Every week I hear clients say, “I am a hoarder, but not like the ones I see on TV.”  

Comparison can get us into trouble.  Comparison can rob you of feeling worthy.  Comparison can make you feel less than. There will always be someone who is worse off, has more stuff,  has more friends or a thinner body or a cleaner house.  

To the person who has a problem with hoarding, less stuff is a good thing. 

To the person who bases his success on material things, more stuff is a good thing.  

It is all about perception. You have control over how you view the world. 

Comparing yourself to the TV show and calling yourself a hoarder just plays into the stereotype and stigma that the shows want to create. 

The people selected to be on the show are very real and they are also cast because they are extreme. The may be extreme, in their personality or situation or family dynamic. They are selected to get ratings. 

Hoarding is not what most people think. 

People who hoard things can look like a person in poverty who has not showered and has torn clothes and old shoes.Behind closed doors this person has nothing but a mattress on the floor. 

People who hoard things can also look like a professional businessman  in a suit and tie. Behind closed doors he has hundreds of suits and hundreds of  ties and books and a few storage units full of stuff too. 

As a nation we can change our vocabulary and assumptions made about hoarding.  What do you think of when you hear the word Hoarder? The visual that comes to mind is not the reality of what hoarding is. 

The shame and stigma runs deep when someone who calls themselves a hoarder has an inaccurate picture of what hoarding is. The more we all  can get curious about hoarding and materialism, the more we will understand how complex and prevalent it really is.