Even if they want to downsize (which is rare), there’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 they’ll put off making decisions rather than risk being wrong. And when it comes to their own stuff, they don’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. It’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, I have a “black t-shirt shelf” to go with my “not-black t-shirt” shelf.