As little as 15 years ago, people with extremely cluttered homes were known as pack rats or collectors. There has been a growing problem where homes become so extremely full of possessions that it makes it impossible to use the rooms in the house for the purpose in which they were originally intended. No cooking in the kitchen, no family meals in the dining room, and no entertaining friends and family in the living room because all of these spaces are occupied by the treasures of a hoarder, practically floor to ceiling. “Compulsive Hoarding is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire and keep things, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. More than 3 million people are compulsive hoarders.” (Flynn, Chan, & Severson, 2010)
It was a cold rainy Saturday afternoon in May 2007 when I heard it. I was reluctantly helping my husband clean up an enormous mess in our flooded dungeon of a basement. I was going through the motions, trying to look busy, trying to stay numb. I had heard it before. Many times in fact, but this time it was different. It stopped me and I listened. As Neil Young’s song “Old Man” played on my radio, it seemed as if his voice began to fade away until all that remained was the beautiful harmonic melody of his guitar. I had heard this before, but not just on the radio.