cluttered toys

Learn more about Chronic disorganization and hoarding

If you’re curious about chronic disorganization and hoarding, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization is a great place to get started.

ICD resources

In addition to providing training for professional organizers who work with people in full houses, the ICD offers several useful resources for the public too.

  • The Clutter-Hoarding scale provides a standardized way to know what we’re talking about when we say ‘chronic disorganization’ or ‘hoarding behavior’. Print it out to see the details clearly.
  • The Clutter Quality of Life scale is a simple way to assess the impact clutter has been having on your life.
  • Directory of professional organizers where you can search for a professional near you. Organizers in this directory are trained and understand that working with chronic disorganization is very different than working with clients to whom organizing comes more easily.
  • ICD downloadable fact sheets including
    • Are you affected by chronic disorganization?
    • Characteristics of individuals affected by chronic disorganization
    • Factors associated with disorganization
    • Should I hire a professional organizer or work with a friend?
    • Collecting, compulsive acquiring or hoarding behavior?
    • Readiness for change

International OCD Foundation resources

Until recently, hoarding disorder was included under OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive disorder) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (what you may have heard of as the ‘DSM’.)

If you think something more than chronic disorganization is going on for you, the Clutter Image Rating scale is a very concrete way to see where your home stands.

Created by the International OCD Foundation Hoarding Center, this visual scale shows a series of photographs of a room. As you look at the photos, you can see the growing amounts of clutter and compare the photographs with your own space.

Pro tip: Take pictures of your own space and then compare your photographs with theirs. Seeing your space in a photograph is often eye-opening!

Books about chronic disorganization

Joyful Surroundings LLC’s Top Six Picks for books about chronic disorganization

There are hundreds of book about organizing out there but relatively few that focus on chronic disorganization. These are the best books I’ve discovered as a professional organizer who is always learning.

Look in your library for these titles. I’ve also included an Amazon link and Goodreads link for each book. I am NOT an affiliate for Amazon (or anyone/anything else).

1. It’s hard to make a difference when you can’t find your keys

2. Making peace with the things in your life: Why your papers, books, clothes and other possessions keep overwhelming you, and what to do about it.

3. ADD-Friendly way to organize your life

4. Conquering chronic disorganization

5. Clutter busting: Letting go of what’s holding you back

6. Filled up and overflowing: What to do when life events, chronic disorganization, or hoarding go overboard

Books about hoarding disorder

Joyful Surroundings LLC’s Top Six Picks for books about hoarding disorder

If you’d like to learn more about hoarding disorder, step away from A&E Hoarders and check out these books for a more nuanced look at hoarding behavior.

1. Stuff: Compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things

2. Buried in treasures: Help for compulsive acquiring, saving and hoarding

3. Compulsive hoarding and acquiring workbook

4. Overcoming compulsive hoarding

5. Hoarding for law enforcement and other public officials

6. Digging out: Helping your loved one manage clutter, hoarding. and compulsive acquiring

Stop reading and start dealing with your chronically disorganized home

Search the Institute for Challenging Disorganization’s directory to find a trained professional organizer near you.

Contact me. I specialize in working with chronically disorganized people who get overwhelmed when they try to get organized.

By Lucy Kelly