People are often quick to declare themselves as a hoarder when in may be a case of collections may get out of hand or life throws us a curve ball and things get a little disorganised.

To answer your question “Am I a hoarder?” Eco Organiser® decided to ask Australia’s leading expert in this field, co-owners of Hoarding Home Solutions Wendy Hanes and Angela Esnouf.

Wendy Hanes is a Certified Professional Organizer© with the Board of Certified Professional Organizers, Australia’s only Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD©)

Angela Esnouf is a member of Golden Circle member of NAPO and is NAPO’s Ambassador in Australia. She is a subscriber of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization with specialist ICD certificates in Chronic Disorganization, Hoarding and ADHD.

As you can see, we went straight to the experts.

Q. Is there a quick way to determine if you suffer from hoarding disorder?

Hoarding Disorder is recognised as a diagnosable and treatable behavioural mental health condition. The official definition of Hoarding Disorder in the DSM-V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5) includes, in lay terms, the accumulation of things which most people would consider useless, and the inability to discard those items. The diagnosis also indicates that the resulting clutter causes significant distress, and that living spaces are not able to be used in the manner intended. For example, a bedroom can’t be slept in, or a kitchen can’t be cooked in.

We often hear people refer to themselves as “hoarders”, and it may or may not be true. While we’re not qualified to diagnose, we can treat that person’s distress about their clutter in a sensitive way. Rather than debate the use of the label “hoarder”, we role model more appropriate language like “someone who hoards”, “someone with Hoarding Disorder”. In truth, it matters little to us whether they have Hoarding Disorder or just plain don’t like the way their house is. The strategies we teach work in either case to create a safer, more welcoming home, while treating the person at the centre with empathy and compassion.

Q. What assistance does Hoarding Home Solutions offer to support people with hoarding disorder?

Hoarding Home Solutions training was developed to support the people supporting the person who hoards, whether they are loved ones or professional service providers. We find many people have good intentions but lack the skills and knowledge to help a person with their hoarding in an effective way. Our mission is to provide practical, affordable, easily accessible online training that empowers people to work effectively with confidence and compassion to resolve a hoarding situation.

With climate change comes a new form of anxiety, Climate Change Anxiety

At Eco Organiser® we hear of people storing waste rather than recycling, due to their concerns the waste will go to landfill rather than recycled.

Q. Can you suggest ways to help reduce the hoarding of waste?

Beliefs about waste can lead to people’s homes becoming landfill!  As Professional Organisers it is outside the scope of our expertise to try to change people’s deeply held beliefs.  We can however help them to reduce what comes in and find workarounds that allow them to discard without fear of impacting the environment. We can also use graded techniques that build their discarding muscle over time without exacerbating their anxiety. For example, having knowledge of recycling resource centres can help ease the distress around discarding.

Thank you Wendy and Angela for sharing your expertise!

To contact Hoarding Home Solutions

For more links and resources to responsibly dispose of unwanted items check out Eco Organiser® Useful Link