Educational and Informative

I Am A Hoarder

OK, I have accepted it, I am a hoarder….at least in my resource closet.  It is a walk in closet however, you cannot walk in.  You open the door and there it is, ready to crash down upon you!  OK, I have said it, I admit it, now it is up to me to do something about it.  Please don’t judge me.  I come from a family of hoarders.  Scroll across the picture for a surprise wording.

Here lately it seems I have a ton of projects to do and most of them just stare at me in the face and screams, please fix me or please organize me.  I watch the TV show Hoarders and think how can they seem to collect so much stuff, then I look at my own closet.  I have to get in the mood to throw away left over tissue paper that I will use again someday.  My mother saves aluminum foil in the drawer and uses it over and over along with the zip lock bags, washing them out and reusing.  I do know it saves money so I guess you can say thrifty but what about my friend’s father who has 12 broken microwaves in his basement.  The one day awaits for him to either fix or use the parts but now, life continues to progress. My mother-in-law has three large garage/barns full of stuff, in which one day we will have to go through.

We can live without this stuff but it is nice to go to my resource closet and pull out material for a craft, a gift and bag, paint, buttons, flowers, candles, or left over tissue paper.  There are three millions hoarders in the world and it is an addiction to keep even the unsanitary things or what most of us see as junk.  If someone came into my house and looked at my “junk closet” in which you cannot even walk in now, how would they view my stuff?  My keepsakes, newspapers, photo papers, just keep piling up and I know it is a must to start working on this project.  I can and absolutely know why and how this could become out of hand for some people.  My grandmother was somewhat a hoarder and so was my great-aunt.  She just had a pathway leading to her kitchen, to her bedroom and to her bathroom.  She kept every single gift anyone ever got her, every scrap material fabric for her quilts, every broken doll, and the list goes on.  She kept lids of cans for that special craft project for VBS or collected pine cones for the children’s Bird feeders.  Although she was handy when it came to needing things, her home was an absolute wreck but she didn’t care.  She was a social bunny and didn’t show all the signs of an official hoarder.

We all have heard how another man’s trash is another man’s treasure but I think people who have a desire to keep things in which could be thrown away, the treasure lies only in their own mind or way of thinking.  The people replace people with things.  Compulsive hoarders isolate themselves from other relationships or limited friends.  When junkaholic behaviors involve acquiring and keeping objects that appear to have limited if any value, and they begin to take over your living space, you meet the definition of a hoarder. Such people can’t make a decision about the worth of anything, from food tins to tattered receipts, and over a period of years, they may accumulate mountains of “stuff” that can eventually leave them isolated and almost incapacitated in their own homes. Their possessions may cover their floors, couches, chairs, tables, and beds. They may have to wade through knee-deep piles of debris just to get to the bathroom.

Compulsive hoarding is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering and sleeping. A person who engages in compulsive hoarding is commonly said to be a “pack rat”.  It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is an isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The hoarder may mistakenly believe that the hoarded items are very valuable, or the hoarder may know that the accumulated items are useless, or may attach a strong personal value to items which they recognize would have little or no value to others. A hoarder of the first kind may show off a cutlery set claiming it to be made of silver and mother-of-pearl, disregarding the fact that the packaging clearly states the cutlery is made of steel and plastic. A hoarder of the second type may have a refrigerator filled with uneaten food items months past their expiration dates, but in some cases would vehemently resist any attempts from relatives to dispose of the unusable food. In other cases the hoarder will recognize the need to clean the refrigerator, but due (in part) to feelings that doing so would be an exercise in futility, and overwhelmed by the similar condition of the rest of their living space, fails to do so.  There are also different levels in hoarding.

Level I Hoarder

Household is considered standard. No special knowledge in working with the Chronically Disorganized is necessary.

Level II Hoarder

Household requires professional organizers or related professionals to have additional knowledge and understanding of Chronic Disorganization.

Level III Hoarder

Household may require services in addition to those a professional organizer and related professional can provide. Professional organizers and related professionals working with Level III households should have significant training in Chronic Disorganization and have developed a helpful community network of resources, especially mental health providers.

Level IV Hoarder

Household needs the help of a professional organizer and a coordinated team of service providers. Psychological, medical issues or financial hardships are generally involved. Resources will be necessary to bring a household to a functional level. These services may include pest control services, “crime scene cleaners,” financial counseling and licensed contractors and handy persons.

Level V Hoarder

Building and zoning Professional organizers should not venture directly into working solo with this type of household. The Level V household may be under the care of a conservator or be an inherited estate of a mentally ill individual. Assistance is needed through the use of a multi-tasked team. These members may include social services and psychological/mental health representative (not applicable if inherited estate), conservator/trustee, building and zoning, fire and safety, landlord, legal aid and/or legal representatives. A written strategy needs to be outlined and contractual agreements made before proceeding.

The goal of therapy is to help people understand why they save items, teach them organizational and decision-making skills, and help them acquire the fortitude to drive past garage sales and thrift stores.  To read more about it http://www.ocfoundation.org/hoarding/  I don’t think medicine is an answer for the most part but it can help to start things in the right direction.

My treatment for hoarders:  Seek the One who can control your life.  We hold on to things in which we will not be able to take with us one day.  The treasures are not in the “stuff” but in the relationships we make with those who love and care for us.  Our void cannot be filled with stuff in my closet or in our homes, because it can only be filled with the abundance of the Spirit of God living within us.  I must learn to develop a strong relationship with Jesus Christ to fill my compulsive behavior to collect things that I may think is important.  The closer I get to Jesus, the more I trust in Him to supply my every need, He alone provides for our life.  The memories I hold will be locked into my mind or in the pictures I take.  In fact, I think I will take pictures of the things in which is tied to a specific memory, keep the picture and toss the item.  This will help me clear or help me finish the project.  In the mean time, I pray, I receive strength, faith and motivation to depend upon God as I clean out.  I will renew my mind daily and think as my Savior thinks, thoughts of everlasting Kingdom principles instead of the here and now temporal things.

Prayer:  Lord, I will clean out this closet with the month!  I will draw closer to you, let your Spirit fill my voids and know that the only treasure I need is you.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Matthew 6;19-20 New International Version (©1984)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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2 thoughts on “I Am A Hoarder”

  1. Melissa, After I read your blog I got so much done yesterday!!!! Trae now has a room that is not girly( Chelsea’s stuff is gone) and my basement is clutter free. lol I am not a horder but I am a procrastinator lol Blessings Robin

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