Did We Invent Hoarding?

Did We Invent Hoarding? | Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogRedheaded Rant Alert. Recently I discovered there's a book out there with the premise that hoarding is made up by the media, psychologists, professional organizers, cleaning teams, etc. purely to make money.

It's written by an English professor.

ENGLISH, Sunshines. Were we to Venn Diagram this I'm pretty sure the English knowledge circle and hoarding knowledge circle wouldn't overlap.

The author even admits he has ZERO knowledge of hoarding itself. He just decided that it's all made up and he'd write a book about it.

So now tell me who is it exploiting a situation to make money?

I'm so disgusted and pissed by this notion that I can't even put it all into words to it yet. Other than this:

Spend some time with a true, clinical hoarder. Witness the tears, pain, depression, anxiety, and whole host of negative emotions that come along with this problem and then tell me it's made up. That's just the beginning of everything that needs to be parsed through and unraveled.

Then there's working through the frustrations of the families.

The ever deteriorating conditions of the home.

Let's not forget the negative effect it has on the neighboring houses and home values. Oh? You didn't know that happened. Well as we all know, one crappy house can really drop home values. And if that home has pests, rodents, or any sort of animal issue? It's most likely spread to the neighboring homes. I once had a client who had pest control come to her home every month to stand at her property line and spray towards the hoarder home next door. If not, she'd probably have been in the same state as the home on the opposite side of the hoarder. That lucky home had fleas even though they owned no pets.

Delightful, huh?

Oooh, we have to also keep in mind the first responders. Hoarding presents special hazards for them. Fort Worth's Mayor told me of a time that fire had to call in for reinforcements because they couldn't get to a heart attack victim. They had to call in more people so they could hand-pass the victim through the goat trails and out of the own home.  Hoarded homes pose quite a few difficulties if they catch on fire. I've read articles written by fire professionals so I'll leave the finer details for them. Just know that the situation is dangerous for not only the hoarder, but also for the first responders as well as neighboring homes.

All of this? Just a glimpse into the full issue. A mere teeny glimpse.

I'm sure that everyone that has ever come into close contact with hoarding in some way wished it were made up. I'd be happy to find a new line of work if it meant that everyone out there lived in a safe, clean space that supported their life. But that's not the case nor will it be anytime soon.

I get it. To the outside world it seems odd. How can someone live like that? How can one not notice what seems to be basic trash? But what a hoarder sees vs what you and I see are two very different things. Essentially, asking a hoarder why they can't just "clean up" is like asking an armless person to give you a hug. It just doesn't work the same way.

And yes, cleanup is expensive. It can be very expensive. I worked with one home that spent well over $50,000 on cleanup. So sure, it can look like we're taking advantage of a situation to make money. However the truth is that we're helping people through what is often some of the hardest and darkest times of their life.

So you, Pumpkin of the English degrees that I'm guessing had too many martinis one day, thought you had the "brilliant" idea that we're all just making shit up, and decided to write a book that is out of your zone of genius? Time to reign it back in and write about what you know.


Are you or is someone you love a hoarder? It's real. It sucks. It takes a lot of time, patience, empathy, love, and work to get to the other side but it can be done. Need help knowing what to do or where to start? Contact me or buy "Fabulous Foothold to Organization" today.