GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Most of us hate to throw out stuff that we've collected, and that's normal. But some people carry clutter too far.
Extreme clutter is often the result of compulsive hoarding, which health professionals now consider an emotional problem So much so that psychologists and home care workers met at Greenfield Community College Wednesday to help people who can't stop hoarding.
Dr. Randy Frost of Smith College has studied the problem extensively, and he explained for 22News how the problem spreads across homes.
"The clutter that results from that behavior interferes with the ability to use living space in your home. Once the living space has been impaired, then it crosses the line into this room," Frost said.
Lee Shuer helps people who hoard deal with their problem. He once had the problem of collecting clutter to the extreme.
"Once I realized how the clutter was actually effecting my friendships as well as my marriage, it became a priority to reduce the amount I had," Shuer said.
He told Wednesday's conference that for a time in his life, he couldn't control clutter that began as a childhood collector of stamps and baseball cards.
Studies have estimated that here in the United States, millions of people have no control over their compulsion to continue hoarding, and according to Frost, hoarding often runs in the family.