I had the pleasure of reading Geralin Thomas’ new book, From Hoarding to Hope; Understanding People Who Hoard and How to Help Them. The purpose of the book, while pretty well stated in the title, is meant to be an introduction to hoarding and common traits found in people who hoard. Thomas makes clear from the very beginning that the book is not intended to be an all-encompassing education on hoarding, rather a glimpse into the mind of hoarders and where individuals can go for assistance if desired.
The book itself is shorter than most organizing related books I have previously read. In this way it is a non-intimidating initial approach to learning about hoarding. The book begins with Q&A’s between Geralin and people effected by hoarding in different capacities; hoarders themselves, a spouse of a hoarder, and a child of an inherited hoard among others. All of these perspectives were interesting glimpses into the minds of hoarders. From the perspective of a professional organizer, I was intrigued by some of the questions Thomas asked. For instance, asking about the hoarder’s diet and asking if sugary and high calorie foods were frequently consumed. The answer was generally that the hoarder had a poor diet. I was curious to hear more about this connection, however in the context of this book that was as far as it went. I would love to hear more about some of these common habits and behaviors of hoarders.
Thomas sought input from a clinical psychologist and a clinical professor to help explain hoarding in terms of being an addiction or compulsion, and explaining the clinical diagnosis of hoarding as explained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM-5). I do appreciate that the more complex information is offered, however Thomas is very clear to say, skim the sections for what is relevant for you and come back to it as needed. She advises against reading it entirely and trying to comprehend it all. This is a very realistic approach for family members of hoarders looking to begin searching for help.
The book also offers multiple resources for individuals looking to begin the process of addressing a hoard. Additionally, Thomas offers search terms to use online, as the resources are ever changing and expanding, making them challenging to include in a book.
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about hoarding or helping a loved-one begin the process of reducing a hoarded environment. I imagine this resource being seen as a comforting and relatable book for people looking for some initial assistance.
In conclusion, from the perspective of a professional organizer, I would love to see more from Thomas sharing her insights after working with so many hoarders. I found the lifestyle questions she asked interesting and thought-provoking.
To learn more about Geralin Thomas and the resources she has to offer, visit her website at Metropolitan Organizing.
Page Image: Annie Spratt