What is Hoarding?

is a term used to describe the act of excessively accumulating items that often become so difficult for them to store, leading to clutter. Commonly known as hoarders, these people have a challenging time parting with their things, even if the items seem to have no monetary value. Some of the excuses they use for not throwing away their collected items could be because they might need them in the future or have sentimental value. Some things are also perceived to be irreplaceable.

This behavior becomes a problem when their living conditions are negatively affected by their cramped surroundings. For instance, certain areas in the house no longer serve their primary purpose because it has become storage for possessions. Hoarding can also lead to unhealthy social relationships with family or household members upset because of the clutter. It can also lead to social isolation when the spouse or family members do not agree with keeping the items around.

The struggle with this practice is that hoarders might not see it as a problem. Hence, it is crucial to understand when purchases become unreasonable so that people can practice and enjoy living safer, clutter-free lives.

Five Stages of Hoarding

Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing and keeping of personal items. This behavior follows five progressive stages. The following are:

Stage 1: Mild Urge to Collect with a Couple of Indicators. Light clutter at home but the items are not organized. No pungent smell due to waste. Doors, stairs, and windows are still accessible.

Stage 2: Noticeable Item Collection. Clutter may begin to block at least one area at home. It could lead to anxiety every time a friend or family member comes over for a visit due to the disorganized hoarded items.

Stage 3: Lack of Cleanliness and Poor Hygiene. Cramped living conditions are visible, even outside the house. At least one room is unusable due to extreme collection of items. Odor becomes one of the outputs of the terrible hygiene.

Stage 4: Sewage Problems and Structural Damage. Excessive insects, fleas, and bugs roam around the house due to rotten food. Molds and mildew are visible. Sewage problems and structural damage begin in the last months.

Stage 5: Extreme Clutter, at Risk to Fire or Loss of Utilities. Severe unsanitary conditions. Obsessive accumulation of papers and other flammable materials cause major fire hazards. Home spaces are inaccessible.

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