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What is the Difference Between Clutter and Hoarding?

Some of the words people use to describe those who have an excess of material things, seriously or jokingly, are clutter, hoarder, collector and pack rat. Most of us have relatives, friends, neighbours or acquaintances that have difficulty maintaining clear and clean living spaces. But is it hoarding or clutter? What is the main difference between the two terms? We have many years of de-cluttering, organising and de-hoarding experience. Due to that, we recognise the difference between clutter and hoarding situations. We will help you understand that too.

Related: How to Get Help From a Hoarding Disorder

A lot of belongings in the house

People with clutter problems do not discard the things they do not need. Possibly, that is because they grew up in hoarding households, untidy ones or where the parents encourage saving. Others might be over-scheduled, impulsive shoppers or people who get distracted easily. People with hoarding problems find it hard to discard some of the things they do not need in their homes. Studies have proven that there are several differences in their brain activities. Hoarders assign much value to some of their items, get overwhelmed and have difficulties making the right decisions.

Inside their brains, uncertainty and conflicting information might make it hard to decide on discarding items. Hoarders become frustrated, resentful, angry and defensive when someone forces them to make decisions relating to letting some of the items they do not need to go. Because it is hard to understand the hoarding disorder, some people refer to the hoarders near them as sloppy and lazy or people who want to store many things in their homes.

Organising the clutter

Individuals who clutter find easier to dispose of the things they do not require. With insight, emotional support and coaching, these people easily form new habits and get rid of the clutter inside their homes. The habits they are likely to develop include regular or structured cleanup, use of some organising tools and coaching to develop new habits. There are chances of backsliding, but the clutter will not get as bad as it was initially and there will be openness for another try.

A lot of stuff in your home or office can lead to depression, stigma, stress, anxiety, safety and health problems, isolation, eviction and damage of relationships. Most of the people who hoard and clutter mostly report loss of control and feeling overwhelmed. People who clutter face feelings more often than those who hoard. Moreover, people who clutter can easily relieve their stress faster than those who hoard and they have a greater understanding of the reasons for cluttering.

Understanding hoarding

Hoarding refers to the compulsive acquisition of a large number of items and the inability to discard them, including when they are of no value. Anything including throwing an empty box might cause distress or anxiety. In fact, hoarding is a known mental health disorder that might demand the help of mental health practitioners.

Friends and relatives might be worried about the safety and health of the hoarder. Therefore, they will get angry, lose their patience and try to clear the home with the aim of helping. That might be harmful and will set the hoarder back both physically and emotionally. The hoarder will end up acquiring more and more items and filling up space, making it worse than it was before.

With lack of motivation, distress associated with deciding on what to keep and what to discard in addition to poor insight, the hoarder leaves junk piles and he/she might not be aware or even bothered by the condition of the home or office. The learning of new organising habits follows stressful work associated with understanding the problems of hoarding.

Are the effects of hoarding the same as those of cluttering?

Hoarding is different from cluttering but the two have similar effects. They can limit social interactions because people mostly feel ashamed or embarrassed about the condition of their homes or office. A clutterer or hoarder might stop inviting individuals to visit him/her and end up becoming isolated. Poor health is usually another issue. Mould, dust and poor air quality come because of failure to do a thorough cleaning. The feeling of being hopeless, overwhelmed or inadequate is also common.

We are professional organisers. Our main goal is to declutter, simplify and organise homes and offices. Paul’s Rubbish Removal will ensure that your living space is safe and usable. We start by considering your individual situation and your capabilities. You can always depend on the professionals to get the job done at an efficient and affordable price.

Approaches for clutterers are very different from those of hoarders. Professional organisers are a great resource. We will suspend judgement, listen to you patiently, and coach you on how to manage clutter. We already have many resources to share with you. Contact us today on 0407 125 125 for a free quote.

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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