The Different Levels of Clutter/Hoarding and How to Recognize Them
Clutter can mean different things for different people. For some, a small pile of clothes in the corner of an otherwise well-ordered room constitutes serious clutter. For others, the clutter might only register when a room in their house becomes inaccessible.
To help us more accurately distinguish the level of the clutter and provide appropriate help, we use the International OCD Foundation Hoarding Centre Clutter Image Rating and The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Clutter–Hoarding Scale™ (C–HS™).
Clutter Image Rating
The International OCD Foundation Hoarding Centre created a series of 9 pictures of rooms in various stages of clutter – from completely clutter-free to very severely cluttered. People can just pick out the picture in each sequence that comes closest to the clutter in their own living room, kitchen, and bedroom. In general, clutter that reaches the level of picture # 4 or higher impinges enough on people’s lives that we would encourage them to get help for their hoarding problem.
Example of the International OCD Foundation Hoarding Centre Clutter Image Rating
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) developed the Clutter–Hoarding Scale™ (C–HS™) to serve as an observational guideline tool for the assessment of residential environments, and is intended for the assessment of the household environment only. There are five levels to indicate the degree of household clutter and/or hoarding from the perspective of a professional organizer or related professional.
The levels in the scale are progressive, with Level I as the lowest and Level V the highest. ICD considers Level III to be the pivot point between a household that might be assessed as cluttered and a household assessment that may require the deeper considerations of working in a hoarding environment.
Within each level are five specific categories that describe the degree of clutter and/or hoarding potential.
1. Structure and Zoning
Assessment of access to entrances and exits; function of plumbing, electrical, HVAC (any aspect of heating, ventilation or air conditioning) systems and appliances; and structural integrity
2. Animals and Pests
Assessment of animal care and control; compliance with local animal regulations; assessment for evidence of infestations of pests (rodents, insects or other vermin)
3. Household Functions
Assessment of safety, functionality and accessibility of rooms for intended purposes
4. Health and Safety
Assessment of sanitation levels in household; household management of medications for prescribed (Rx) and/or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Recommendations for PPE (face masks, gloves, eye shields or clothing that protect wearer from environmental health and safety hazards); additional supplies as appropriate to observational level
Example of Clutter- Hoarding Scale Level 5
Visit the Kane County Hoarding Task Force website for more resources on help for hoarders: https://www.kchoarding.org/