Posted by: Sound Organizing | January 24, 2011


Numerous people refer to themselves as hoarders when in fact they are not.  Unfortunately, with shows such as Hoarders and Oprah spotlighting the issue, there is a sort of craze surrounding hoarding.

A hoarder and clutterer will both accumulate many things to the point of it becoming a problem. But there are differences.  Hoarding is a serious psychological condition that can only be diagnose by a psychiatrist.  It is estimated that only about 1% of the population are confirmed hoarders.

Hoarders obsessively gather and save items with very little or no value.  They also have sentimental attachments to every thing including garbage and broken objects.  Because of this attachment, there is severe anxiety around discarding anything.

Eventually, the stuff multiplies and the hoarder may be driven from certain rooms or even from the entire home.  Help for a hoarder typically requires professional help.  Hoarding may be diagnosed on its own or as a symptom of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or ADHD.

Cluttering, on the other hand, affects millions of people and is not labeled as a psychiatric disorder.  A clutterer’s possessions will normally not force them out of certain rooms or their home.  They can be somewhat organized while a hoarder is not.

A clutterer can be emotionally attached to their stuff but does not save garbage and has less of a difficult time getting rid of stuff.  They are also more likely to be able to control the clutter on their own if motivated to do so.

For more information on hoarding please visit The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).


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