Generally, we all have a messy spot in our home or a designated junk drawer or even a few collectables like some precious vases here and there. However, some people’s mess becomes a mountain, and their collectables become little more than hoarded rubbish in their Wellington home. So when does collecting turn into hoarding?
Hoarding Is An Affliction
Whilst a large portion of communities just roll their eyes and ‘tut-tut’, when hoarding becomes extreme, it’s declared a medical condition. Hoarding is the inability to dispose of items because they are ‘needed’ or might be ‘needed’ or could be ‘useful in the future’. And the degree of it impacts the person’s quality of life.
The Impact Of Hoarding
The hoarder, their immediate relationships and family relationships can all suffer emotionally, health-wise, financially and socially. There could be legal ramifications as well.
The Phases Of Hoarding
This is the entry phase, and it may be difficult to conclude someone is hoarding. If the items are being packed away, then there won’t be any visible mess. Two key behaviours are the difficulty in disposing of things and illogical, overzealous shopping for unnecessary items.
There will be more obvious behaviour traits now. Perhaps your friend or loved one is not keen on you visiting anymore. Their ‘stockpiling’ might have caused the blocking of a doorway. Corridors and rooms are becoming storage areas, and housekeeping will have diminished.
The hoarder is usually showing signs of emotional pain. Hygiene issues will arise, weight gain occurs, and anxiety will spike when hoarding is discussed. The stockpiling might spill out of the home into the garden. There might be peeling paint or rotting wood. Housekeeping is neglected, including laundry, corridors are filling up, there’s evidence of rodents or other infestations, rooms are full, and bad odours are present.
Personal hygiene will be very low, and mental stability is usually erratic. The home will have mould growing, with more structural damage and some piles of decaying animal waste. Toilets and drains could be blocked, and filthy plates will pile up. Bedding, carpets and other lines may have infestations. More doorways are obscured.
The home is completely full and inaccessible. The hoarder might be living in a makeshift arrangement outside. Human waste may appear elsewhere around the property. Further structural damage shows, and fire risks are high. The power and water might be off. Every surface is full.
Each situation will be as different as the person who is hoarding. It can be a crippling affliction and needs professional intervention.