Author: Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010..
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: David had it a pile of books to read and I was sick of the book I was reading.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: We've seen them in a Dateline story or an Oprah feature: homes that have become improbable repositories of 'literally' tons of stuff. The camera crews zoom in on rooms crammed floor-to-ceiling with stacks of newspapers and magazines. We watch, fascinated, as professional organizers attack the untidy rooms, or the host expresses horror at a filthy kitchen, but never ask the larger question: How did it come to this? STUFF is the first book to explore compulsive hoarding, a disorder that affects as many as six million people. Using the latest research, much of which they pioneered in their decade of study, along with vivid case histories of a range of hoarders (animal collectors, compulsive shoppers, elderly packrats, scavengers), Frost and Steketee describe the various causes of hoarding, psychological and biological, and the traits by which you can identify a hoarder. In a portrait that disproves many of our assumptions about the often-hidden disease (for example, most hoarders aren't reacting to childhood poverty or deprivation), they also examine the forces behind a hoarder's behavior and the ways in which they affect all of us, whether it's the passion of a collector, the rigor of someone whose desk is always clean, the sentimentality of the person who saves ticket stubs. For the sufferers, their relatives and friends, and all the rest of us with complicated relationships to our things, STUFF answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.
Review: Scary, scary…I saw so many people I know, including myself, in this book. We have so much now that storage is a problem, of course that is not hoarding. Hoarding is keeping everything, regardless of what it is. Piles of papers, clothes, garbage, junk so much that there is barely space to sit in your own home, or sleep in worse cases. Boy I need to be sure to throw away things I don’t need or use or I could start collecting useless items. I come from a grandfather who was a pack-rat, now I realize he was a hoarder. He grew up in the depression and it was a coping mechanism for him to keep everything for a rainy day.
Read this book if you keep things and start to see piles around your house, you may have a problem. Good news is that there is help out there, you don’t have to live in piles and piles of stuff scared someone might find out.
Author Biography: Dr. Randy O. Frost is the Harold and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology at Smith College and author of "Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things" (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2010), a book about hoarding for the general public. He is an expert on obsessive-compulsive disorder and compulsive hoarding and has published more than 100 scientific articles on these topics. He other books include "Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide and Workbook" as well as "Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding"
Gail Steketee, Ph.D. is Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work. Her recent research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, focuses on diagnostic and personality aspects of compulsive hoarding and on effective treatments. She and Dr. Frost have written the manual for mental health clinicians who treat hoarding problems.