Virtual Reality May Help Declutter Overfilled Home Spaces

Virtual Reality May Help Declutter Overfilled Home Spaces

Date: April 10, 2024

Researchers at Stanford Medicine have discovered impressive results in a study to understand how VR can help reduce hoarding disorders.

Who wouldn’t want a clean, hygienic, and organized home? Even the unorganized want to live organized. While some live cluttered just because they are too lazy, nearly 6% of the world’s population suffers from a medical condition called hoarding disorder. The research team at Stanford Medicine has found a solution to eradicate the hoarding epidemic using technology.

Virtual Reality has emerged as a hero that can help victims of hoarding disorder declutter their homes and let go of old, unwanted belongings. Carolyn Rodriguez and her team created a virtual environment using scans of the participants’ real-world possessions. Then, they loaded the virtual environment of possessions into a VR headset. The virtual environment was shown with probable ways to organize existing items and identify the ones that need to be let go of.

“They can actually practice letting go of items, and this can be a stepping stone to real-life discarding,” said Rodriguez, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Hoarding Disorders Research Program. The study revealed that 7 out of 9 participants experienced improvements in their hoarding disorder symptoms and began decluttering their homes.

Unlike other mental health issues, hoarding disorder victims go through a deeper stigma as many within their community criticize the actions and intent of such people. "Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with hoarding disorder makes it difficult for sufferers to seek help, and they may be unwilling to let others enter their homes to assist them," said Rodriguez.

The current scenario of treating hoarding disorder patients is pretty unorganized. Patients either live in denial and a house filled with more items than space to walk or consider treatment for such a petty issue too expensive. Creating a virtual environment allows users to organize their space without facing detachment issues or the stress of letting go.

Rodriguez believes that the hoarding disorder stems from a deeper mental issue and has collected evidence that indicates cognitive behavioral therapy is the best solution. She actively engages with hoarding disorder victims to understand deeper levels of behavior patterns and inculcate them in her solution.

Technology has always led transformative revolutions in healthcare. With VR helping solve the challenges of hoarding disorder, millions of people worldwide can access the solution confidentially, remotely, and at much lower costs than 1-on-1 therapy sessions.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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