Hoarding and Organization

On Friday January 23 2015, Kim Fountain from the Houston OCD Program discussed hoarding and clutter for approximately 20 attendees at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Want to know more about hoarding and clutter? Here is an overview of the presentation:

What is hoarding? Hoarding refers to the trouble resisting acquiring and saving too many possessions, This includes saving and saving items until the person feels overwhelmed and intimidated by the idea of getting rid of these items.

Why do people hoard? There are many reasons why people might hoard items, including a trauma history, genetic link, or significant stress in the person’s lives. Oftentimes, people who hoard do tend to identify themselves as collectors or savers from a young age.

Why don’t people who hoard just stop hoarding? For many reasons! Oftentimes, people have faulty beliefs about the usefulness of items or have perfectionism that interferes with the discarding of items. There are also feelings of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to sort that can lead people to procrastinate or avoid the discarding process.

Kim Fountain, MA representing the Houston OCD Program at the Organizing Expo at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Kim Fountain, MA representing the Houston OCD Program at the Organizing Expo at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Myself or someone I know hoards. What can we do about it? Two things – First, stop the acquiring process (i.e., shopping or collecting items. Second, begin to organize the items into three categories (keep, toss, and donate). Ask yourself some key questions, including “have I used this in the last year?” to help yourself decide what to do with the item. Do experiments on how detrimental it really will be to discard something (and test how long that anxiety really does last for!) It can be really helpful to also have a coach through this process.

I want more information! Check out the full Hoarding Presentation here.

A week later on February 29th Kim Fountain, MA and Eeva Edds, MA participated in the Organizing Expo at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The expo was a huge success and our team was excited to teach people more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the treatment options that the Houston OCD Program offers.