Reader Julia submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
I saw your presentation at Ignite DC. At one point during your presentation you talked about a Hoarding Scale. What is it? How do I know where I’m on it?
During my presentation, I referenced the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization’s Clutter-Hoarding Scale. The Scale has five levels, with a level one being a light amount of clutter and a level five being an unlivable and unsafe environment.
You can download a copy of the Clutter-Hoarding Scale off the NSGCD website (it’s a PDF).
Professional organizers use the scale to determine the levels of health and safety in a home. Some organizers’ skills work well with only level one and level two clients and other professional organizers have gone through training to prepare themselves to work with all five of the levels.
Most people who are level two or higher on the scale are referred to as chronically disorganized (a non-medical diagnosis), but that doesn’t mean they are a hoarder (a medical diagnosis). A licensed medical practitioner is the only one who can diagnose a person as a hoarder, which makes the name of this scale a bit confusing. I wish it were called the Chronic Disorganization Scale.
At Unclutterer, we target our content to readers who are level three and below. Anyone who would qualify as a level four or level five on the scale we believe should be receiving treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. Our information is obviously available to them on the internet, but it should never replace medical advice and treatment.
Thank you, Julia, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. I hope I helped to clear up any confusion.
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