A McPherson County Extension agent said Thursday she was surprised to learn when preparing for her presentation on hoarding that people who compulsively hoard are perfectionists.
"I always think of perfectionists as thinking, 'Everything has its place and everything in its place,' " said Jana McKinney, a family and consumer sciences agent.
But many of the 13 women who listened to McKinney speak at the Salina City-County Building for a "Knowledge at Noon" session sponsored by the Central Kansas Extension District were not at all surprised. Several of them identified themselves as hoarders.
Hoarders are concerned about making the right decision in regard to every possession, McKinney said.
"They're afraid of making a wrong decision, so the right decision is to keep it," she said.
McKinney shared information developed by the Sedgwick County Extension Service, where a coalition to address the problem of hoarding has been formed.
Emergency responders have seen increasing problems with hoarding, which can cause unsanitary living conditions, posing health risks, and become a safety and fire hazard.
Compulsive hoarding can leave only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter in a house, which attract insects, rodents and mold. Sometimes hoarders will collect animals in numbers they are unable to properly care for.