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A Hoarder? A Collector? A Clutter-Bug?


When we talk about moving,, downsizing and disorganization – it’s inevitable that the word ‘hoarding’ gets tossed around. While it can be frustrating and overwhelming to deal with a large amount of stuff, we’d like to clear up some confusion about hoarding, collecting and clutter.


We’d like to start off by addressing that hoarding is actually a spectrum of disorders, as confirmed by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. It is also defined in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders here. The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding as the “excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them.” The father of hoarding psychology, Randy Frost, likens hoarders to artists – believing that they have a heightened sensitivity and imagination about objects that most of us don’t. People who are hoarders have a fundamentally different attachment to objects; letting go for them can be a tremendous, terrible struggle and requires psychological insight, intense understanding and absolute patience. If you feel that a loved one has a true hoarding disorder, please consider professional assistance. The Institute For Challenging Disorders offers a wide range of resources, including access to the Clutter-Hoarding Scale and publications for the public that you can download. Sensitivity and kindness should serve as the platform for any discussion you have with a loved one about hoarding tendencies and behavior.


So what about collecting and cluttering? Do these less serious challenges present any simpler solutions? While often bothersome and inconvenient, managing a large collection is often associated with pleasure, pride and a desire to display or share your items with others. Hoarding is often associated with feelings of shame, embarrassment and secrecy. Clutter is the result of an accumulation of life really… and not having the time, energy or know-how of knowing what to get rid of, but often possessing a desire to do so. In short, it’s often less difficult to ask for help and to complete a clear-out process if you are a collector or clutter-bug!


Does this mean that it is EASY to get rid of stuff… or that only hoarders need professional help? Absolutely not! It just means that the level of help, the amount of time required and the roots of your belongings will vary. Moving often exacerbates the process of needing to reduce the number of items you have (from both a cost and space perspective), but we are here to help you manage your clutter and respect your passions/hobbies whether you are downsizing, relocating or staying right where you are!


Please reach out for a complimentary one-hour consultation on how to minimize the stress of minimizing your stuff!


All our best,


Helen & Julie



Resources Used:


Clutter vs. Hoarding vs. Collecting


Is it Hoarding, Clutter, Collecting, or Squalor?


Welcome to My Hoarded House: The Fine Line Between Clutter and Hoarding

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization



Hoarding Disorder Basics




Helen Ingwersen