Misconceptions within hoarding are becoming increasingly common. To have a better understanding of hoarding, it’s important to first understand what it is. Let’s look at the definition. Hoarding is when “someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter. The items can be of little or no monetary value.” When you understand this, it can be easy to fall into some of the common misconceptions associated with hoarding. One of the first misconceptions is that hoarding is associated with either having gone through the Great Depression or having parents who went through it and passed on the effects of deprivation.
Why is this incorrect?
The main reason for this to be wrong is that fact that millions of people lived through the Depression and do not display common signs of hoarding. There are two concepts about hoarding which are important to distinguish. Adaptive Hoarding is where someone acquires and keeps a surplus of things because they know, based on their personal history, that they will use them. For example, the person stocks up when something is on sale or is available for free. The person keeps these things and does use them before the items reach the expiry date or otherwise deteriorate.
Maladaptive or Compulsive Hoarding is the other. Whatever the perceived intent of acquiring/saving the items, that purpose or intent breaks down and it is kept with no end date for use, and creates a hoarded environment. There are many reasons why this happens and many complicating, accompanying factors that make “not hoarding” even harder.
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