Do You Have Hoarding Tendencies?

Take the quiz, and find out whether your clutter is causing conflict
An excerpt from ‘The Hoarder in You’ by the therapist on A&E Network’s Hoarders™

Do You Have Hoarding Tendencies?

The following are tendencies that are very common in those who struggle with hoarding, and to a lesser extent in non-hoarders.

Read the questions below and note how many of these feelings resonate with you.
  1. Do you have a hard time parting with items, even if you never use them or they’re broken?
  2. Do you have many items around your house that don’t have a permanent home?
  3. Do you tend to make piles of things, to be dealt with at a future time, and these piles often linger for more than a few days?
  4. Are there areas in your home (the dining room table, for instance) that must be cleared off before they can be used for their intended purpose?
  5. Do you save things often because you are concerned about how you will feel if you need them in the future and no longer have them?
  6. Do you often save things without a clear idea of how you’ll use them in the future?
  7. Do you still have items that you once bought with the intention of giving them away as gifts?
  8. Do you have boxes of possessions that have moved with you from home to home but you’ve never gone through?
  9. Do you often buy multiples of the same item because you’ve forgotten you have it?
  10. Are you helpless when faced with a “good deal,” even if it’s a good deal on something you don’t need?
  11. Do you take free things, like shampoos from hotels or packets of soup crackers, that you never wind up using?
The more of these questions you answered yes to, the stronger your hoarding tendencies, and your environment is likely cluttered accordingly.
If you answered yes to all of them, it does not mean you are a hoarder; many of us have hoarding tendencies, but because they are kept in check, things don’t escalate to the point where your life is greatly affected. Still, the more you have, the more mindful you need to be of your clutter habits so your environment does not cause you undue stress.

Does Your Clutter Cause Conflict?

One person can look at a room and see it as a little disorganized, whereas his spouse can view it as living in chaos. Below are some things to think about if you are the messy one in the house.
  • Do you and your family argue or have passive tension over your mess?
  • Do you feel that your family would like you to be neater or more organized even if they don’t say so?
  • Even if you value your family’s comfort and happiness in the home, do your actions or inactions convey otherwise?
  • Does your personal stuff often spread into other areas of the house?
  • Do you have trouble finding things because there is no organizational system, and do the consequences of this (lateness, for instance) negatively impact your family members?
  • Do your kids or spouse hesitate to have people over because of the state of the house?
  • Are family members unable to use certain areas of the home because of your stuff?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you and your family are experiencing unnecessary stress due to the clutter in your environment. If you answered yes to more than one, your relationship to your things may well be interfering with your relationships with the people you live with. A proactive stance — calling your family together to let them know that you’re aware of the problem and that you’re going to begin to chip away at it — will go a long way in improving your relationships.
You may even want to ask for your family’s support in helping you get a handle on your clutter.
Do you live with a clutterer or hoarder? Find out how to help them sort through their issues (and their stuff).

Reprinted from: The Hoarder in You © 2011 by Dr. Robin Zasio. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. Available wherever books are sold.


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