I admit I watch "Hoarders" on TV. I am always amazed at how some of the participants in the show appear to value their possessions over family. This book gives a very clear explanation of the thought processes (as far as they are understood) of some of the various types of hoarders, as well as effects on family and children. Dr. Frost reveals several different thought patterns that go into hoarding, whether it be perfectionism or lack of executive processing skills and functions etc. Some questions are raised that cannot be answered because we just don't and can't know (for instance, why do some children hoard?) This book will help me understand my own father better, as he sometimes appears to have these tendencies as well. After listening to this book, I don't have the desire to watch "Hoarders" anymore.
By describing how hoarding has effected people and their families, this book helps the reader to better understand what leads people to collect so much stuff. This is not meant as a guide to de-cluttering your life but gets at the root of how people connect to the world through their belongings. It is very well done, held my interest, and scared me into de-cluttering.
This book was a terrific help in my attempt to declutter my house. Helps you see those 'collections' in a totally different light.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I enjoyed this analysis of hoarders, potential causes and possible solutions. The author brings significant experience in working with and researching hoardes, and he displayed a compassion, but not acceptance, of their plight.
During my reading of this book I definitely wanted to throw away everything I have and clean everything insight.
This book delves into the world of hoarding. It portrays a clear picture of hoarders and their thought processes but stops short of finding resolve for such an issue. The narrator was well spoken but really whiny at times. I definitely found this interesting but I was hoping for a little bit more.
With a very strong opening, "Stuff" has a lot of promise. The topic alone is a hot one. And when the author discusses the research and specifically how it frequently challenges conventional views, the book is good. Unfortunately, the book becomes something of a mess afterwards as research, impressions, case studies, and personal stories all show up, but with a lack of organization that hurts the overall enjoyment.
This is a fascinating look at some of the complex thought patterns behind compulsive acquiring and hoarding - well written and easy to understand, with good narration. I was hoping for a little more insight into animal hoarding, though it is little studied, but the whole subject is an interesting one.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
I have been fascinated by hoarding since 1994, when I read about a couple – somewhere in Orange County, I think – dying in the January 17, 1994 Northridge Earthquake, after being squished by their belongings. One of the neighbors mentioned sometimes seeing the husband, sitting in a car stuffed with junk, reading his morning paper. The article didn’t call them “hoarders” – that term wasn’t used at the time - but that is what they were.
I have always wondered what caused people to keep so much that it could kill them. From time to time, I’ve watched A&E’s “Hoarders”, which started in 2006. Watching “Hoarders” is like slowing down as you pass a car wreck – you look, take a deep breath, try not to think too much about what you see, and are very grateful it’s not you. The distress of the hoarders that ‘volunteer’ for help is real, but that show doesn’t explain where the compulsion comes from.
Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee’s 2010 “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things” explains the why, and the why isn’t always the same. For some people, hoarding happens because they ‘store’ their memories in objects, and are afraid that if they throw those objects away, they will not keep those memories. For other people, hoarding happens because they are so afraid that they are being wasteful by throwing objects away. There are many other reasons, some of them neurological. Hoarding runs in families, and Frost and Steketee present a fascinating study of twin hoarders. There are animal hoarders, object hoarders, people who can’t pass up anything that’s free, and hoarders who start (and sometimes stop) hoarding when they are children.
The frustration the family members and friends on “Hoarders” is evident as they struggle to convince people to throw away what is to non-hoarders, junk. Frost and Steketee explain that to a hoarder, most people’s junk can be a hoarder’s dearest treasure. In many cases, taking a hoarder’s possessions can be psychologically devastating, even leading to suicide. Helping a hoarder isn’t for amateurs.
Frost and Steketee address the issue of whether hoarding is also Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and conclude that it is not. They are correct: the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) V will list “Hoarding Disorder” as a separate diagnosis.
This isn’t a “How To” on how not to recover from hoarding – Frost and Steketee provide self help for hoarders in a different (non-Audible) book, “Hoarding and Acquiring”. “Stuff” is a book for people who want to understand this fascinating disorder.
Joe Caron’s narration is lively and engaging, and the book was worth my drive time.
Revealing. Intriguing. Research-based.
The television show Hoarders and its contemporaries have revealed just how common the affliction of hoarding is, and how it exists in places and people that you might not suspect (as well as in people who seem just as you might think a hoarder might be). As the child of a hoarder who was not as extreme as the ones often televised, I find these shows of interest, because I can identify with many of the challenges faced by the families of the hoarders. That said, I think that the shows often go for the cheap shot, the thing that will make audiences go "Ewwww!" and recoil, rather than any nuanced version of the situation. The holier-than-thou, let's-throw-it-all-away attitude of some of the "hoarding specialists" (not the mental health professionals) on the shows often tread on my patience, even as I recognize that the hoarders themselves frequently are some of the most irrational people one might ever encounter. Television may just be too sensationalistic in its coverage of this topic.
"Stuff," on the other hand, is a better treatment. Firstly, because it is based on actual research by individuals who took the time to do systematic interviews with different types of hoarders. The researchers themselves had no idea how widespread the hoarding situation was when they first began addressing it, prodded by a student's interest (cheers to student initiative!) and uncovered a great deal of interesting subject matter. The case studies provide depth and texture to the individuals who suffer from this affliction, while illustrating broader characteristics that the researchers have found that many hoarders share.
Secondly, the case studies are described without that pitched, sensationalistic tone that is so common in the shows. To be fair, the things that are occasionally described can still be gruesome and downright disturbing, but the narrator describes them matter-of-factly, because the point is to understand what is going on, not to oogle at the train wreck.
Extreme might be too strong a word. However, I found myself nodding in some cases at the similarity of the rationales offered by hoarders in the book to those I heard often in my own childhood, uttered by my parent. Other times, my experience differed widely from what was described, but it offered that comfort that sometimes comes when we find out that we are not alone in something odd/shameful/bewildering that we have experienced. For others who have loved ones who are hoarders, I would recommend the book for that reason as well as for the bits of insight into the characteristics that the researchers have found that hoarders share. It is not a book of cures, and while it does provide some insights into certain therapies that have had successes, the researchers are careful to note that this is a very difficult affliction to treat as it often goes to the core of people's emotional selves.
If you have a hoarder in your life or are someone who encounters them (working at a health department or human services organization), I recommend this book as a way to try to develop some insight about the not just the individual case(s) you might be dealing with, but to the breadth of the problem in our society today. Keep an open mind. It is important to understand that hoarders are not just lazy or silly or dirty or any of the other myriad "easy" explanations that people sometimes assume... there is more to it than that and while passing judgment is easy... it is hardly productive or fitting a society as advanced as ours.
Not a mainstream reader.
This title was extremely interesting to learn about people with hoarding and their set of minds of materials belonging to them. In a way, we are all have the characteristics of being a hoarder. How many times have we thought about throwing something away and then saving it for later and eventually being lost in the pile? This book was very informative at bringing up the cause of the symptoms rather than the problem.
I, and many people that I know have a problem of digital hoarding. I have a tendency of keeping files on my hard drives, taking up terabytes on my computers, leading toward an emotional meltdown when the system crashes and data are not recoverable. The types of files that I have on my computer, have no sufficient value to me and others, like my 8th grade paper on photosynthesis, but it is still there on redundant backups.
I will probably never read this book again, but it is saved on my drives and backed up.
How many albums do you have on your IPods and how often do you listen to them?
Digital Hoarding is the next obsession.