August 21, 2018.
We see it on mainstream TV. There’s more than one reality show tackling the subject of hoarding. Networks create entertainment around the spectacle of families or individuals who have a problem with endless piles of stuff in every corner of their homes. At some point in the show, people appear with protective gear such as face masks, gloves and boots, and many large containers. What you see on the small screen may or may not be a great representation of every situation, however, there’s some good in bringing this issue to the public awareness. Many people deal with hoarding and the reality is that there’s nothing fun or entertaining about it for the hoarding households.
What does it mean to be a hoarder?
There’s a difference between being a “collector” and having a “hoarding” affliction. Collectors generally know what they own, have a meticulous accounting of it, know the value, and display or store their collections in safe places that do not overwhelmingly disrupt the running of the household. Collectors make calculated decisions about what they acquire and generally take good care of the collected items to preserve their value. Collectors find pleasure in the understanding, appreciation and acquisition of items within their limited interest range.
Hoarders, on the other hand, have little discrimination regarding what they keep. Their desire to acquire is relative to their anxiety. They treat their objects like security blankets and litter the entire home with these possessions, which are often damaged or ruined by being on the floor and in piles. Hoarders derive comfort from having many of the same item, in case they run out, so they don’t resist buying items they don’t need. They’re overly sentimental concerning ordinary items and save anything from unremarkable found objects, to things may “need’ in the future. They keep an overabundance of supplies, tools or building materials which they will never use and clothes they will never wear in sizes that no member of the household can fit. They collect junk: torn, broken and damaged items with the intention to repair, use or sell, though they seldom if ever follow through. Their acquisitions feed their desire for safety and protection. The more they are surrounded in “stuff” the safer they feel. Too much furniture, storage boxes, stacks and bags of items cause most hoarders to create a narrow path through the house. Being a hoarder has been classified under a form of OCD, though the condition will likely receive its own pathology designation soon.
Is Hoarding Really a Problem?
Just ask the families of hoarders. It’s an overwhelming problem. Most hoarders are deep into the habit by their early 50s, though signs of the habit can be noticeable in their teens. Hoarding tendencies afflict 1 in 50 people, while 1 in 4 people with OCD have been known to hoard. These people have an extreme attachment to their possessions, while at the same time, are embarrassed by the problems visible in a hoarder’s home. They struggle to make decisions about what to do with an item, so they just keep and store it. Throwing items away or the thought of being stolen from creates great anxiety and panic.
Other Signs of Hoarding
The side-effects of hoarding can not only be debilitating for the sufferer, but the family of the hoarder suffers too. Hoarding habits negatively affect daily life in physical, emotional and financial ways. Relationships bear a heavy burden both inside and outside the family. Specific signs and problems of hoarding include:
- Cluttered rooms, yard, & garage. Lack of space to park, walk, sit or perform daily chores.
- Difficulty or inability to sell, give or throw away anything. Not throwing out plastic or paper trash, thinking it can be used later in a project or as a useful item.
- Regularly acquiring more needless or useless items, even broken or trash items.
- Storing stacks of junk mail, newspapers, old school assignments and other junk papers in rooms.
- Moving stuff around without getting rid of it, busy work, but no improvement in order.
- Procrastination and disorganization of home, possessions, schedule, tasks and chores.
- Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by their home, creating isolation, with stressed family members not having guests over.
- Not allowing repairmen or technicians in the home, so maintenance of the home is also substandard. Can create dangerous fire hazards, or unsafe appliances, and non-functioning basics such as water and electricity.
- Too many pets- often not cleaned up after properly, causing even more unsanitary conditions, unhealthy environments, smell, and spiraling into worse anti-social lifestyle.
- Depression from embarrassment and isolation, living mentally in their own world. Lack of reality and social connections.
- Difficult and dysfunctional relationship within the household, arguing, marital issues, stress over lack of living space.
Family Steps In
Jiffy Junk’s clutter removal services can really come through for a family struggling to be rid of their hoarded items. Families need help getting their loved ones to make big life changes. Having to sort and haul items out of the house themselves is never easy. Once it has been determined that an intervention is happening, counselors recommend that the owners of the “stuff” not be present. They tend to interfere, finding a use or reason to keep ridiculous items for sentimental or collectible reasons. With the sheer number of items that can be stuffed literally anywhere, it’s an overwhelming task to empty a hoarder’s home. This requires a service that will sensitively and efficiently get rid of all the extra stuff as quickly and as soon as possible to help the hoarder not struggle with family and sabotage the process. Even those hoarders who seemingly welcome the help, will experience extreme anxiety at the sight of their possessions being removed. Once the family decides what not to get rid of, our pros at jiffy Junk will take it from there.
Recycling and Donating
Knowing that your loved one may have worry and anxiety about the wasted money or value of their removed items, Jiffy Junk can assure them and the family that we care about what happens to your stuff. We work hard to see that items with some usefulness make it to donation centers while recyclables get to their respective recycle centers. Broken appliances and furniture are often able to be recycled to some extent. With us at the helm, you not only don’t have to stress about carrying bulky items and piles of stuff outside, you won’t have to sweat hauling or figuring out where to take everything, either. Since we work hard to donate and recycle scrap metal, we make sure nothing goes into the landfill that doesn’t have to. Hopefully this can provide some comfort for the afflicted hoarder, helping them work toward recovery in their newly cleared out home. In the process, they can also feel good about helping their community and neighbors with their donations.
Clutter Removal Services to the Rescue
Finally getting rid of the clutter in the household of a hoarder can promote emotional, physical, mental, social and financial health. Who knew a clutter removal service could make such a difference? We at jiffy Junk see these miracles all the time. Using our service is quick, easy, safe, eco-friendly, efficient and affordable. Why not get your loved one and their family on the road to healing and restoration? When the time is right, give us a call or go online to make an appointment. Jiffy Junk can be at the home at any time to haul everything out to their trucks, taking the items off the property quickly and safely.