6 easy ways to stop from becoming a hoarder

Photo Credit: The Spruce

You have most likely heard of hoarders; you may have even seen the shows on hoarders which give us an inside view of what it's like to be a hoarder. For some people, hoarding doesn't just happen because they are lazy about cleaning their homes, they may be genetically pre-disposed to hoarding. A book called Field Guide to Pack Rats: Closet Cases by psychologist Randy Frost from Smith College shares some the psychology of hoarding and what people can do to clean up their home, or how to prevent hoarding in the first place. Hoarding is a result of and can lead to emotional, mental, physical, financial, and social problems. What sets hoarding apart from regular collecting is the quantity of the items and that they usually clutter their main living areas with these items. Sometimes a hoarder doesn't even use these areas anymore because of how cluttered they are. Many hoarders don't even seem to mind living in an environment like this, but it can be distressing to their families, neighbours and landlords. So Elizabeth from The Spruce has come up with some great cleaning tips and diy ideas for use to prevent hoarding and to tackle clutter when we need to.

1. First of all, it's important to distinguish between what constitutes as real hoarding and what doesn't. Unless your home looks like an episode of the hoarders, you're probably not a hoarder yourself. To be a hoarder, someone has to meet the criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also known as the DSM-5, as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The diagnostic criteria include people who show signs of a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with their possessions, despite the value others see in the items. Only about 5% of people in the world show clinical hoarding behaviour. Also, a person could have hoarding tendencies but not be a hoarder that is officially diagnosed with OCD.

2. When you're dealing with hoarding, it's important to take it slow and easy. Going through items and throwing away things too quickly could result in anxiety or regret. One of the cleaning tips you can try is to go through one area at a time. So start in your bedroom in the closet and make that your job for that day. Then move onto the main areas of the room including your dressers, the area around your bed and anywhere else in the room. When that room is finished move onto another room.

3. Another great cleaning tip for getting on top of hoarding is to reduce the number of items in your collections. So if you have a bunch of figurines from when you were a child, keep two that really mean a lot to you and give away the rest of them.

4. As hard as it is, one other great cleaning tip is to resist setting items aside. It's best to make a decision about an item in the present. Either keep, toss or donate.

5. If you're really not sure about a couple of items, keep them in a box to set aside for six months. Then in six months if you haven't opened the box you know, you don't use it or need it that badly. This is great for those who hoard newspapers, magazines, and other papers.

6. The same goes for books you never read. As Elizabeth from The Spruce says "Owning a book about gardening does not make you a person who gardens." Don't become an aspirational hoarder by purchasing books or gear before you're actively doing the hobby you want to do.***

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