Am I a Hoarder or a Collector?
An Annoying Habit or Something More Serious?
Hoarding Disorder (HD) is a mental illness that affects anywhere from two to five percent of the population. In 2013 it was officially named its own disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) which lists disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While the disease can manifest on its own, it is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dementia, or depression.
People who suffer from HD believe that items they have can be valuable or useful to them in the future. This thought process is illogical considering most items they keep. Hoarders will often hold onto what other people consider junk, worthless, or trash. The inability to get rid of things or throw them away leaves their home a mess, much worse than someone whose home is merely cluttered or contains a lot of collectibles. The items belonging to a hoarder build up over time and can take over a home. Stacks of items can leave hallways impassable and rooms unable to function as they should.
Limited Space and Health Hazards
A hoarder can oftentimes begin to live in just a small percentage of the square footage of their home in order to keep all of their things. Stacks of magazines, books, miscellaneous items, clothing, and more can all take up the space, from floor to ceiling in many cases. In extreme situations, pests and rodents will find their way into the mess, creating a health hazard. When this happens, it can be difficult to get rid of droppings or eliminate the pests if the hoarder isn’t willing to get rid of the excessive clutter.
Collectors – A Whole Different Ballgame
Collectors are completely different from hoarders. They often collect things of value, although value isn’t a necessary component. Their collectibles frequently have a space of their own, such as a display case or room dedicated to showing them off. A collector often takes pride in their collection and enjoys showing it to others and talking about how, when, and where they acquired certain pieces.
Collectors are in control of their collections and in many cases have spent years gathering their treasures. They often enjoy looking at the items and are eager to invite people to look at their collection so they can talk about it. Whether it’s baseball cards, thimbles, shot glasses, or something larger, there is usually a theme for a collector. It isn’t just random stuff like someone suffering from HD would have. There is a distinct difference.
If you’re someone who likes to acquire items from your favorite football team or magnets from each city you visit, chances are you’re not a hoarder. When you care about the items in your collection and take care of them, they are something you can take pride in. Being a fan of something is different from having a mental disorder. While friends or family may tease you about what they see as an obsession, you probably don’t have anything to worry about, other than finding that new piece to go with your collection.