Clutter vs. Hoarding: Differences & When it Becomes Hoarding

Clutter vs. Hoarding: Differences & When it Becomes Hoarding

Sometimes a mess is just a mess and isn’t a cause for concern. However, clutter is more serious when it negatively impacts a person’s well-being and regular home use. If you suspect that you or your loved one is a hoarder, this guide on clutter vs. hoarding is for you.

Hoarding is a disorder that affects about one in every fifty people in the US. But, it can be hard to tell when there’s a serious problem or if it’s just messiness. When it comes to clutter vs. hoarding, most people find it hard to tell one from the other. But it’s essential to know the comparisons between these two terms before you conclude a diagnosis.

We’ll also help you understand the main differences between clutter vs. hoarding. You’ll also learn why it’s to mistake one for the other and how to manage clutter before it becomes severe.


Clutter typically refers to anything that makes a space messy and untidy. We’ve all had clutter like old clothes, lousy furniture, plates or takeout containers, and other useless possessions that fill our space.

The smaller your living space, the more likely you will experience clutter for obvious reasons. Some people are also sentimental about their belongings which can clutter their space. In addition, clutter can also mean different things to many people, and it is not considered a mental illness,

Regarding clutter vs. hoarding, Margit Novack, president of the National Association of Senior Move Management, shared that different people are comfortable with varying degrees of clutter. What you consider a problem may fall on the average scale of cluttering for many people, which is why it’s hard to define clutter precisely.


Hoarding is used to describe a compulsive need to keep junk and items that have no value. Hoarders generally love accumulating and keeping things even when they serve no purpose. A hoarder’s home may be filled with empty boxes, newspapers, junk mail, and containers.

In addition, some hoarders may also keep food waste and other unhygienic items that can become hazardous. Unlike normal cluttering, it’s hard to convince hoarders to let go of junk without causing them severe distress. The two words are often used interchangeably in terms of hoarding vs. clutter.

Hoarding was officially named a mental illness in 2013 that affects about 2 to 6 percent of people. Some studies have also found that hoarding can be a severe form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and may also be related to ADHD or dementia.

Is Clutter A Mental Illness?

No, clutter is not considered a mental illness. Naturally, disorganized people tend to have messy and untidy spaces, which is not necessarily a mental disorder. However, clutter can adversely affect a person’s mental health if it’s not checked. For instance, clutter can make it harder to focus on work and increase stress levels.

Does Clutter Lead To Hoarding

Yes, clutter can eventually lead to hoarding in extreme cases found in many clutter vs. hoarding studies. Some people keep clutter around until it becomes incredibly overwhelming and unhygienic. It can also be considered hoarding when a person accumulates things without purpose.

Is Hoarding A Mental Illness?

Yes, hoarding is a severe mental disorder, and about two to five percent of US residents have been diagnosed with this condition. Researchers also believe hoarding can be linked to other psychological conditions such as OCD, ADHD, and Dementia.

Hoarding disorders often impact one’s mental and physical health and financial and social relationships. However, a mental health specialist will assess the individual and develop a proper treatment plan for their situation. Treatment may include one-on-one counseling, therapy, and professional cleaning assistance.

Signs of Hoarding

While you may understand the explanations for clutter vs. hoarding, knowing when to take action can be tricky. Clutter becomes a red flag when it starts to affect your day-to-day life. Ask yourself these questions to know if you may have a problem:

  • Do you have difficulty throwing things out even when they have no value?
  • Are you constantly buying new items to replace the ones you already have in your home?
  • Do you always have a conflict whenever people ask you to discard your old belongings?
  • Are you unable to have people over because your home is constantly messy?
  • Have you ever been trapped or restricted from specific spaces in your home, e.g., the basement, bedroom, or kitchen?
  • Do you find it hard to leave your house because you can’t find your wallet, keys, clothes, and other personal belongings?
  • Are there random junk piles that take up space in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, and garage?

How To Keep Clutter in Check?

Many hoarding vs. clutter conversations has shown that even mild untidiness leads to a greater problem if not managed. Find out how you can keep clutter in check below:

  • Define your space and give everything a place: You can avoid clutter by organizing your space and having a particular arrangement. For instance, you can keep jars in the pantry and work stationary on your desk.
  • Set a spending limit: You should always know how much you plan to spend before shopping to avoid buying things you don’t need. It also helps to have a list of things you need so you don’t exceed the budget.
  • Tidy up regularly: It may be hard to clean your room daily, but we recommend picking up after yourself. This means you should always put things in their place even when you don’t have guests.
  • Do not procrastinate: It’s easy to say, “I’ll do that later” or “I’m tired right now.” But this allows clutter to build up until it becomes overwhelming. You should be a policymaker and tidy up even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Get rid of your old stuff: When you buy a new item, you mustn’t keep the item you’re trying to replace. For instance, if you buy a new dress, remember to discard the old one.
  • Outsource cleaning: If you don’t have time to clean up your home, you can hire a cleaner. This is the easiest way to ensure you always have a clean space.

Dealing With Clutter, But Think It May Be Hoarding?

If you or someone you love has a definitive clutter problem, we want you to know one thing.

This is nothing to be ashamed of.

We say this because shame is a powerful negative emotion that can lead to hiding our problems when we need help. In the blink of an eye, clutter can become a hoarding issue that challenges your ability to participate in society and live a healthy life. If you’re ready to turn things around, get in touch with the team at Spaulding Decon to discuss hoarding cleanout.

Free Ebook – Dealing with Hoarding Around You

Learn from our 15+ Years Experience with Hoarding Assistance. Hoarding is destructive to your property values as well as theirs. There are many ways to go about working with a harder to get them to clean up the mess. In this free eBook download, Spaulding Decon teaches you lessons learned from dealing with Hoarding Cleanup and the psychology behind hoarding disorders.

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Why People Hoard and How Therapy is Helpful for Hoarders

Why People Hoard and How Therapy is Helpful for Hoarders

Therapy for Hoarders and What studies have shown

Everyone can benefit from therapy and mental health resources. We at Spaulding Decon, encounter traumatic scenes daily. Whether it is a suicide, crime scene or hoard, we are cognizant that these scenes can leave a lasting impression and at times PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as studied by the Mayo Clinic


Mental Health and Hoarding

Our clients too, are dealing with conditions that could benefit from therapy or mental health assistance. Many of them struggle with hoarding. Hoarding is a compulsive behavior resulting in difficulty discarding or letting go of personal items. People become emotionally attached to their belongings and struggle to part with them, often leading them to live in unmanageable conditions. 

According to the ADAA, hoarding usually has emotional, physical, social, financial and even legal effects.


Symptoms of Hoarding: 

  • Inability to discard personal items 
  • Experiencing severe anxiety when asked to discard items 
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed when having to organize items 
  • Feeling indecisive and struggling with determining what to keep and let go of 
  • Being overwhelmed or embarrassed by the number of possessions they are keeping 
  • Fear of others touching their things or trying to convince them to depart with their items 
  • Obsessive thoughts or fear of running out of items  
  • Loss of functionality due to lack of living space, becoming isolated with hopes of hiding the condition or embarrassment over the condition of their living space, financial hardship, and even health hazards.  


Why Do People Hoard?

As shown by recent conversations involving homeowners that deal with Hoarding Disorder, people hoard because they believe an item will be useful or valuable in the future. Hoarders feel those certain items hold sentimental value as well and fear if they depart from these items, they will never be able to replace them. 

Hoarding is associating with mental illness as it is closely associated with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder), (ADHD) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as well as Depression.


What is OCD? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? 

OCD is a condition in which the person becomes obsessed or consumed by thoughts and fears of something. This disorder begins gradually and slowly progresses until it consumes the person struggling with it. These thoughts are unwanted, recurring and they make the person feel driven to perform an action continuously.   

The American Psychiatric Association has mentioned that the avoidance of these behaviors commonly cause distress. See examples of OCD behaviors: 

  • compulsive hand washing, teeth brushing, showering due to fear of germ contamination, organizing things in a certain order or perhaps symmetrically  
  • cleaning the home compulsively 
  • frequent uncomfortable thoughts 
  • fear of blurting out insults,  
  • recurrent thoughts of numeric patterns, words, or sounds 
  • the act of repeatedly checking door locks, appliances or flipping switches in a certain pattern 
  • the fear of departing from items that feel as though they have a significant value  


What is OCPD?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may seem like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) they are not the same. While both conditions can create distress, fear and have thought patters that are consuming to the individual resulting them to act, in order to alleviate the anxiety. OCPD is defined by the need for perfectionism and control.  

Most people with OCD are self-aware and conscientious of their symptoms and behaviors while people with OCPD are typically not.  

Both conditions are treated with psychotherapy (the practice of using methods such as regular counseling or the use of methods clinically proven to help a person diagnosed with a mental disorder to understand the root of the issue and learn ways to cope with their disorder). OCD, however, tends to have a better prognosis than OCPD. 


What is ADHD?

ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a chronic disorder that affects attention and has a hyperactive or impulsive component to it. ADHD typically starts during childhood and stays with you for the duration of your life.   

New research has found that people with ADHD are significantly more likely to exhibit hoarding behaviors, which can greatly affect the person’s quality of life.  


What is Depression?

Depression is a condition which affects a person’s mood. There are different types of depression. Depression is characterized by the following characteristics: 

  1. gloomy mood or lack of interest in things the person was interested in before 
  2. a lack of concentration or inability to focus 
  3. a loss or change in sleep or appetite 
  4. deep feelings of sorrow, hopelessness, worthlessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts 

Depression is quite common. ADAA also states that anxiety disorders are affecting 40 million adults in the US ages 18 and older. People with hoarding issues typically suffer from depression or anxiety as well. 


How can therapy help people struggling with hoarding?

Therapy is the practice of being evaluated or treated by a medical professional with hopes of resolving concerning behaviors, feelings, issues that create stress or different sensations in the body. Therapy is performed or done with a mental health professional who will use different methods of therapy to help you find the underlying reason why you are experiencing symptoms. Therapists will often listen to your concerns, explore your past, teach you new skills, give you homework tasks which are meant to help you process your thoughts in a new way, help you achieve your goals. 

We spoke with Theresa Ellis, LCSW and asked her thoughts on the subject matter, She shared that “most human behavior is a result of what a person feels, and in our culture, often we aren’t encouraged to pay much attention to our internal emotional environment, nor are we educated about it. Established patterns from childhood on, create an emotional environment in us that we work to keep in balance, in other words, cope.  

Most people exhibiting hoarder behavior are hoarding as a coping mechanism. It is a symptom of something else.  It isn’t about intelligence, or knowledge about how to keep order.  It’s an attempt to alleviate some sort of emotional discomfort, even though in reality it creates more, magnifying the very feelings the hoarder is wanting to avoid. Therapy is about discovering the reasons for your discomfort.

Hoarding is a symptom of your discomfort – it feels safer than risking “letting go”. Once therapeutic work has been done assisting in letting go of emotional stuff, it’s possible to learn the ‘how’ of letting go of the real stuff.”


Getting over Hoarding Habits

Therapy can be expensive if your insurance does not cover it. Many people pay out of pocket for therapy. Therapy can cost between $65 to $250 or more per hour or session. Betterhelp is a great platform for therapy as it has a multitude of therapists that are on standby at all hours of the day, available to help you if you need to speak to someone and they are available virtually, which is convenient and effective.  

Hoarding is an action that helps people struggling with certain emotional issues divert their anxiety towards holding on to personal items. This behavior is a coping mechanism, the problem is that the behavior itself creates other issues for the hoarder. They can create an environment for themselves that is not sanitary, safe or comfortable. 

It is easy to lose yourself in the chaos but luckily counseling helps. Having a therapist to help you navigate your emotions, identify your discomfort and heal is key to dominating this behavior and finding healthier coping mechanisms for their anxiety and other mental health conditions.  There are many resources to help hoarders get help. Spaulding Decon is a company that helps you clean up your clutter, however they strongly recommend working with a mental health specialist in order to put an end to the behavior once and for all. 

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When Does Messy Become Hoarding?: A Psychological Look at Hoarding as a Disorder

When Does Messy Become Hoarding?: A Psychological Look at Hoarding as a Disorder

a picture of a hoarding houseHoarding is a concept that’s made its way into mainstream American culture in the last few years. With the advent of shows like Hoarders and listicles with pictures full of hoarding houses, we’ve all become somewhat fascinated by this condition. But what is hoarding and how much control does a hoarder have?

Contrary to popular belief, hoarding is a real mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression. Read on to learn more about hoarding as a disorder and when it might be time to seek help for this condition.

What Is Hoarding?

Although many people view hoarding as laziness or simple slobbery, nothing could be further from the truth. Hoarding is a mental disorder in which a person has extreme difficulty getting rid of unneeded items. They feel like they have to keep them, and the thought of getting rid of anything causes them extreme distress.

Over time, hoarding takes over the house, covering every horizontal surface, including floors, counters, sinks, desks, stairways, and even beds. If not treated, hoarding can even expand to areas outside the house, such as garages, sheds, vehicles, and anywhere else the person has access to. Hoarding severity can differ from person to person, although people with hoarding disorder often will not see their condition as a problem, regardless of its severity.


Many of the symptoms of hoarding are visible to the naked eye, a rarity with mental health disorders. You may start to notice that you or your loved one has a habit of acquiring far more items than they need. As they run out of storage space, things begin to pile up around the house, and still the person just keeps buying.

When the idea of throwing away or selling some of these items come up, a person with hoarding may get unreasonably upset. Clutter may start to build up to the point that certain rooms in the house are no longer useable. A person with hoarding disorder may also start to show a tendency for procrastination, perfectionism, and indecisiveness.

Risk Factors

Doctors don’t know quite what causes hoarding yet, but they do know there are some factors that may place you at greater risk. In general, hoarding behavior often starts between the ages of 11 and 15, although it is more common in older adults than younger adults. People who are naturally indecisive may be at greater risk of developing a hoarding disorder.

Doctors have also found that people who have a family history of hoarding may be at greater risk themselves. And oftentimes, hoarding behaviors are triggered after a traumatic life experience. This may include a house fire, the death of a loved one, an eviction, a divorce, or other such hardships.

Comorbid Disorders

Oftentimes, when a person has a hoarding disorder, there may also be some other mental health disorders contributing to their condition, too. One of the most common of these is depression; even if a person does see that there’s a problem, depression may rob them of the energy to deal with it. Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder may also contribute to hoarding, as a person may have trouble focusing for long enough to tackle the problems that are piling up.

Anxiety can also be a serious contributor to hoarding, as a person may have the irrational fear that if they get rid of any of their stuff, something terrible will happen. You may also be surprised to learn that hoarding also shows up alongside obsessive-compulsive disorder. Rather than the common misconception that OCD causes a person to obsessively clean, it’s an anxiety-based disorder that can cause a variety of compulsions, including hoarding.


Hoarding can cause a variety of complications aside from the basic problems the condition triggers. For one thing, a person with hoarding may experience an increased risk of falls due to the number of tripping hazards around the home. If they do fall, they may get injured or trapped by piles of items falling on top of them.

Most significantly of all, a person with hoarding may become isolated and may experience more conflicts with their family. They may feel as though everyone in their life is attacking them or turning against them, and they may withdraw, which can increase hoarding tendencies. They may struggle at work, and if they rent a house, they could even face eviction.

When to Get Help

It can be hard to know when to seek help for a hoarding problem. After all, at what point does simple messiness or a need for a good deep clean transition into being a mental disorder? As a general rule, that line comes when the person in question can no longer control their hoarding tendencies.

If you notice that you or your loved one becomes extremely upset, especially to an irrational degree, when the topic of purging some items comes up, it may be time to seek help. It’s also a good idea to get help if living conditions in the home become dangerous or unsanitary. Although it may feel like a betrayal of your loved one, getting them the help they need can vastly improve their quality of life.

Learn About Hoarding as a Disorder

Oftentimes, it can be easy to see hoarding as the product of laziness, stubbornness, or slobbiness. But hoarding is a real disorder, and people living with it need to get help from a mental health professional. If you or your loved one has a hoarding disorder, talk to your family doctor about how to get help today.

If you’d like to learn more about hoarding as a disorder, check out the rest of our site at Spaulding Decon. We clean up all life’s accidents, from hoarding and drug labs to crime scenes and more. Find a location near you today and start getting things back to the way they used to be more quickly than ever.

The Types of Hoarding

The Types of Hoarding

During the COVID-19 pandemic, signs warning of only one package of toilet paper for each customer are not an indication of a failure in the supply chain. Rather, it’s more a mark of an unpredictable event that has turned our lives upside down.
Note that hoarding goes beyond having an attic stuffed with stuff or a box of rusty nails. People reach the disorder stage when they cross the line separating busy clutter from addictive accumulation.

Here are some common types of hoarding.

Food Hoarding
You probably know that are many types of people who tend to store up a little extra food in case of emergencies. However, people predisposed to hoarding can start having strong compulsions about keeping food. And it is worth noting that people who usually struggle with food hoarding typically have some past trauma associated with fears of not having enough food.

Animal Hoarding
Animal hoarding is also common. Despite the restrictions and limits on the number of animals or pets allowed within a condo, home, or apartment, the realistic number for hoarders often greatly exceeds these limits. And note that when these animals become malnourished and do not get the care they need, their safety and health are jeopardized.
Homes of animal hoarders are often accompanied by more clutter, presenting hazardous health conditions associated with germs, animal waste, and bacteria within the home.

Garbage or Trash Hoarding
A person can be identified as a garbage or trash hoarder when they display an inability to discard waste, garbage, or trash. Also, note that garbage hoarders frequently rummage through other people’s trash in order to find “treasures” of their own. As you can imagine, this inability to differentiate valuable items from harmful waste can be a cause of concern.


      Animal Hoarding: Laws, Facts and Psychology behind It

      Animal Hoarding: Laws, Facts and Psychology behind It

      Animal Hoarding

      While not considered a distinct mental disorder, hoarding is a severe compulsive behavior that, if left untreated, may escalate to devastating proportions, hurting both the hoarder and those around him in the process. It is estimated that between 2% to 5% of the American population is affected by this compulsive behavior. Hoarding can take many forms as people tend to collect all kinds of items. Sometimes, they even collect living and breathing animals. 

      Animal hoarding is a hoarding behavior characterized by an excessive need to keep as many animals as possible without providing the necessary minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, and shelter. Individuals suffering from this disorder will fill their homes to the brim with many different animals including dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, birds, and in some cases even farm animals. There are approximately 200,000 cases of animal hoarding reported each year, with many more cases going under the radar. The bad news is that reports show that animal hoarding is on the rise.

      Today we are going to take a deep dive into the confusing and often tragic world of animal hoarding and try to give you a better understanding of how this behavior that starts with a positive intention ends up hurting so many animals. We are also going to explain what should you do if you are a bystander of animal hoarding. 

      Let’s start by looking at the animal hoarder definition.

      What Makes Someone an Animal Hoarder?

      First and foremost, we have to define what is the definition of animal hoarding and how it differentiates from taking care of a large number of animals. This is not as straightforward as you might think since what classifies a person as an animal hoarder isn’t necessary the number of animals he keeps, rather it is whether or not he can provide for those animals. So, if you were wondering how many animals is considered hoarding – there is no threshold number used to define a pet owner as a hoarder, as there’s nothing wrong with having a dozen of cats, dogs, or any other pets, as long as they are provided with adequate shelter, food, and veterinary care. 

      However, if an individual possesses more than the typical number of pets without providing them with the bare minimum, yet is delusional and lacks the self-awareness to admit that he is unable to take care of those animals, that individual is considered an animal hoarder.

      The gist of it is that, while at its core animal hoarding has good intentions, the results of it are devastating and can cause a lot of suffering for both the animals and the people involved. Animal hoarding also causes a strain on local animal shelters and volunteers as they need to provide temporary or permanent homes for all these animals, barring that the unintentional neglect and abuse do not result in the premature death of said animals.

      More Facts About Animal Hoarding

      So now that we have defined what the term “animal hoarding” refers to, let’s look at some of the facts associated with this compulsive behavior.

      Even experts do not exactly understand what causes people to become animal hoarders. Most of them agree that animal hoarding falls into the category of obsessive-compulsive disorders, however, they also agree that animal hoarding is a complex disorder with elements of personality disorder, paranoia, delusional thinking, attachment disorders, and depression. 

      Despite their mental disorders, hoarders are often able to hide their issues from their own family and other observers by maintaining an image of well-intentioned individuals trying to help stray animals. They fool others just as they fool themselves into thinking their situation is perfectly under control and that they are helping animals in need, while in reality, it is the opposite.

      While there are certain stereotypes related to the age and gender of hoarders, in reality, they can be young or old and male or female. Also, the socio-economic background is not necessarily a deciding factor in becoming a hoarder. That being said, elderly people tend to develop hoarding habits more often due to their loneliness, isolation from society, and deteriorating memory and health. 

      When asking animal hoarders what is the reasoning behind their actions, you’ll be surprised how often their answers vary. Some individuals collect animals in excess in order to compensate for the loss of a loved one. It is not uncommon for a traumatic event to trigger some type of hoarding behavior. Others become dog or cat hoarders in an attempt to save them from living on the streets. Regardless of what the reason is, this excessive accumulation of animals usually gets out of hand to the point where it becomes detrimental to the livelihood of all parties involved.

      But how does this happen?

      A Love for Animals or a Mental Illness?

      Hoarding, in general, is a misunderstood phenomenon that has many psychological underpinnings. Individuals who suffer from hoarding have a hard time letting go of their items because they have a habit of forming strong emotional attachments and wish to preserve memories through these items. Their homes are cluttered and messy to the point where they become inhabitable. Every countertop, closet, floor, and hallway is filled to the brim. Even their bathtubs are used for storage purposes. Hoarders hold on to stuff many other people throw away.

      Now, the issue becomes even greater when people start collecting living and breathing animals instead of items. What starts as a good intention, often leads to an unhealthy obsession. Animal hoarders acquire as many pets as they can fit in their homes, without acknowledging their inability to provide even the minimal standards to sustain them. These individuals become emotionally overwhelmed and socially isolated, alienating themselves from their family and close friends.

      Their challenges with organizing their personal lives have a direct influence on the well-being of their newly acquired pets. Poor health, lack of proper nutrition, overcrowding diseases – these are just some of the things that define the everyday life of a pet imprisoned by an animal hoarder. They’ll often fight for the sparse amount of food available, sustaining numerous injurious in the process. These injuries are then left untreated, leading to infections and eventually death. Innocent victims of misguided love.

      In the end, these animals are kept in horrific conditions, where they are deprived of proper care and nutrition. In severe cases, you’ll see these animals suffering from diseases while living covered in their own waste. Unfortunately, when they finally succumb to their illnesses, most animal hoarders do not get rid of their bodies. Other live animals then continue living among the deceased ones and as a result are exposed to various infections and diseases.

      Animal Hoarding Psychology

      As we already stated, the psychology behind animal hoarding is intricate and complex. Similar to how object hoarding works, people who excessively collect animals form a strong emotional attachment with their newly acquired pets. The need for these emotional bonds often comes after the individual has gone through a difficult event in his life. Common triggers include a loss of a loved one, a difficult illness, or being rejected from society. They seek to find solace in their pets and see them as a source of unconditional love. However, their inability to grasp the reality and severity of their situation often leads to further unhappiness.

      They spend all their time, money, and energy on their pets, neglecting their own health and social life in the process. Their homes become a wasteland of animal feces, discarded food packaging, and all kinds of other garbage. The biggest tragedy of animal hoarding is that the hoarder is equally affected by his seemingly well-intentioned and misguided love just as much as his animals are. They are equally trapped by his own compulsive and delusional behavior.

      Some justify their actions by presenting themselves as a rescue service for rejected animals. This makes them feel special as they too have been mistreated in life. However, while they portray themselves as saviors, their animals suffer, as in reality they are deprived of a clean and healthy home.

      What Animals Are Most Commonly Hoarded

      Statistics show that cat hoarding is the most common type of animal hoarding with more than 50 % of reported cases involving cats. Dogs are right up there with cats when it comes to animal hoarding, followed by birds. Exotic pets are a subject of animal hoarding but are not even closely as common as cat or dog and cat are right up there when it comes to hoardnig

      Laws Related to Animal Hoarding

      The law sees animal hoarding as a form of animal abuse and is covered under the animal cruelty statute. Every state has slightly different animal cruelty laws but one commonality between all these laws is that caretakers should be able to provide sufficient amounts of food, water, and veterinary care. They are also required to provide adequate shelter, else they can be prosecuted. 

      That being said, animal cruelty laws consider animal hoarding a misdemeanor offense in most states which makes them not as effective in preventing this type of activity. A few states have made the effort to make their animal cruelty laws less vague and more strict. These states consider animal neglect as a felony offense and have specific prohibitions against hoarding animals.

      How to Tell if Someone Is a Hoarder

      There are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder. For instance, a large number of animals living in a home that’s deteriorating is a red flag that the person living there is indeed an animal hoarder. If you are in a conversation with an individual that you suspect is an animal hoarder and you notice that he is unaware of the exact number of animals under his care, you’re most likely dealing with an animal hoarder. Also, if there are signs of delusional behavior such as claiming that all the animals living on the property are happy and taken care of even though it is evident that that is not the case, you’re probably dealing with an animal hoarder. Other signs include:

      • A peculiar smell coming from the property
      • Lethargic and undernourished animals
      • The pet owner is isolated from the neighborhood and does not enjoy the company of others
      • The pet owner is unwilling to let visitors onto his property
      • The pet owner has a neglected visual appearance

      Animal Hoarding Help

      So what should you do if you have an animal hoarder in your life? How to help someone who hoards? Well, there are several ways on how to deal with an animal hoarder. If you suspect that someone is indeed hoarding animals, you should not turn a blind eye to it. Call your local animal welfare organization and report animal hoarding. While this might seem a harsh response, especially if the person in question is an acquaintance of yours, reporting animal hoarding to local law enforcement and organizations that deal with this type of behavior is the right thing to do. 

      It’s also the only way to help the individual as animal hoarders tend to make an effort to portray an image of normality despite the struggles that plague their lives. They fear that if they reach out to someone for help, their animals will be taken away from them and killed. Again, animal hoarders have a sense of guilt and responsibility, but it is this exact fear that leads to a certain sad outcome. They need professional help and the sooner they get it the better. Also, think of all the innocent animal lives you’ll save by reporting animal hoarding to the local authorities.

      You can also consider volunteering to assist other volunteers and animal shelters in the rehoming process. Professional cleanup crews can be of great help in restoring the property to its previous state. Hiring an experienced cleanup service will avoid exposure to various infections and animal-borne illnesses. 

      Pet care is not the same as pet hoarding and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with going over the top with showing affection towards animals, some individuals take it too far. If you recognize animal hoarding as a situation that affects you or a loved one, seek out help instead of ignoring it. If you require a cleaning crew that will restore your property’s previous shine, contact Spaulding Decon.


      More Hoarding Information:

      Resource below might help you if you are worried about someone in an animal hoarding condition. .

      How to Help a Hoarder Who Doesn’t Want Any Help?

      How to Help a Hoarder Who Doesn’t Want Any Help?

      Many people take hoarding lightly, even though it’s a very serious disorder. Like most other things, hoarding starts slowly, and most people who suffer from this disorder aren’t even aware of it until it’s too late. However, people who compulsively acquire new objects are sometimes aware of it but refuse to acknowledge and deal with it.

      If you’re wondering how to help a hoarder or are perhaps struggling to deal with a hoarder in your family, take a moment to check out some of the points we’ve made in this article. While it’s far from being a collection of rules, it’s designed to help and offer you a better insight into the mindset of people who are hoarders.

      What is a Hoarding Disorder?

      Before we dive deeper into the matter, it’s important to get familiar with the condition itself so that we can understand the concept and make the battle against it a bit easier.

      According to the Mayo Clinic,

      “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

      As you can tell, hoarding has nothing to do with the value of the items that are being accumulated, nor does it have anything to do with collectibles. The difference between hoarding and collecting is pretty simple – hoarders seldom seek to display their possessions, while in collecting, people proudly display their belongings and keep them organized.

      What is a Hoarding Disorder

      How To Help a Hoarder Who Doesn’t Want Help?

      The first thing you should remember if you’re looking to help a person in need is to avoid forcing them to do anything. Nothing good ever comes from forcing one to change their habits, and that’s why this is a process rather than being an intervention.

      • Providing Motivation and Listening to What They Have to Say

      One of the best things you can do is — listen, even though it doesn’t seem effective at first glance. Many hoarders struggle to articulate the reasoning behind their behavior, and more importantly – most of them are quite embarrassed to admit that they have a problem.

      Being a good listener allows you to help them open up about the issues that have been troubling them for a long time. Instead of acting like a psychologist and offering a bunch of quick solutions, you should listen carefully and ask questions that might help streamline the process of getting rid of this horrible addiction.

      Try to get to the bottom of the problem by circling around with important questions, and you will, sooner or later, find success.

      • Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help

      There is nothing embarrassing in admitting you have a problem and asking for help. In fact, it might be one of the only effective ways to deal with this problem, especially if it’s particularly severe.
      If you’re looking for the answer to the question of how to get help for a hoarder, scheduling an appointment with a professional would be an excellent start. However, not all people are eager to share their predicaments with another person (even if that other person is a licensed professional), so be sure to bring this up gradually rather than insisting on it.

      • Do Not Clean Up For Them

      Even though you’re looking to help your friend or family member, one thing you should NOT do is take it on yourself and cleanup for them. Individuals who are struggling with hoarding disorder should make a conscious and independent decision to better themselves. While it’s good and recommended for you to intervene as a friend, cleaning things up for and instead of your friend is definitely a bad idea.

      • Help Them Sort Out Their Stuff

      In some severe cases, hoarders accumulate so many things that it fills up the whole house. Even if you manage to persuade them to stop hoarding, something has to be done about the already hoarded items or else your endeavors are in vain.

      There is no easy way around this. You will have to volunteer to help your friend or loved one sort their things out, get rid of worthless items, and more importantly – prevent them from doing it all over again.

      • Take Some Time to Educate Yourself

      As we’ve mentioned, hoarding is no laughing matter. Even though some people might think they are familiar with this particular disorder, it’s often not the case. In fact, helping your friend the way you are not supposed to is always going to cause more harm than good. That’s why it is important that you inform and educate yourself about this condition and take the right steps rather than doing what you think is right and (seemingly) helpful.

      • Praise a Change and Celebrate Small Victories

      Very rarely will you manage to “cure” your friend in one go. As we’ve mentioned, going through hoarding rehabilitation is more of a process rather than being an intervention, and that’s why it’s important to take things slowly and celebrate small victories.

      Don’t hesitate to commend an improvement because that’s one of the most effective ways to motivate your friend to keep pushing even further. It will definitely take a lot of time before you see a massive improvement, but small steps are what counts here.

      How to Help a Hoarder Who Doesn't Want Any Help

      How To Deal With a Hoarder in the Family?

      Even though there is not much difference between dealing with friends and family members, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

      Firstly, you should acknowledge that the person has a right to make their own decisions. This shows a healthy amount of respect as well as affection. Team up with them and ask them about their issues; family members tend to have a stronger bond in comparison to friendships. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to sit down with your brother, mother, father, or anyone who needs help and just talk to them. Naturally, you should avoid being judgmental as that will only worsen the situation.

      Also, never toss anything out without permission. Even if you think a particular item is worthless, obsolete, or simply doesn’t belong somewhere, you don’t have the right to throw something out that isn’t yours.

      What are the Negative Effects of Hoarding?

      While most people are aware of the obvious downsides of compulsive hoarding, there are some things that aren’t as apparent. Here are a couple of alarming downsides of hoarding:

      • Constant Clutter

      Severe clutter is not only visually unappealing, but it’s also a serious health hazard. On top of that, it can also be a structural and fire hazard, depending on the severity of the case.
      Many hoarders simply forget about 90% of things they have underneath the first few layers of clutter. This can be extremely dangerous because a single pack of white-phosphorous matches can self-ignite and cause a catastrophe, even though they have been buried under a pile of worthless stuff for decades.

      • Conflicts with Family and Friends

      No matter how affectionate and tolerant you are, there will come a time when you’ve just had enough of it. This is a serious issue, and it has affected numerous families and tore them apart. That’s why it’s important to act promptly and help your friend or family member as soon as you notice something is off (a room full of worthless and disorganized stuff is a rather obvious clue).

      • Evictions and Financial Issues

      It goes without saying that most landlords won’t tolerate any level of hoarding, let alone the severe cases. Consequently, your friend will end up on the street sooner or later, and more importantly – this can lead to hospitalization and homelessness, both of which are alarming, to say the least.

      Look for Ways to Help Them

      Instead of looking at how to deal with a hoarder, you should instead look for ways to help them. We have covered a few methods and ways you can use in order to help your friend or family member, but rest assured there are plenty of other options out there.

      The essential thing you should remember is to stay calm, collected, and most importantly – tolerant. You will, most certainly, have to go through a lot of tough moments, but in the end, all that counts is the level of success. With that being said, don’t be afraid of failure because you’ll very rarely manage to help your loved one right from the get-go.

      If you would like to know more about disorders, hoarding cleanup procedures, and similar subjects, don’t hesitate to read our other articles! They are a great resource for anyone who’s looking to solve a particular predicament but isn’t sure how.

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