Pack Rat's Today: Hoarding

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Explanatory Synthesis
Problematic Pack Rats
Whether we like it or not, everyone is a hoarder to a certain extent. Researchers suggest, the incentive to gather, supply and stockpile is principal to the human’s natural need to feel safe, secure and prepared. The resources for particular objects that satisfy that need have never been more readily available to society, and because of the habits of these “pack rats’” their junk is devouring their lives, literally. In “The Pack Rat Among Us” Laurie Schutza’s main claim realizes the significance of the topic and how real it is, even in her life, as she asks, in our journey too purchase and connect ourselves to things, are we just a few steps behind societal despised hoarders? And she continues to prove herself as she tells three characteristics of hoarding; what hoarding is, why hoarders are so attached to their things, and the impact it can have on their lives.

There are two important decisions we have to make: what do I keep and what do I throw out? Schutza tells how the inability to throw out, due to the emotional attachment, is extremely hard for hoarders (Schutza 254). Dr. Randy O. Frost and his colleague RC Gross supports her as he defines hoarding as the acquisition of and failure to discard large numbers of possessions, which appear to be useless or of limited value (Frost & Gross 367-381). While hoarding is widely frowned upon, everyone, whether consciously or not, partakes of hoarding habits. Asking the question “Do we really need everything we buy and save?” she implies that we have enough, if not too much, when she explains how there was one time when only the wealthy used to be able to afford materialistic nonessentials but now that food and material are sufficient; we have just developed problems of greed (Schutza 256). Frost, Steketee, and Williams defined compulsive buying as chronic, repetitive purchasing behavior, in response to negative events and/or feelings, that is difficult to stop and results in harmful consequences (Frost, Steketee, and Williams 201)

Hoarding to the extreme, or as Schutza puts it, “when every room is crammed with large disorderly quantities of things” then you know there is a problem. Which brings us to compulsive hoarding; Frost and Hartl provided the first efficient definition, identifying three characteristics: ‘‘(1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; (2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or harm in functioning caused by the hoarding’’ (Frost & Hartl 341).

So a big question is probably forming; why don’t they just clean it up? Throughout her essay Schutza give a few reasons: first, they are emotionally attached to their stuff; two, it is part of our human nature, the people long before us even did it; and three; we have such easy access to purchases via online shopping and television shopping channels. According to a study from “Hoarding, compulsive buying and reason for saving” the difference between hoarders and non-hoarders, when it come to discarding particular items, is the overriding amount of reasoning hoarders give to not discard them compared to non-hoarders (Frost, Kim, Morris, et al. 657). Schutza explains why hoarders get so “emotionally attached” and why their stuff makes them feel “secure”. She reinsures this by using

In her essay she also brings up humans developed as hunter or gatherers just to survive, so it is just in our genes to do what we have to feel safe, secure and protected. She uses the book Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding, and says that “fear is the basic reason behind the drive to save…If you think about the bare essentials for human survival, food and shelter are crucial…Hoarders may have learned to temporarily avoid feeling fear by feeling safe and secure with their possessions” (qtd. in Schutza 254). H. Stefan...
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