When Clutter Becomes a Problem

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You may never even realize it’s happening. A couple of cell phone boxes kept in your closet, “just in case.” Take out containers that don’t make it into the trash bin. Electronics that no longer serve you but remain in a drawer. A few of these accumulations in your condominium unit may not seem like much clutter, but once it gets out of hand, it can be overwhelming and incredibly isolating.

Hoarding is a mental health condition where a person has persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a need to save them. Recognizing the signs and seeking help is the best way to combat hoarding. Especially with winter around the corner, it can be easier for things to pile up.

Hoarding vs. Collecting vs. Mess

A collection of comic books or stamps isn’t much to worry about. Some unwashed dishes and a sticky counter aren’t either. However, once these accumulate and you find yourself with the inability to discard anything, it may be time to reach out for help. 

In a collection, such as comics, they are typically kept organized and are easy to access. With hoarding, there is no reason or organization for what is being kept. 

As for a mess, it’s typically easy to tidy up, and wouldn’t need more than 1-2 people to clean. This isn’t the case with hoarding.

Hoarding impacts your daily life. From keeping items that have little to no financial value, to negatively impacting your day-to-day activities. 

Why does hoarding happen? 

There are several factors that could contribute to hoarding. These include (but are not limited to): 

  • A person may believe that the item will be useful or valuable at a later time. 
  • A person may believe that an item holds great sentimental value. 
  • A person may believe that certain items are too unique to be found again. 
  • A person may feel like an item needs to be kept as memorabilia. 
  • A person may not know how to store certain items, and instead leave them out, and not throw them away. 

What can be done about hoarding? 

A hoarding situation in your condominium unit can lead to several safety hazards. Floods, fires, and/or pests. Understandably, there can also be foul smells that come from a house or apartment of a hoarder, which can be distressing to neighbours. So what can be done?

A person or persons suffering from a hoarding disorder may be hard to approach. They can feel embarrassed, and incredibly isolated, and may not know what their options are. If you believe someone in your condominium may be hoarding, it’s best to approach your condominium manager to handle the situation. 

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Maggie Matian
Marketing Manager for CCI Grand River Chapter

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