Hoarding is a serious issue.

While the stockpiling of stuff is often pinned on America’s culture of mass consumption, hoarding is nothing new. But it’s only in recent years that the subject has received the attention of researchers, social workers, psychologists, fire marshals and public-health officials.

The pictures below are from a client we helped move. The Hinckley Schmitt box is from 1996.

Hoarding is different from merely living amid clutter, experts note. It’s possible to have a messy house and be a pack rat without qualifying for a diagnosis of hoarding behavior. The difference is one of degree. Hoarding disorder is present when the behavior causes distress to the individual or interferes with emotional, physical, social, financial or legal well-being. “If you aren’t able to use the stove and your refrigerator is stockpiled with expired items, if you’re so disorganized you aren’t able to file for Medicare or make a primary-care appointment, [hoarding] becomes a major problem,” says Catherine Ayers, a geriatric psychologist at the University of California at San Diego. Studies show that compulsive hoarding affects up to 6 percent of the population, or 19 million Americans, and it has been found to run in families. Hoarding is “underdiagnosed and undertreated,” says Sanjaya Saxena, director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at the UC San Diego health system. “Though people realize it’s a problem, they never conceive of it as a medical disorder rooted in brain abnormalities.”

Hoarding presents a unique set of challenges when our client is moving. We explain the cost of moving items that will not fit in their new home and the cost to remove those items and place in storage for a monthly fee. Depending on the severity, if the situation requires additional support we utilize experts in this area to help our client through the process and address the issues associated with hoarding. The goal is to help the client through the move which can be very difficult for them.

For more information contact The Downsizing Specialists at 847-226-1686 or info@TheDownsizingSpecialists.com

mark kardon