If your teen or tween has an untidy bedroom, this may be a phase through which they are going. Characteristic signs include chairs piled high with clothes they never put away, and a floor that’s hard to navigate past possessions. We consider tween and teenage hoarders in this post. And what to do if they move to their own space, and you need a room clearance.
Why Tween and Teenage Hoarders May Be Messy People
One school of thought holds this is a development phase, that teens pass through if parents are patient. This theory holds we have different brain systems controlling pursuit of pleasure, and rational behaviour. Apparently these develop independently, and only synchronise in early adulthood by which time they should be out the house. But the same signs could also indicate compulsive hoarding which is a life time syndrome.
You May Need Outside Help Getting Things Under Control
We put ‘help’ in single quotes because compulsive hoarding does not respond well to pressure. A mother wrote to Washington Post for advice regarding her 13 year old daughter’s ‘disaster bedroom’. This a typical example of frustrations many parents face.
‘She has more stuff than she could possibly use,’ the mother complained. ‘But she balks at getting rid of anything. She still has her childhood toys but she never plays with them. She still has clothes she outgrew years ago hanging in her cupboard. But when I suggest a room clearance I hit a solid wall of resistance.’
Comparing Clutter and Hoarding: The Dividing Line
Quora defines hoarding as a mental condition related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Tween and teenage hoarders form emotional attachments to items that call back memories. They are therefore emotionally unable to give them up, displaying behaviour defying logic instead.
Hence, when their parents suggest a room clearance this may trigger a reaction with a vigour that makes them step back. At this point parents are wise to stop and consider ‘Am I dealing with a hoarder or a messy person’. They need to understand the dividing line between parental control and professional advice.
Most Tween and Teenage ‘Hoarders’ Are Actually Messy People
Messy bedrooms – a more likely a more explanation with your tween or teenager – are outward signs of extreme untidiness. Pursuit of pleasure overcomes rational thinking, as they delay tidying up for as long as they can. And then they probably only pick up the worst. Here are two examples comparing this to hoarding:
1a… Messy people leave piles of dirty clothing on the floor, until they run out of clean items and are have to do their laundry.
1b… Hoarders stuff cupboards with clean and dirty clothing they never use, but can’t bear the thought of throwing away.
2a… Messy people leave empty toilet rolls on the loo floor, because they don’t see the need to pick them up for recycling.
2b… Hoarders pack the bathroom cupboard full of empty toilet rolls, just in case they have a future use for them someday.
Thus the dividing line is as follows. Messy people are slothful and untidy. Whereas hoarding is the outward sign of a complex psycho-social condition. Hoarders are unable to throw their possessions away, because they see them as having value. In a few chosen words, tween and teenage hoarders have noble intentions their parents seldom appreciate.
What’s Best if You Have a Tween and Teenage Hoarder?
Compulsive hoarding varies across a continuum ranging from mild to extreme. It’s possible your young person knows they have a problem, and might welcome your intervention. However, do be careful not to push them too hard. Or else you might provoke a reaction that could make them more resistant next time.
You need to respect their independence and right to privacy. Young people approaching adulthood resent criticism of any kind. So try scheduling weekly or bi-weekly meetings instead, during which you peck away at the pile and make gradual progress. But if this does not succeed, then you may need to consult a therapist.
My Young Adult Moved Out and Left a Horrible Mess Behind
Teenagers develop powerful attachments to their bedrooms. When they go to college or move out to their own space, they expect to find things as they left them when they return. Parents may tolerate this for a while because they miss them too.
However, if they left a disorganized mess you may have to do a room clearance to ensure hygiene and safety. Avery Associates offer a home and room clearance service throughout the south of England. Follow this link to a list our agents, read Avery Associates reviews of customer feedback here.
Preview Image: Untidy Teenager’s Bedroom With Cat