Posted by: Ellen Hankes | March 28, 2010

When Does A Collection Turn Into Hoarding?

When people collect things they enjoy displaying their collections and frequently share them with others. Collectors often have one or more parts of their home that reflect the items which are related by theme or use. For example, a book collection may be displayed on book shelves and a sea shell collection may reside in an area in a bathroom or bedroom. In general, collectors are proud of their carefully assembled collections and feel happy as they acquire another item for their collections. When a collection gets unmanageable, collectors often trade, sell or donate duplicates or extra pieces. A professional organizer can provide ideas on attractive displays and effective storage.

A person who hoards may have an extremely strong need to continue buying items that interest or intrigue him. Hoarding behavior is also marked by the strong aversion to getting rid of items that may be of little worth to others. Embarrassment and shame frequently accompany hoarding behavior. While a trained and experienced professional organizer can be of help to a person with hoarding behavior, mental health counseling is frequently recommended to facilitate long-term change.

How do you define the difference between collecting and hoarding? I would like to hear from you.


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