brown paper shopping bagsHere’s a definition of hoarding that we’ve heard floating around: hoarding is the accumulation of items that have no clear value.

Well, we don’t agree. There are so many types of hoarding that this definition doesn’t quite fit. It’s true that people sometimes hoard items most would define as trash. But other times, people stock up on items that do have some monetary value.

In fact, hoarding behavior can sometimes dovetail with compulsive shopping. When this happens, an unsafe and unhealthy hoarding situation can hide in plain sight. Keep reading to learn more.

The Cleanup Scene

Picture a home filled with things. It’s so cluttered that it’s hard to move around. Many items block your path, including unopened packages, even shopping bags. These are the kind of items that people find useful or valuable, but something here is a bit off.

Most items are still in their original packaging, and many are duplicate items. The home is dusty, but there is no visible trash or waste lying around. The place feels like an eerie overstuffed closet.

Is It Compulsive Shopping?

Compulsive shopping often involves showing off your purchases instead of locking them away. But if a compulsive shopper is elderly or homebound, they might fill their home with stuff. In short, it might appear that they have a hoarding disorder.

So how do you tell the difference between hoarding behavior and compulsive shopping? It’s actually simple. Compulsive shoppers never develop an outsized attachment to the items that they buy.

This is because compulsive shopping is about the act of shopping itself. The feeling of being able to afford something, and the pleasure of doing so is an end unto itself. The motivation behind hoarding disorder is different, as we will see.

Is It Hoarding Disorder?

So here’s a better definition of hoarding: an unusual attachment to possessions. Well, what does that look like? If you take away an item from a person with hoarding disorder, or even suggest it, they will panic. When you take away an item from a compulsive shopper, it’s likely they won’t care. So, you sent that unopened coffee maker to their granddaughter’s dorm room. Well, they had three anyway.

Get Help For Hoarding In Cincinnati

Instances where hoarding behavior looks like compulsive shopping don’t seem all that dangerous. It’s only a biohazard if it’s trash hoarding, right? If there are pest issues, or moldy old papers?

Don’t be fooled! The buildup of objects in a home, even if they are clean and unopened, is unsafe. If you can’t move around with ease in a home, then it’s unsafe. Should a fire occur, inhabitants might not be able to get out. And if an elderly person in the home requires medical help, an EMT might not be able to make it through.

Call Spaulding Decon Cincinnati

As you can guess, hoarding cleanup is a tricky and emotional process. It involves helping a person part with objects they’re attached to. At Spaulding Decon Cincinnati, we help families navigate hoarding disorder. We help folks in Cincinnati, Southern Ohio, and Northern Kentucky reclaim their homes from hoarding.

Call us for help today: (513) 337-5885!