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  1. #1
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Default Hoarding, when does clutter cross the line into pathological?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-...=page;previous

    Is it me, or did any one else think this article is a bit finger wagging? I tend live in a bit of clutter, but if I'm getting to about slide five levels, it's time to really sort my stuff out. In my defense, I have a pretty intense work schedule! "Apparently" this pathological! BTW, I don't permanently live in that state....and I don't get to that state of feraldom very often, but isn't the threshold set slightly too low?
    Now I'm all worried. I'm a bad house keeper! Or I've lived in shared accommodation for far too long! If you can't sit on the couch, there are issues though.
    Feeling slightly judged that I don't keep things Spick and Span every day. I have a friend who vacuums every day and bleaches her washing machine every week and I think that's bordering on pathological too.

    Any way curious to see y'all think...so discuss!
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think about this quite a bit and am always looking for ways to dispose of stuff rather than keep it, I follow a couple of art projects or social commentators who pay attention to it too in the context of consumerism and having vs. being cultures, I have lots and lots and lots of things which I seriously wanted until I got home with them and I think that results in clutter or hoarding.

    Hoarding, as in having three years supply of aspirin in case of an emergency I think is a different, personal problem and I couldnt be considered a hoarder of that variety, I'm not even half prepared for a week without electricity or essential services never mind that.

  3. #3
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    I've moved around a bit, so in reality, I have big clean outs of stuff. I tend to accumulate books, and magazines ( not the trashy women's weekly stuff), DVD's....clothes, arts and craft bits and pieces. Not really a hoarder of stuff that might actually be useful, lol.
    I just actually felt those pictures were more about house keeping, not stock piling obsessively. Mind you, I lived in an apartment building with a really bad cockroach problem, turns out the man in the apartment above me, was a hoarder and basically the cause of the problem. They were hauling out newspapers for days, when the land lord finally ejected him. They had to gut the place it was so festie.
    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.

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  4. #4
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think a lot is dependent on mindset, rather than the volume of clutter. In other words, why is the clutter happening? The person with no time vs the person who is lazy vs the person who is emotionally attached to things are all different (although there is also overlap).

    As far as the slides go, 1 is perfectly normal; 2-3 are borderline; 4 is where I'd start to worry about the person's mental health (but not assume that they're a hoarder; there are other explanations for clutter); slide 6+ are ridiculous and suggest serious issues of some sort, whether "hoarding" or not. I don't see that much difference between 6 and higher, really - just the volumes are different, not the pattern of accumulation.

    annnnnd apparently I was bang-on, although I'd disagree that slide 4 is evidence of "potentially serious hoarding", I'd call it more of warning signs whereas with less clutter I'd just call them messy.

    (fwiw, my dad is about a 5-6 with self-confirmed "hoarding mentality" and my mom is about a slide 4 without much hoarding mentality, just easily overwhelmed/distracted and bad at organizing/prioritizing possessions. For me I'd actually be uncomfortable right away with the newspapers in slide 1, although maybe magazines or something "cleaner" would be ok. I get to slide 2 every so often which will usually trigger cleaning after a few days of it. Slide 3+ would really bug me)
    -end of thread-

  5. #5
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrystalViolet View Post
    I've moved around a bit, so in reality, I have big clean outs of stuff. I tend to accumulate books, and magazines ( not the trashy women's weekly stuff), DVD's....clothes, arts and craft bits and pieces. Not really a hoarder of stuff that might actually be useful, lol.
    I just actually felt those pictures were more about house keeping, not stock piling obsessively. Mind you, I lived in an apartment building with a really bad cockroach problem, turns out the man in the apartment above me, was a hoarder and basically the cause of the problem. They were hauling out newspapers for days, when the land lord finally ejected him. They had to gut the place it was so festie.
    That was my initial thought for slide 1 and 2. For slide 4 and 5, it looked like the person just didn't want to organize. Onwards, it started looking like hoarding (but on a closer look.. it is just a mess.)

    Again, the person could have organized even just a little and the person wouldn't look like he was hoarding/being messy. The clothes from slides 1-4 really didn't need to be all over the place, that person could of just thrown all those clothes in a clothes bin. The stacked newspapers could of been organized a lot better. Those newspapers could of been left in a box in the corner if he was that adamant in keeping them. Slide 5 and 6 looked more like being messy instead of hoarding. Somewhere between slides 6-8, the room starts looking like a garbage room.

    Mind you, I consider my room to be organized chaos, but it usually doesn't go anywhere past slide 2 (and for the fact that I don't leave my clothes around like that.)

    Over-cleaning is "pathological," under-cleaning is "pathological." Slide 4 or 5 is my limit.

    I don't want to be judgmental but....

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrystalViolet View Post
    I just actually felt those pictures were more about house keeping, not stock piling obsessively.
    That's a great point actually, for the first few slides, especially with the piles of clothes and so on. It'd be easy to achieve that level of mess with a "normal" amount of belongings, without hoarding things. You just have to not put things away.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    My parents keep a house that is somewhere between the slide 4 and 5 range. I wouldn't say it's quite on the level of pathological but its definitely messy and I don't like visiting there because so much is in the way.
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  8. #8
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    No need to feel judged, it's just photos on the internet!

    The difference between clutter and hoarding is the attitude a person has toward possessions. 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. They have a tremendous difficulty making decisions, making categories or generalizations (i.e. each item is unique and cannot be interchanged, "this jar is small and has a plastic lid, this one has a wider opening and a metal lid, that one is the same size as the first one but is made of plastic, which is good because it doesn't break... I can't throw any of them away!"). With all of those possessions, they hardly get a chance to use most of the items since they are not stored in an organized or accessible manner. Everybody has pockets of clutter that last for days, weeks, sometimes months, but when those pockets join together and become permanent fixtures, that's the start of a hoard.

    In very bad cases, situations can arise where appliances (stove, plumbing) break and cannot be accessed, pests invade the space and cannot be exterminated, and other health and safety risks as well, so it is something to be taken seriously.

    I've been reading and learning about it for quite some time in relation to a close family member, and can point anyone who is interested to further resources in terms of information, support groups, and forums.

    Feel free to PM me as well.
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  9. #9
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    That's a great point actually, for the first few slides, especially with the piles of clothes and so on. It'd be easy to achieve that level of mess with a "normal" amount of belongings, without hoarding things. You just have to not put things away.
    If I have a long stretch of on call, that's pretty much what happens, nothing gets put away. Admittedly I tidy first chance I get, ( I don't have people over either though until things are more organized.) I have a very small place right now, and that changes perceptions some what 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.

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  10. #10
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    No need to feel judged, it's just photos on the internet!

    The difference between clutter and hoarding is the attitude a person has toward possessions. 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. They have a tremendous difficulty making decisions, making categories or generalizations (i.e. each item is unique and cannot be interchanged, "this jar is small and has a plastic lid, this one has a wider opening and a metal lid, that one is the same size as the first one but is made of plastic, which is good because it doesn't break... I can't throw any of them away!"). With all of those possessions, they hardly get a chance to use most of the items since they are not stored in an organized or accessible manner. Everybody has pockets of clutter that last for days, weeks, sometimes months, but when those pockets join together and become permanent fixtures, that's the start of a hoard.

    In very bad cases, situations can arise where appliances (stove, plumbing) break and cannot be accessed, pests invade the space and cannot be exterminated, and other health and safety risks as well, so it is something to be taken seriously.

    I've been reading and learning about it for quite some time in relation to a close family member, and can point anyone who is interested to further resources in terms of information, support groups, and forums.

    Feel free to PM me as well.
    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....
    -end of thread-

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