Are You a Hoarder? Quiz
A simple quiz
We all like to gather and keep things. Whether to decorate our homes or remind us of happy times, we enjoy the material things of this world. There is a difference between collecting, storing and hoarding. Hoarding is an uncontrolled compulsion. Answer YES or NO to the following questions to see if you have trouble controlling your compulsion to hoard things.
1. buy, salvage or save duplicate items?
2. store things in places typically not used for storage? (shower or bathtub, cars)
3. purchase things that sit in unopened boxes for months?
4. feel embarrassed to let visitors into your home because of your excess stuff?
5. alter your lifestyle because your things have taken over your living spaces? (Can you cook and eat in your kitchen? Shower in your bathroom? Use the toilet?)
6. have family and friends who have expressed concern over the amount of things in your home?
7. think that emergency personnel would have trouble entering your home to help you? (Are there clear living spaces and walkways?)
8. get sick from colds or have breathing problems due to your unhealthy environment?
9. have to struggle to get through doors in your home because of stuff blocking the way?
10. believe you are a hoarder?
11. want to stop hoarding but can’t?
12. believe you aren’t a hoarder at all?
13. get upset if someone tries to throw away your things?
14. believe that no one else understands the value of things, especially your things?
15. try to dispose of things only to retrieve them from the trash bin?
16. feel great anxiety when trying to get rid of things?
17. find you can’t resist saving things?
18. have thoughts about buying or salvaging things that keep you awake at night?
19. spend most of your time gathering, saving, collecting or storing things?
20. give up trying to keep up with taking care of your things?
This is not an official diagnostic quiz, of course, but you can see that if you respond mostly YES to these questions, you probably suffer from hoarding.
How serious is it?
As the scientific community learns more about hoarding, the definitions and treatments surely will evolve. At this time, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization recognizes five levels of hoarding on its diagnostic scale:
Household clutter is standard. No safety or health issues.
One exit is blocked. Evidence of poor animal control. Household functions impaired due to clutter.
Interior items stored outdoors due to lack of space. Clutter limits access to doorways and exits. Rotting or expired foods. Evidence of insects, dust, spider webs. Dirty laundry. Inappropriate use of rooms for storage.
The above infractions plus: Unusable space, appliances. Damage to building from water, animals, pests. Improperly stored combustibles.
Non-functioning toilets, sinks and showers. Presence of human excrement. Hazardous conditions due to chemicals, expired foods and medication and poor animal control. Extreme indoor and outdoor clutter. Irreparable damage to building.
1. Structure and zoning. Is there safe access through doorways and exits? Is the building structurally safe?
2. Animals and pets. Are animals safe and healthy and within the number of legally allowed pets in a household? Food, water and feces control?
3. Household functions. Can rooms and appliances be used for appropriate purposes?
4. Health and safety. Sanitary conditions? Medications properly stored? Evidence of vermin and insects?
5. Personal protection equipment. Does the environment require protective gear in order to be entered?
These are very general definitions. You can find detailed definitions on the Institute for Challenging Disorganization's website (challengingdisorganization.org). I highly recommend checking it out. You can download free manuals and find resources including organization specialists.
When the hoard reaches dangerous proportions, it is time for a forced clean up.
What are your hoarding habits?
Take the poll
Click on the response that applies to you. If more than one applies, vote again.
Thought for hoarding habits
1. It is not saving money to store things that go bad. In fact, it is throwing good money away to store up sale items. Better to buy what you need at full cost and use it right away than to stock up on sale items because nearly everything has an expiration date. Even toothpaste. Hair color. We threw out a lot of expired products that she felt was saving her money to store.
2. You aren't "wasting" when you throw food away because food, for example, goes back into this good, green earth in one form or another. It will decompose in the refuse heap in the landfill or get pooped out and make its way through the waste management system and into the earth. It all goes back to the earth where it will resume its place in the food cycle.
3. Putting things into the recycling bin is better than your storing them. You may never get to "recycle" those things as craft items so better to let them get remade in a processing plant. You are making your house a landfill to keep things without using them.
4. Let your unused things bless the lives of others by donating them to charities instead of collecting dust in your house. You're not "getting rid" but you are sharing. Even if you return things to decompose into the earth, they are going back to whence they came. They will return in another product form.
5. Memories are in your mind not in the souvenirs you keep. Be selective in what you keep.
6. Look around you and see what your energy is attracting into your life. Like attracts like. Throw out the trash immediately.
7. We live in an electronic age so you no longer need to keep any papers, magazines, etc. Retrieval is instantaneous. Information gets outdated quickly. Go digital, even with pics.
8. Things don't bless you or bring you joy or love you back. If you had a fire and all of your things burned, you'd see that you still will live a happy, fulfilled life without the burden of your "things."
9. Keeping all this junk is hurting you, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Liberate yourself. Health is wealth. These things are not your friends. Don't use them as a replacement for love and friendship in your life.
10. Make room for new things. When you clear out your home, you'll be able to bring in new things with new energy.
11. It's okay to want things and to have them. But too much is not good. If you get rid of your old junk, you'll enjoy bringing in new things into your life to enjoy for a time. Then, allow them to go back into the world to make others happy. Attract new things again. It's a cycle of discovery and sharing.
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