GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Have a sneaking suspicion you're saving just a little too much stuff?
A couple of clutter experts can help you determine whether you have a hoarding problem. Nate Berg is a former EMT, and served on the board of directors for The Hoarding Project. Now he and Jenny Berg run Scene Clean, which helps people clean up after emergency scenes, and provides mental health support for the families.
Here are the Bergs' nine signs that you may be a hoarder:
- You can't use parts of your home, either because the room is full, or you can’t use them for their intended purpose (i.e. cannot prepare food in the kitchen, cannot use the bathroom due to clutter). Pathways in the home are not clear, access and egress (exits) are compromised - should there be a need to get out in an emergency.
- You stock up on items that are of no foreseeable use to you, or items you hope to use once things are “organized.”
- You see cleaning as an insurmountable chore, that very well might be too much for one person to do alone.
- You lose things a lot, and have to buy items multiple times because of this.
- You buy sale items just because someone you know might get use of it, or because it was a “good deal” (excess accumulation).
- You save things for future use, but that rarely or never happens – either because you didn’t need it, or couldn’t find it.
- You're in distress about all the stuff, and/or refuse to acknowledge the issue with others – despite feeling insulated by “stuff” and unable to have others over due to the clutter and/or embarrassment.
- You worry about throwing out the wrong things.
- You have an extreme attachment to your things. This can be for different reasons, one being they are things that you hope to use (luggage to travel, storage containers to organize, cookware to cook for loved ones).