User Tag List

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 17 of 17

Thread: Hoarding, when does clutter cross the line into pathological?

  1. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    Great description! The snag I run into is that this interweaves with frugality - like a lot of things actually will be useful to have someday, rather than buying them again, even if they really are used rarely. Like tape, and nails, and candles. I realize that there's a "totally ok" level of keeping things in case you need them later, and an obvious "hoarding" level of keeping things around "in case" you need them later, but in between there's a big fuzzy grey area where I'm not sure where the line really is. Containers are also tricky because it's awesome to not have to buy them, but at some point collecting the empty ones does get excessive.

    <---lots of space and hoarding tendencies for useful things, to the point where people make fun of me

    I guess as long as it's not having a negative effect on your life, it's probably ok....
    Yeah I agree. I see some of those tendencies in myself (and it scares me a little bit). I’m not sure where “the line” is, but I think what you say about a negative effect on your life is probably a good way to measure just about anything. I personally would prefer to give myself some cushion on the “healthy” side of that line and will sometimes go through purges to make sure I know I’m still capable of getting rid of things (or after I’ve spent a significant amount of time at my parents’ place. I used to feel a lot of anxiety getting rid of something, because I would hear my mom saying all those different reasons I should keep it. Now I feel kind of free and happy getting rid of stuff, a lot more healthy than when I was younger. I wonder if it is the anxiety feeling of getting rid of stuff that has to do with the healthy vs unhealthy.

    • Knowing where things are
    • Being able to access things that you want to use
    • Being able to throw something away without causing yourself anxiety

    It is sad, but in this one respect at least, I just look at what my mom is and try my best NOT to be like that.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  2. #12


    Also, I realize that I have a remarkable ability to make do with pretty much NOTHING, so that allays my fears of not having "enough" of something.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  3. #13
    lab rat extraordinaire Array CrystalViolet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    5w4 sx/sp


    Ha, Ha....I was kinda taking it personal. Your post made me feel better, and gave some perspective on the matter. I was curious too.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

  4. #14


    Glad I could help. And I agree, it is curious, and hard to understand, even for people who experience it firsthand. The disorder does seem to be getting all kinds of media attention now, which is hopefully a good thing for research and progress and for making it less stigmatized.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  5. #15
    wants Mifune clone minion Array Z Buck McFate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    5w4 sx/sp


    I read an article not long ago (I tried to find it just now, but can’t remember where I saw it) about a guy who killed himself because he was forced to get rid of his *stuff* at a faster pace than he could handle. He lived in an apartment. When he went on vacation, the landlord got concerned about his mail piling up- and went into the apartment to check on him. He came home to find out he’d been evicted (the apartment was deemed a health hazard) and he had to get rid of everything immediately. He killed himself a week later because- he explained in a note- he didn’t know how to go on without his stuff. If I remember correctly, the exact words were “I tried but life has lost all its meaning”. His friends and neighbors said he was a kind and gentle guy, and that he jokingly referred to his *stuff* as his “identity”. He’d actually lived in fear of it being taken away from him for quite a while prior to it actually happening.

    So yeah, like others have said- it isn’t just about clutter. A depressed person (or lazy or way-too-busy-to-clean or whatever) might actually feel relieved that another party came along and intervened to get rid of the clutter; but for a hoarder, the clutter is there because there’s a really strong emotional attachment to stuff and they feel an unbearable sense of ‘loss’ when they try to get rid of it. If you can manage to clean a place up when time frees up to do so- enough to where you could have guests over without batting an eye- then you’re NOT a hoarder. When you can’t have people over because there’s too much clutter- which you can’t get yourself to part with because it all feels too important no matter how much time you spend ‘trying’ to clean it- then there’s a problem.
    Last edited by Z Buck McFate; 08-16-2011 at 10:29 AM.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  6. #16
    Senior Member Array Viridian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    It's a very irrational, psychological thing, not much is understood about the underlying causes or ways to treat it. People with compulsive hoarding keep waaaay more than they need or use or even could potentially use, but with the idea that they will use it one day, or that it reminds them of something or someone, or that they will be giving it to someone.
    Ha, I think that a lot; that's why I keep a lot of papers - and some nostalgic scraps - in my drawer.

  7. #17


    Here's an article I came across.

    Pretty dense, a lot of info (have only got about 1/2 way through so far), but it goes into the psychology a bit, the current research:

    Hoarding treatment begins with a person acknowledging the underlying problems that fuel hoarding behavior. The reasons for hoarding differ depending on the person, and treatment is challenging because people who hoard often do not realize their behavior is a problem or they are socially isolated and ashamed due to the condition of their home. Sometimes, they resist treatment because they think it will involve simply clearing out the clutter.

    “Just cleaning out the stuff does not address the underlying psychological issues,” Shulman says. “It’s not a clutter problem; it’s a perception/thinking problem.”
    According to Steketee, no single condition causes hoarding. Contributing factors or stressors may include the following:

    • being raised in a chaotic home or one with confusing family context, or moving frequently;
    • cognitive processing issues that affect decision making and problem solving;
    • attention-deficit disorder;
    • anxiety and/or depression;
    • excessive guilt about waste; and
    • genetics and family history because hoarding behavior runs in families.

    “Hoarding can also occur in people with dementia, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD],” says Steketee, “but it is not clear that the features and causes are the same.”

    Currently, there is a common misperception that hoarding is caused primarily by OCD or anxiety. But although anxiety or compulsion may contribute to hoarding behavior, researchers now believe hoarding is not a type of OCD, and anxiety is not the primary driving force, Steketee explains.

    For example, hoarders may experience anxiety or stress due to obsessive thoughts, such as grief over someone’s death or the loss of important things in their life, or perfectionist thinking. Hoarding helps prevent them from experiencing that anxiety or reduces the severity of it. Accumulating may be calming for the hoarder, Shulman says.

    “Focusing on ‘things’ deflects the focus from the thought processes actually causing anxiety,” says Shulman.

    “Hoarding may induce feelings of safety and security and/or reinforce identity,” adds Steketee.

    The exact causes of hoarding are still uncertain, and research on the physiology and psychology of hoarding is ongoing. Geneticists are working to identify genetic loci related to hoarding behavior, says Steketee. An imaging study found that cerebral blood flow in a patient with OCD and severe hoarding exhibited a certain pattern during the most severe hoarding symptoms, and the pattern changed when the patient’s hoarding behaviors improved (Ohtsuchi, Matsuo, Akimoto, & Watanabe, 2010). A review of epidemiological, neurobiological, and treatment studies concluded that compulsive hoarding may be a discrete disorder with its own diagnostic criteria (Pertusa et al., 2010).
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

Similar Threads

  1. for anyone who cross-stitches
    By bluestripes in forum Arts & Entertainment
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-07-2012, 03:42 PM
  2. [sp] Sp and hoarding?
    By Goosebump in forum Instinctual Subtypes
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 01-27-2011, 01:55 PM
  3. Hoarding
    By gromit in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 09-27-2010, 11:21 AM
  4. [INFP] INFPs - Do you keep your environment clutter free?
    By INTJMom in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 88
    Last Post: 06-23-2008, 02:37 PM
  5. Blue Cross cares about me!
    By Martoon in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-30-2007, 05:33 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts