San Jose Hoarding and Clutter clean up services
How to help a hoarder?
This is a question that a lot of people ask and feel helpless about. This wouldn’t be the first time that someone has asked us how to help a friend, parent or partner who hoards. It’s our hope that by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what defines a hoarder and how to help one. Please continue to read this article in its entirety to fully understand hoarding, then you’ll be able to help someone you care about.
Did you know? Five percent of adults living in the US have some type of hoarding disorder? Some more food for thought, it gets more problematic as they age.
Hoarding isn’t so much about the act of collecting stuff as it is about the act itself. For hoarders, the item is more about meaning. They get attached to it for whatever reason, and it has extremely high value to them. It could be an item from a historical event, a piece of jewelry, childhood photo, newspaper or anything for that matter. They simply consider this item too good to throw away.
In a mountain of stuff, do you think they know where one particular item is? You want to believe it! A hoarder often times goes through a lot of indecision on how to store, file or display these possessions. It’s a timely process and one that comes with forethought; therefore, every pile of books, stack of clothes, canned goods, and everything in their house may not make sense to you, but to a hoarder? It’s an organized system of keeping their treasures.
The problem with a hoarders house, their attachment to the stuff starts to accumulate over time, and if it’s not addressed? It becomes overwhelming for the hoarder. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and overeating are just a few of the issues that an excessively cluttered house can cause for a hoarder. Eventually, it will overtake their house and make living in it, a constant battle.
Trying to support someone that you love who is a hoarder can be emotionally draining and frustrating. It can leave you feeling hopeless and like talking to a rock. If you thought drug addiction was a hard habit to break? Hoarders are some of the hardest creatures of habit to reform. They are totally set in their ways, and if you try to interfere with their way of life? All hell can break loose.
They can get very resentful and angry. On the other hand, it can cause confusion and shame. Both of these reactions can and do cause friction and relationships are easily stained. A hoarder will choose their stuff over you any day of the week. That’s the harsh reality, and now that we have your attention, it’s time to discuss a solution.
Here are five tips to support someone who has a hoarding disorder:
Focus less on the stuff and more on the person. Trying to help someone with a hoarding disorder is anything but simple. You can’t just walk into their house and start tossing out their stuff. You may be in a situation where you can overpower the hoarder and do it anyway, but don’t expect a Christmas card anytime in the near future. You might feel better; however, the hoarder will feel extremely violated, and they will hold a resentful grudge for years.
In most cases, the area or spaces that you vacated for them, will eventually be replaced with more stuff than you got rid of in the first place.
Just be there for them. It’s not uncommon for those with a hoarding disorder to be antisocial or have no support at all. Most hoarders are loners and prefer to be at home than to go to a social event or family function. It’s very important to let them know that you love them and are thinking about them. Tell them the positive things that you love about them. Let them know that you understand their hoarding is only one small part of them, but it’s not who they are.
There’s a reason why people hoard, and if you can crack the code, you’ll be on the right path to helping them. Tell them that you’re not there to judge them, but you want them to trust you instead. This will open doors that were once sealed shut. You can also tell them, whatever is said between both of you will not leave the room.
Set small goals and celebrate the victories. Once you have gained their trust, and they’re ready to give it a whirl, have them pick one area. Don’t make the decision for them, it’s very important for them to make the decision. It could be something as small as a dresser drawer, kitchen or coffee table. Don’t expect them to vacate an entire room on the first go around. You need to take baby steps with a hoarder.
Once the process has started, you have to remain diligent and persistent in your pursuit to help them. Additionally, start a routine where they get used to throwing junk mail away or stuff that simply should go in the trash. It’s very important to let them know that you notice a difference in their house and them. Take them out for lunch or a movie to celebrate, you will see a difference.
Let them be in control. It can be very tempting to take control of the decluttering process; however, it’s not a good idea. This can lead to resentments and tension, neither of which is any good for either of you. The best thing you can do is to ask them how you can help them. Do you want me to move that for you or do you want me to hold the bag while you throw stuff into it? Are both good questions and tactics for motivation without being in control.
When it comes to a hoarders house, it’s a good idea to talk about boundaries. You should find out how they feel when you’re in their personal space? This will convey a message of respect, and your loved one is more apt to trust you with future suggestions on decluttering. This is a great way to not get too invested in the problem, but ensures adequate capacity to provide support.
Encourage hoarding help. Encouraging someone to seek help for their problem is not an easy task, especially if they don’t want it. This can take several attempts and numerous conversations before someone will openly admit they have a problem. With understanding and some compassion, you can get them to open up. Offer to go to with them to their appointment with a psychologist who specializes in hoarding or sit with them in group therapy.
Most recovering hoarders have found success with medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. There are also other avenues like online support groups with live video communications or going to an anonymous support group for hoarders. The more active and supported your loved one feels, the more willing they are to seek help.
San Jose Hoarding Clean Up is a Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioner from the State of California Department of Public Health, is OSHA compliant and has a number of certifications .
Once your loved one is taking advice from you and ready to proceed with getting the house back to normal living conditions? You should not attempt hoarding cleanup in more than one room at a time. It might be tempting to start in a small room with less clutter; however, it’s better to start in the room they use the most. This is important because it sets the stage for what the rest of the house could look like?
As an illustration, if you’re loved one watches television in the living room three-quarters of the day and thinks the TV is the best invention since record players? That’s the room you want to declutter first.
As we mentioned above, do not throw their stuff away! It holds a lot of sentimental value to them. Star by separating into piles. Then just simply hold the trash bag and take the trash out, but do not get involved. They should already have the mindset that everything must go! Never ask them if they want to keep that? You will open doors you just closed. Instead, discuss a rule. The rule is, they give you permission to keep anything that looks valuable or has personal merit.
You will know what’s trash and what’s not, so put these items in a special box that will be revealed to them after the room is done. This is building solid trust for the next room, and for true change, you will see your loved one’s enthusiasm about decluttering, instantly ease up. If your loved one is comfortable, this may be the time to hire compassionate hoarding clean up professionals. You don't want the clean up work load to be overwhelming to you both.
The right professionals with be patient and considerate, but still able to keep the outcome goal in mind.
When someone you love who was a hoarder passes away, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here at San Hose Clean Up, we take a human approach when it comes to estate cleanout. We fully understand the grieving process as we too have lost loved ones who passed away in our own personal lives. We also fully understand the impact that a hoarder leaves on its family, and the mess is putting it simply, overbearing.
It can take weeks or months in some cases, to empty the contents in an estate. That’s where our professional team members come to the rescue. You can oversee the entire project, and keep the items you want before we remove them. In most cases of the worst hoarders, hoarding can be found in the basement, attic, garage, and outdoor sheds. The amount of content can literally stretch for thousands of miles end to end.
In these cases, large roll-away dumpsters are required or specialized trucks equipped to handle the task. We have all of the necessary equipment to remove the contents of an entire estate. We even take care of the disposal fees and necessary permits required in certain situations. Our goal is to help you clean out the estate in a timely fashion, so you can concentrate on other important matters.
If you’re ready to clean up an estate and move on to other things? Please check out our website and contact one of our friendly representatives and make an appointment today.
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