The Difference Between Collecting and Hoarding

Cloud-of-Clutter-GreenYou love it – whatever your individual “it” is. People collect vintage Barbie dolls, G.I. Joe action figures, comic books and vinyl records. For one reason or another this item brings you joy. You also love the hunt for your item (or items) of choice, scouring yard sales, auctions and online sites for steals and deals. Your friends marvel at your extensive collection of the item you love.

It is a collection, right?

Controlling Your Collection

Studies estimate that only 2-5% of the population actually meets the clinical definition of Hoarding Disorder according the American Psychiatric Association. However, a person can still be considered a hoarder if the amount of “stuff” in their home has a visible impact on everyday life.

Both hoarding and collecting involve assigning special value to possessions, but the ways one controls the items they are collecting is different.

  • In a healthy collection, new possessions become part of a larger set of well-defined items. Considerable time and energy go into organizing, displaying, or storing these items and the collection does not impede the use of active living areas of the home.
  • When collecting has become hoarding, possessions become unorganized piles of clutter that are so large that they prevent rooms from being used for normal activities. Motivation to display items is lost, and people become fearful of others seeing, touching or even commenting on their belongings. Yet the drive to add more to the collection still leads them to acquire things that only end up in the pile, and once in the pile, objects are seldom looked at again.

Chronic Disorganization

Somewhere in between a healthy, controlled collection and a hoard can be symptoms of chronic disorganization. Chronic disorganization sometimes develops following a routine-altering situation that leaves you feeling generally overwhelmed without the inclination to de-clutter. For chronically disorganized people, the visible clutter represents their emotional clutter. Procrastination and feelings of extreme stress related to clutter are often symptoms of chronic disorganization.

Life happens and what was once an organized, systematic collection can quickly turn into an overwhelming pile. For collectors, it is important to stay mindful and take a break from adding any more items to the collection until you can get your existing items under control.

Has Your Collection Turned Into Clutter?

Sometimes a collection is just a collection. Sometimes a collection takes on a life of its own and becomes clutter. Eventually, the clutter may become too much to handle on your own. Professional assistance from Garage Décor and More can help you develop a plan for the clutter and even create custom organization and storage solutions for any room in your home.iPhone 307

For more tips on organizing your home and implementing smart storage solutions, check out the other articles on our blog. If you would like professional help to handle your clutter, contact Garage Décor and More for a FREE consultation, or call 618-789-7969.