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Where do you fall on the hoarding scale?

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“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination” – rightly cited by Christina Scalise. 

It is indeed the truth behind the human psychology of hoarding things that have either lost their value or are rarely used to the extent that its very existence is forgotten.

Identify hoarding behaviour

To gain clarity on determining one’s scale of hoarding, it is important to understand what hoarding is and the process and difficulty it can cause. The hoarding behaviour is associated with the difficulty one faces to discard a possession. In fact, it causes significant distress and separation anxiety among individuals with hoarding disorder. This leads to excessive and unreasonable acquisition of things without disposing of items that are no longer needed.

Generally, such items are stored in a chaotic manner making them impossible to locate later. Hence, such possessions are forgotten with time adding to the clutter. People with such hoarding habits even experience significant emotional distress while throwing away things during shifting locations. In the long run, the continuation of such behaviour piles up clutter making any relocation or movement of physical living space difficult.

We are all guilty!

The habit of hoarding is relatively common among all age groups. So, every one of us has hoarded an unusual item or a thing of sentimental value at some point in life. But this aspect of storing a belonging or two to be used later can unknowingly lead to practice hard to stop. Then what looks important and of value to one will be no more than trash for others. Hence, it is essential to evaluate belongings from time to time to understand its need in the present or the future. This can help to clean trash and reduce the chance of hoarding.

Understand where you stand

To analyze the reality of one’s hoarding compulsion, the National Study Group on Compulsive Disorganization created a scale in 1993 as a guideline to identify the level of hoarding obligation among individuals. According to the scale, there are five levels of hoarding that will help you nurture a sense of caution in case the habit is moving from saving to compulsion.

  • Level one is common among every individual where clutter is less and the living space looks safe and healthy with no odour and pests.
  • Level two – Few areas of the living space are slightly cluttered with unpleasant odours due to blocked exit – causing lack of ventilation. Also, less cleaning resulting in rodents.
  • Level three – Visible clutter with broken appliances, lack of sanitization, evidence of rodents, and strong unpleasant odours.
  • Level four – An unhealthy living condition with visible structural damage, rodents, and rotting food.
  • Level five – Broken structure lacking basic amenities such as; electricity, water, sewer system. Hazardous for the occupant to live or enter the premises.

Hence, it is essential to stay cautious and avoid such hoarding habits that can disturb the balance of a healthy and happy life.

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