Hoarding, That Honest Industry

If you’re a pack-rat, it’s time to fumigate for psychiatrists. On the tail of two hit reality television shows (just in case you were wondering where “mental disease” came from), “hoarding disorder” has entered the DSM-5.

Hoarding disorder is a growing phenomenon, now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s newest edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Difficult to treat and hard to manage, the disorder is believed to affect between 2 and 5 percent of the population, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Community Health Nursing.

The heading of the Courier-Post Online says it all, Hoarding has spawned TV shows, recognition as a mental disorder.

Cleanliness fetishists beware. It is not too late for non-conformists, free-thinkers, and other bohemian sorts to edit a book of disorders of their own invention. (Where are humorists when you need them?)

If you’ve got a treasure trove of personal knickknacks, be wary. There are now companies developed to help intrusive relatives and envious neighbors rob you of your fortune.

Inspired by a close family member’s hoarding, Ronald Ford Jr. of Camden launched his clean-out company, Hoarders Express, about a year and a half ago. His business handles one or two homes a week. Typically, he is called in by a relative, though only a homeowner is allowed to sign the contract giving his employees permission to haul away their possessions.

Cleanliness freaks, law and order types, meddling neighbors, misbegotten relatives, city council members, they’re all in this wide-ranging conspiracy together.

Cluttering can prevent a home’s inhabitants from getting out in case of a fire, [firefighter Bryce] Priggemeier explained, and makes it harder for firefighters to do their job. The threat of fire is a primary concern for code enforcement officials.

How’s that for a lame excuse to harass a relative or a neighbor?

If recyclers are helping to save the environments, hoarders have the jump on recyclers by saving the article that would be recycled. No junk, no need to recycle.

I say to you so called hoarders are the first wave in a new perspective on life. We shouldn’t be chastising people for their collections of non-collectibles. We shouldn’t be entreating them to get rid of their treasures. Instead we should be helping them to use their gifts more wisely. We should be training them to turn their treasures into art.

There is what we refer to as junk art, found art, outsider art and primitive art. Transform your hovel into a palace with your treasured trash, and you’ve eluded all the mental health cops in the world. Pat yourself on the back, and attach an exorbitant price-tag to it. With a little bit of talent or learning, you don’t have to get rid of it after all. You’ve gotten away with it.

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2 Responses

  1. Around my neighborhood there are lots of what are called colorful characters. If you follow them home you’ll likely find that where they live is filthy and full of junk. Some of them are funny but usually they are just tedious and very sad anxious people. They have usually suffered a loss and are grief stricken. They are often unattractive people and so have never had a friend with whom they could recover.

    If they come to attention of the psychtroopers they are often further humiliated and tend to die.

    • Yeah, well, the psych-troopers tend to think that it’s all a bio-chemical thing rather than a socioeconomic thing. It’s the blame misfortune on the unfortunate approach to life. If ugliness is to the chromosome, I guess they’re all lost from the beginning. If not, not. Pardon my cynicism. I’m reading about eugenics now, and how the people behind the eugenics movement, following the holocaust, quickly fled into what we call genetics research today. Isn’t it curious that you see all these people hunting for the defective gene? I’m wondering, where are the researchers who are hunting for the effective gene? Single out people on a large scale, and that’s what you get, moral condemnation of the immoral sort.

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