We’ve become all too familiar with the term “hoarders” in the past few years, thank to reality TV. I consider a true hoarder someone who compulsively collects and/or seeks out an excessive amount of products until they become more important than personal health and safety. If you’re a person who has stacks of papers on surfaces and a collection of magazines and books, or a table filled with items you haven’t found a place for, then you’re probably not a hoarder. True hoarders are more rare than not. The ordinary person who collects and eventually gets overwhelmed because of space or lack of organization is more the norm. The hoarding situations I’ve encountered have been brought about because of onsets of disabilities or various levels of dementia. There’s a big difference between hoarders and those who have clutter. I’ve had clients who were quick to call themselves hoarders when actually an illness or death of a spouse brought about a sense of overwhelm and helplessness that is often exacerbated by the guilt of not staying on top of things. So please don’t be quick to judge. A true hoarder can be diagnosed and often helped with therapy and/or medication.

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