Essay Sample: Is Hoarding a Kind of Cultural Illness in the United States?

Published: 2022-11-21
Essay Sample: Is Hoarding a Kind of Cultural Illness in the United States?
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Disorder
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 893 words
8 min read

Hoarding disorder is characterized by excessively saving item that seems worthless to other people because the hoarder does not need them. Hoarders find it difficult to get rid of an item even when they do not need them hence leading to clutter. People with hoarding disorder tend to save and store random stuff without actually arranging the items. Over time, the items stored haphazardly clutter their space making it hard for them to use the space. Hoarding accrues from having a sentimental attachment to items even after one is done with them, for example, storage containers. Secondly, hoarders feel like they will need the items for future use. Lastly, some feel safe when they are surrounded by those items. Undeniably, hoarding disorder is manifesting as a cultural illness in the United States evident in most households.

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Hoarding is a kind of cultural illness in the United States since culturally people associate power with possessions. In many cases, people start hoarding because of the desire to have certain items. The items tend to give them a sense of belonging and purpose since they regard the items as part of their property. For most hoarders, they grow a sentimental attachment to their items making it hard to discard even when they are not using them. Attachment to one's possessions grows giving them a sense of power since they own the item. For example, in the case about the mother who used to hoard the food containers; anytime the daughter would come to clean up her shelves, she was filled with anger and grief (Acocella). She was feeling detached from her possession hence the urge to start recollecting.

Undeniably, hoarding continues to prove as a cultural illness because one feels their possessions help define them. Culturally, people are identified with what they have. Therefore, hoarding disorder may develop from one's need to be identified or affiliated with certain things. Hoarders may start to hoard as a way to create a story of their life events. Without knowing, one can start collecting items that mark their stages of growth resulting to clutter. Because of the need to tell their life's journey, an individual may start collecting items without knowing they are hoarding. For example, Anthony states that the mother stores old magazines (Anthony). Collecting the food containers maybe his mother's way of keeping her life's journey story or why else would one store a thirty-year-old magazine?

Culturally, legacy is one of the most valued things. People offer themselves to do charity works while others focus on building wealth that their legacy lives on even after they are gone. Hoarders, likewise feel they are able to create a legacy through collecting random items. To hoarders' possessions is a symbol of continuity. As a result, hoarders keep collecting unnecessary items even when there is no storage. For example, in the story by Acocella the mother, in fear that she was going to die and lose everything, she started hoarding. In her, was a dire need, that at the event of her death, she would have plenty of possessions (Acocella). With the belief that one has to have a legacy before they die as a cultural norm has given rise to hoarders. Some of these hoarding habits develop due to what society believes is culturally acceptable.

Evidently, in our societal setting, one would do anything to protect their property since time immemorial. I think any individual is vulnerable to creating an attachment to their belongings. Wealth brings about a sense of security, class and at times create ego. Likewise, for hoarders collecting those possessions is an extension of oneself. Their material possessions are an extension of their ego. Interfering with their property by either asking them to clean up or trying to declutter is a violation to them. Hoarders tend to be more protective of their items mostly because others feel like their possessions have no value. As a result, hoarders may separate themselves from family and friends who try to help. For example, Ken due to his addiction to hoarding puts his relationship on the line because he is unable to part with his items (Kane). Although, he does not need the stuff and he is even unable to access his house fully his attachment to the items is profound that he is comfortable living in a cluttered space.

Conclusively, culture attributes to hoarding tendencies since social status is attributed to possession. The pressure to have a property and leave a legacy has contributed to hoarding. Culture creates person and object relations forming a dependency on one's items. Culture creates public value on items, over time resulting in attachment with possessions. Consequently, an individual finds it hard to part with items hence storing them haphazardly thus causing clutter over time. All facts considered, hoarding in the United States is a cultural illness since people constantly feel need to keep buying and adding to their possessions as a way to live on.

Works Cited

Acocella, Joan. "Let It Go Are we becoming a nation of hoarders." New Yorker 15 December 2014. < >.

Anthony. What Turns People Into Hoarders? 5 May 2013. <>.

Kane, Mike. Inside Hoarding: Cleaning Up For Love | Hoarding: Buried Alive. 16 March 2014. <>.

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