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Are you really a hoarder? Or is it something else?


I want to start this off by saying I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist and I am not here to give you medical advice or diagnose you. If you are concerned that you have hoarding disorder, please connect with a psychiatrist who can diagnose you and get you the referrals you need. I have included a link at the end of the blog for resources.


A number of people have come up to me wanting my help and saying either that they are a hoarder or that they are going to be a hoarder. Then when I work with them and see their home, it doesn't have the intensity of hoarding. And when we are talking about their stuff, they don't show signs of someone who has an issue with hoarding, they show signs of someone who is having a hard time clearing away their clutter. I saying this to clear up confusion not to diminish anyones feelings.

Hoarding is a disorder that until recently wasn't well known in the mainstream public. Now there are television shows about it and an insane amount of websites and blogs about it. It's no wonder people get confused and concerned. But the truth is, hoarding disorder affects between 3-6% of the population of the United States. So although there is a chance you are a hoarder, there is also a chance that you were given misinformation about it.

You can read the DSM-V to find out all of the criteria for a Hoarder Disorder diagnosis here.

Basically what the criteria states is that hoarders can not let go of items even when they have no meaning or value to them. The thought of the items being removed from their home causes extreme distress. This creates a situation where the accumulation of items grows to a point where it is keeping the person from social and occupational functioning and/or it's unsafe to live in the home.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, if you are not a clinically a hoarder but you feel like you are (or could be one) something else is going on. It could be that:

  • It's just hard for you to clear away all the clutter

  • Some of the items are emotionally charged for you so it's harder to let them go

  • The home shows make it look a lot easier than it is in real life

  • You don't know where to start

  • You don't have all the time in the world to spend decluttering

  • You have other things to worry about

Honestly, all of these are valid reasons for there to be clutter in your home. It doesn't make you a hoarder. It makes you human. If you think you are not a hoarder and one of the above reasons resonated with you, this is what I have to say: it's okay to declutter just 15 minutes a day. It's okay to declutter slowly. It's okay to not know where to start. It's okay to handle the other things that are going on in your life that take precedence. It's okay to need help decluttering.

If you have questions or if this was helpful to you, feel free to write about it in the comment section below.

If you are worried you have Hoarding Disorder, you can find resources here.

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