Friday, March 11, 2011

MIND Reviews: Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010

Most of us understand what it is like to have an emotional connection with a cherished possession. How about that ratty rabbit you’ve owned since you were three? The sentimental value attached to this stuffed pet makes even the thought of parting with it painful. But imagine you felt as strongly about every single item in your room, including the magazines from two decades ago and the clothes that no longer fit. Hoarders form intense attachments to even their most trivial possessions—everything seems worth keeping.

In the riveting new read Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, Randy O. Frost, a Smith College psychologist, and Gail Steketee, dean of the Boston University School of Social Work, reveal the world of hoarding disorders. The homes of hardcore hoarders, who represent up to 5 percent of the population, are more trash dumps than living spaces. It is only possible to navigate their interiors using “goat paths,” narrow trails that wind through the mounds of books, old food, clothes, trinkets and containers..." More

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