13 March 2011
Frost, Randy and Gail Steketee. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2010.
I will admit that I have watched partial episodes of the TV show Hoarders. I'm not sure quite what it is about hoarding that fascinates me so, but it is interesting to learn about people who feel compelled to save every newspaper or piece of junk mail or who compulsively purchase clothing or other items until their homes are a maze of tiny trails through tons of trash. I guess I've always wondered what makes these people collect like that and why it is so difficult for them to stop or to allow anyone to help them clean out and organize their stuff.
Frost and Steketee paint a clear picture of hoarding and delve into the minds of hoarders, all without shaming the hoarders, poking fun at them, or making them seem subnormal. Hoarding is a serious problem for many more people than any of us has probably considered, and many hoarders truly do need professional assistance to rid themselves of the hoarding habit. I found thing book to be enlightening and entertaining, as well as a good motivator for cleaning out my own stuff.