Even if they want to downsize (which is rare), thereâ€™s the overwhelming difficulty of sorting through the mess. People with severe hoarding disorder tend to be easily distracted and have a hard time focusing and concentrating. Paradoxically, they also tend to be perfectionists, so theyâ€™ll put off making decisions rather than risk being wrong. And when it comes to their own stuff, they donâ€™t categorize by type. Rather than see an object as a member of a large group (say, one of 42 black T-shirts), they see it as singular, unique, special. Each black T-shirt is perceived apart from the others and carries its own history, significance, and worth. Itâ€™s not even categorized for storage (folded with other black T-shirts in a T-shirt drawer), but rather placed on a pile and retrieved spatially (that particular black T-shirt lives about four inches from the bottom of the corner stack). This leads to a deep aversion to someone touching the piles or sifting through them, unwittingly destroying the invisible ordering system.
Well, I’m somewhere between untidy and hoarder because when I do actually tidy, there’s a lot less “stuff” but yeah, that’s basically my filing system. Whenever a well-intentioned person attempts to tidy for me, without my knowledge, I always end up losing stuff and… having to buy replacements because I can’t find the thing – which I feel is the opposite of what the ideal outcome would be. :/
So far some of the things lost when tidied include: a boxed copy of Evil Genius (which I’ve just re-bought in the Steam sale as a download), a mobile phone and most recently the cable to connect my camera to my laptop (and also to charge my Mum’s Kobo – so yeah I’ve had to re-buy that one).
And there’s no way of knowing if the lost things are just…here somewhere or if they’ve accidentally gone in the bin.
The 42 black t-shirts is also me. However,Â I have a “black t-shirt shelf” to go with my “not-black t-shirt” shelf.