We’ve all been there.
You open the cupboard to find a scene that resembles the aftermath of the boxing day sales, instead of the place where you’re supposed to store your stuff.
There are clothes shoved into every crevasse. Plates are piled on top of the frying pan, which leans on a water jug, which rests dangerously upon the lettuce spinner.
Think Jenga. Take one piece out and everything’s coming down.
New figures suggest that up to one million Australians also avoid spring cleaning (and summer and winter cleaning.) They hold onto things. They don’t use them. But they also don’t throw them away. They’re hoarders.
According to researchers from the University of NSW, hoarders often “started in their teens but others began hoarding after traumatic experiences, such as divorce, later in life.”
Fairfax media reports:
University of NSW psychologist and hoarding expert Jessica Grisham said it was originally estimated that about one per cent of the Australian population faced hoarding-related issues.
But current estimates put the figure as high as five per cent, Dr Grisham said.
She said hoarding was now deemed a separate mental disorder, not a sub-classification of obsessive compulsive disorder.
One famous hoarder: is singer, Courtney Love.Courtney Love’s hoarding habits killed the cat. Or so her daughter says.
Frances Bean, said in a statement to the courts (when she was filing from a restraining order from her mother in 2009) that the family’s beloved cat died after it became entangled in piles of fabrics, paperwork and mounds of trash.
In the US, they’ve almost made a competitive sport out of hoarding. Entire TV shows are dedicated to people’s compulsive hoarding habits. Take a look:
But the reality is that hoarding is far from a joke. It’s a serious condition that impacts people’s lives in a big way.
And anyone can be a hoarder according to Dr Morgan, who says the “condition” doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age either, according to this article from the ABC.
Dr Chris Mogan, who treats compulsive hoarders in Australia, describes the problem as a “severe over-attachment to things”.
“Their relationships with people are affected … [it] is very difficult for the non-hoarder to understand, but the possessions become part of them,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
The CCS report found most hoarders are living in public housing but Dr Mogan says the condition affects people regardless of socio-economic status.
“It becomes more noticeable in [lower socio-economic groups] because people may not be able to manage the amount of things they gather,” he said.
“But hoarding is in every leafy green suburb of Sydney and Melbourne and across all occupations … this is the frightening thing about it.”
He says the condition does not discriminate on the basis of age, either.
And here we were thinking that we were just being sentimental.
Do you think of yourself as a hoarder? Where’s your line on what to keep and what to throw out? What have you kept and what have you saved?