Is decluttering a disorder?


Leslie Garret looks at people for whom decluttering has taken over their lives.

"Any behavior can technically become a problem when it starts having an obsessive and compulsive nature. Even [otherwise] healthy behavior," says Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area who has worked with patients who suffer from obsessive-compulsive cleaning. Both cleaning and decluttering can be positive behaviors, she says, but become a problem when they're driven by obsessive thoughts.

The concern is that it acts as a false treatment for other problems in our lives, an obsessive-compulsive behavior, and so on.

But it's also true that anything that poses a significant challenge to consumer culture gets pathologized in the media. No joke: the issue of decluttering itself being in the DSM ("Consumption Disaffectation Syndrome," perhaps? Buypolar Disorder?) is raised in this article.