As hoarding behavior receives more attention from researchers and clinicians, the reasons behind it are becoming clearer. In my work with people who hoard, I see themes that can be grouped into three categories, or typologies: indecisive hoarding, sentimental hoarding, and barricade hoarding.
1. INDECISIVE HOARDING
The primary characteristic of indecisive hoarding is disorganization. When this is the only reason for the buildup of belongings, I consider it more accurate to call it chronic disorganization, not hoarding, but I retain the label as a concession to the deluge of popular usage. People who are keeping things because they are overwhelmed with the work of sorting items, eliminating some, and organizing the rest aren’t actually attached to the items themselves, but they are resistant to letting go of them until they can make informed decisions about what to discard and how to dispose of it (trash, donate, resell, etc.). This resistance mimics that of true hoarding and requires skillful analysis to distinguish. Once identified, though, purely indecisive hoarding is relatively easy and safe to address as a professional organizing job writ large.
My next post will be Hoarding Typology 2 of 3: Sentimental Hoarding.
Copyright 2011 Debbie Stanley