A primary element of hoarding is the acquisition and failure to get rid of or discard items acquired. The emotional inability to part with objects that are being hoarded is another aspect of this mental health condition. The amassing of things in and of itself has a significant impact on the life a person who hoards. The impact of constantly acquiring and keeping items includes:
- Massive disorganization in the residence
- Loss of items in clutter
- Walking spaces eliminated
- Living spaces eliminated
- Trash buildup
- Problems keeping safe at home
- Conflict with others who want to assist
Massive Disorganization in Residence
A hallmark of hoarding is… the hoard. A person engaged in hoarding behavior or diagnosed with hoarding disorder will create a highly disorganized residence. Clutter ultimately becomes the dominate feature of a hoarder’s home. It can end up disrupting and even upending all aspects of a hoarder’s life.
Loss of Items in Clutter
A feature of mounting clutter and disorganization in a hoarder’s house is the recurring loss of items in that mess. Time and again a person with hoarding disorder loses valuable items in the clutter of a hoard. These items include important documents, jewelry, and other valuable items. In some instances, these items will never be in a position to be found until the hoarding situation as a whole is dealt with thoroughly.
Walking Spaces Eliminated
Another major feature of a hoarder property, and a particularly dangerous one, is the elimination of walking spaces. In the final analysis, a person with hoarding disorder will use every inch of space imaginable to stow stuff. This can include objects that are nothing more than garbage.
As a hoard expands and grow, normal walkways that exist in a home gradually shrink until the point that they generally disappear altogether. There simply no longer will be any uncluttered pathways in a residence. This will include necessary pathways in and out of a house, pathways that really do need to be clear and clutter free to permit easy exit from a residence in the event of an emergency.
In addition to a build up of items that might have some inherent value, as hoarding progresses to a more serious state there will be a related accumulation of trash. This includes garbage that literally may intentionally be hoarded by a person with hoarding disorder.
Bear in mind that trash that builds up in a hoarder’s home can include food waste. More broadly speaking, a hoarder property may also end up with animal feces, animal urine, dead vermin, human feces, human urine, and so forth. In other words, a hoarder property can become inundated with biological hazards as well.
The presence of biohazards in a hoarder property underscores the necessity for seeking professional assistance in undertaking remediation or cleanup. Eco Bear is a prime example of a company that provides comprehensive, safe, professional hoarder property cleanup services that includes biohazard remediation.
Problems Keeping Safe at Home
As hoarding becomes more severe, the very structure of a residence can be placed in jeopardy. This occurs because of neglect but also because of misuse of different aspects of a property to accommodate a hoard. Structural issues can place a person living in a house in which hoarding is occurring at further risk.
In addition, as hoarding progresses, other aspects of a house can degrade in a manner that also puts a person with hoarding disorder who lives there at risk. In time, doors and windows may no longer function properly. Basic utilities like gas, electricity, water, sewage may not be functional. Again, such a progressively declining state of affairs at a hoarder property leaves a person at risk and unsafe at home.
Conflict With Others Who Want to Assist
A major issue that can arise when hoarding and associated excessive acquiring and keeping of items is conflict with others who want to assist a person with hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder. In many cases involving a person with hoarding disorder, it ultimately is people around that individual – friends and family members – who attempt to assist a hoarder.
A reality of hoarding disorder is that a person with this condition will not willingly part with hoarded property. A hoarder will consider a person who attempts to intervene in regard to hoarded property a threat, usually a significant threat (at least initially).
Even when friends and family of a hoarder sincerely want to assist a person with hoarding disorder, they are very likely to be met with hostility. The person with hoarding disorder may cut off all contact with an individual who wants to assist.
This level of conflict can be truly profound. The conflict can end up causing a long-term rift, a reality that can end up causing a person with hoarding disorder to be even more isolated.