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Bridget Flynn  |  Divine Organizing

Are Hoarders Organized? Decoding the Complexity of Hoarding and Organization

The Perception of Hoarding A LOT of my clients refer to themselves as hoarders. They're anxious about their clutter, literally wringing their hands as they walk me from room to room, apologizing for the mess and asking me, "Am I the worst you've ever seen?"

The answer is always, "NO". The worst case I've ever had was a true hoarder, way back in 2014. This client had a lovely portrait of herself from the 1950s on the wall, wearing a gorgeous blue turtleneck and matching plaid skirt; I found the outfit hanging on the back of her bedroom door.

Your clutter is often way worse in your mind than it is in real life. Hoarding often conjures images of homes overwhelmed by possessions, a scenario that seems the antithesis of organization. However, understanding hoarding requires a deeper exploration beyond this surface-level perception.

This is similar to my client's situation.

Understanding Hoarding Disorder Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition where individuals find it hard to part with possessions, irrespective of their value. This leads to excessive clutter, interfering with the use of living spaces and daily life activities.

The Organizational Mind of a Hoarder Some individuals with hoarding tendencies may exhibit a unique sense of organization. They might have a personal system in place and know where each item is, even in a cluttered space. However, this system often lacks practicality and comprehensibility to others.

The Challenge of Functional Organization The primary issue in hoarding is not just the number of items but their arrangement in a non-functional manner. What might seem organized to a hoarder could actually be a safety hazard or an impediment to normal living conditions.

Emotional Attachment and Its Role Emotional attachment to items plays a crucial role in hoarding behavior. This sentimental value or fear of losing something important often leads to compulsive accumulation, making organizational attempts difficult.

Approaching Hoarding from a Professional Organizer’s Perspective Addressing hoarding isn’t solely about decluttering; it's about understanding the emotional bonds with possessions. This process requires empathy, patience, and often the involvement of mental health professionals.

The Path to Organized Living for Hoarders For those with hoarding tendencies, achieving an organized space is challenging but achievable. It involves acknowledging the problem and seeking appropriate help. Professional organizers can devise systems that respect emotional attachments while promoting functionality and safety.

Conclusion: Transforming Spaces, Transforming Lives While hoarders may have their own logic of organization, it results in unmanageable living conditions. Understanding and addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of hoarding is crucial in helping them. With proper support, transforming cluttered spaces into safe, functional environments is a reachable goal, enhancing the well-being and quality of life of those affected.

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