Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

eBook - 2011 | 1st Mariner Books ed.
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Analyzes the sources of compulsive hoarding behaviors, describing the impact of the disorder on families, case studies of sufferers who have rendered their homes unlivable, and the ineffective treatments they have endured.
Publisher: Boston, MA : Mariner Books : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011.
Edition: 1st Mariner Books ed.
ISBN: 9780547487250
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Characteristics: 1 online resource (290 p.)
Additional Contributors: Steketee, Gail


From the critics

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Mar 23, 2017

This was a compassionate look at the issue of hoarding. It was occasionally uncomfortable to read because it really makes you look at your own attachment to "stuff". This was really interesting and well done.

Feb 09, 2016

Devastating. I read this book right after reading Jessie Sholl's equally excellent "Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding" and finally began to understand not just my own mother's bizarre relationship with the clutter she can never bear to throw away but also my own long frustration and bewilderment. Like other commenters here I appreciated Mr. Frost's accessible writing style and his obvious empathy for his subjects.
Engrossing, disturbing and enlightening. You will shudder with horror when you read the story of Edith, her brother Daniel, and that cockroach-infested leather jacket in chapter nine's cringe-worthy "You Don't Have A Clue."

Apr 16, 2015

This was such a fascinating book! A really nice, accessible mix of anecdotes and science, and still very readable. The authors obviously have a lot of compassion for people with hoarding problems and this comes through in the writing.

mati9 Apr 05, 2014

This book was very captivating. It held my interest throughout, from the fascinating case studies about real people who hoard BIG time to the insightful dissections provided by the authors about why people hoard. While it was frightening to see myself, or at least some of my thought processes, reflected in a lot of the people highlighted I also really came to appreciate what an agonizing ordeal hoarding must be for both those who suffer from it and those who attempt to treat it. Written to be extremely accessible, the authors have made this a very enjoyable read, and one from which we can all learn something.

sammier Feb 23, 2014

A very insightful read on the various reasons that motivate people to hoard. Set out as a series of case stories, the book covers the identification of hoarding behaviour and the treatment and intervention strategies available. It also discusses in depth the relationship between OCD and hoarding behaviour, as well as the points where they differ.

While the book is focused around cases of severe hoarding, I found that many of the points discussed would also be highly relevant to someone trying to deal with a standard sized clutter problem. Areas such as how our identity can be tied up in what we own, how belongings can bring us a sense of security and how the acquisition of items can be used as a means of avoidance all give pause for thought.

ksoles Sep 02, 2012

As a minimalist who enjoys nothing more than purging and reorganizing her closets, the concept of hoarding intrigues me. What kind of people identify as hoarders? What does all their useless, unsanitary stuff mean to them? What impact does hoarding have on a family? What can someone do to break the vicious hoarding cycle?

"Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things" attempts to answer some of these questions by presenting fascinating case studies of real-life hoarders. According to Frost and Steketee, six million Americans suffer from hoarding though the compulsion is still a fairly new field of research. They argue that most hoarders had a childhood of disconnect and isolation and that an early absence of warmth and support leads them to form strong emotional attachments to possessions. Hoarders may cling to their stuff fiercely because of utility, opportunity, fear of error or perfection.

A gripping, non-clinical look at a complex and paralyzing disorder.

Aug 16, 2012

This was a great book. It uses vignettes of hoarders to illustrate traits in common as well as variations within the disorder. One can also begin to grasp that the disorder could exist on a spectrum of varying severity depending upon both genetics as well as life triggers. Quite thought provoking.

Incinerated_Newt May 10, 2012

An interesting book. It's a bit of a slow read and spends a lot of time hypothesizing about the psychology behind OCD and Hoarding, but it is interesting.

May 05, 2012

Interesting for a while.

Nov 04, 2010

If you like the TLC reality show "Hoarders", you will like this book. It's a very interesting read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in psychology.


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