Jo Cooke, Jo Cavalot and Paul Cooper share their A-Z on Hoarding.
A – Ambivalence
Is a typical feature of hoarding disorder. Arguing is the hallmark of ambivalence. This blog by Michael Tompkins explains it well.
B – Bereavement
Bereavement is the most common contributor to hoarding behaviour. Miscarriage, the loss of a pet, the end of a relationship all contribute to a sense of loss.
C – Churning
Churning also known as “internal recycling” is the act of moving items from one place to another without actually letting go of any items. Read more
D – Decision-making
Past research links hoarding disorder to indecisiveness and difficulty with decision-making and a fear of disposing of items.
E – EFT
EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique also known as tapping is a simple powerful way of releasing emotions and has been known to work well with those affected by hoarding behaviours.
F – Family and friends Cooke
If you are a family member affected by hoarding and are wanting to help and not sure how, there is a wealth of literature on the subject. We recommend Digging Out by Michael Tompkins.
G – Guilt
Feelings of guilt feature highly in terms of our own sense of self-worth, and our feelings of waste, and excessive acquiring. Deborah Barnett’s book on Self-Neglect and Hoarding is very comprehensive and highly recommended.
H – Hoarding
Hoarding is now being recognised as a distinct mental health difficulty on its own and can carry a high level of risk. To understand more on the psychology of hoarding read ‘A Psychological Perspective on Hoarding’.
I – Icebreaker
The hoarding ice breaker form devised by our friend and colleague, Cherry Rudge from Rainbow Red is a really useful tool to start a conversation with a GP on clutter, hoarding and disorganisation.
J- Just in case
‘Just in case’ is a characteristic of someone who hoards. Also known as “instrumental” hoarding. Here is an insightful read by Courtney Carver.
K – Keys
Keys are one of the most common items that we lose. Top tip – identify one “landing strip” for your items and take extra time to not put down but put away. A home for everything… top tip by Jo Cooke, author of Understanding Hoarding.
L – Letting go
When you are assessing your possessions, think about letting go rather than getting rid. This helps with your mindset.
M – Motivation
It is useful to find and establish strategies for finding the motivation to sort through your stuff. Create a vision and vocalise your intentions can be helpful. Find a clutter buddy.
N – Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is an umbrella word that covers a range of conditions which affect the way people process information and think and hoarding behaviours are included in this. Our good friend Sue Sanford certainly knows her stuff in this area.
O – OCD
OCD “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”. Many people who hoard experience OCD as a co-occurring issue. OCD Action have some really useful resources on their website.
P – Procrastination
We spend so much energy in putting things off to avoid uncomfortable feelings. It is not laziness. It is a form of self-harm. Read James Clear’s article on the subject.
Q – Questions
There are many questions to be answered on the complexities of hoarding. Jasmine Harman’s website Help for Hoarders is many resources available as well as an on-line discussion forum.
R – Rumination
The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark, is called rumination and can be very debilitating as it rarely offers solutions in terms of moving forward. Top tops are here.
S – Support groups
There are various support groups around the country set up to help people with hoarding behaviours. See Hoarding UK’s website here for a list of support groups available.
T – Time
Many people with issues with executive functioning are challenged by managing time. They feel it rather than see it. This blog by ADDITUDE provides some useful strategies for time management.
U – Understanding
To be able to help someone with their hoarding issues, you need to have insight, understanding and compassion. Jo Cooke’s book ‘Understanding Hoarding’ aims to help those with hoarding difficulties and those who live with them. It is also a useful resource for professionals.
V – Void
Hoarding can be about filling a void, a sense of emptiness and lack of fulfilment. It can also be about what we are trying to avoid.
W – Walking Away
To manage our acquiring habits, we need to increase our tolerance of the uncomfortable feelings that this may bring. With practice it becomes easier. Jo Cooke, author of Understanding Hoarding
X – Xmas
Christmas for any of us can impact on our mental health. The charity MIND has some really useful tips on hoarding and other mental health issues at this time.
Y – Yarn
Many of us are crafters and love to stash wool. Is this you? There are many charities that need knitted items and knowing your items are going to go to a good home can make all the difference. This is worth a read: Six Ways to Spring Clean your Stash
Z – Zizz
We need to look after our mental health. The four pillars of health include sleep, food, rest and exercise. Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s book, The 4 Pillar Plan is a great read.