drink bottles, cans, plastic cups, etc. The accumulation of these types of waste (which usually end up on the floor of the home) attracts lots of pests, including (but not limited to) mice and cockroaches.

Full-blown infestations are not unusual, and yet these circumstances do not even prompt the hoarder to seek help. The reasoning is often «I’ll deal with it tomorrow,next week,next month» or «I’m okay even if the problems are there».

Hoarders have a very hard time getting rid of anything. Even when they are advised by local authorities that they need to get rid off some of the items, they still continue to keep and sometimes even add more stuff to the hoard. In many cases, the hoarders constant accumulation of stuff prompts the city to step in and forcibly haul the stuff away.

While this may solve the sanitary or fire hazard issues for a couple of weeks, this forceful approach will never be effective. It does not solve the problem. The causes of the hoarding behavior were just swept under the rug, but the problem itself was not properly addressed, nor was any care or understanding given to the person who needed it the most. Without proper treatment, a hoarder will simply re-accumulate all the material possessions within a several months.

After a few months, the city council or fire department will probably be perplexed again because the hoard has been re-accumulated and they are back there once again to address the same problem.To a person who does not suffer from hoarding behavior or has never seen the home of a hoarder, the idea of having so much stuff (to the point of endangering oneself and one’s family) is at best, puzzling.

Maria L Jackson