Options for Helping Hoarders Clean Up

May 15th, 2012 by

Learn what hoarding help options one has when dealing with hoarding clean up needs

As you may have seen on TV, there are many people who suffer from hoarding. Although to the non hoarder, the whole hoarding concept seems fascinating, to the hoarder its like living in a nightmare. Boxes upon boxes, and piles of paper and items are in every room making the inside of the house look like a storage room that exploded.

Hoarders over the years either become accustomed to their situation ( including the bad odor and unhealthy conditions) or are to embarrassed to tell anyone, including family members of their situation. Meanwhile the situation grows worse with every month that goes by. It usually takes the hoarder themselves to take a stand or in most cases it’s a family member or a friend who decides to take matters in their own hands.

The question is how to handle the situation correctly and make a smooth transition from a hoarding situation to a livable home condition. Most loved ones helping hoarders take for granted the request that the hoarder themselves clean up the situation and throw away unimportant items. Hoarders are always making promises to themselves and to their loved ones that they will take care of the situation in a timely matter. What the reader needs to understand is that if they could do that, they wouldn’t be hoarders. Hoarders hoard for simple reasons that the process of hoarding creates a psychological “ pain reliever”. The useless stuff you perceive is actually very important emotional items that can’t be thrown away to the hoarder. That includes used tissues, McDonald wrappers, plastic bags, etc.

The plain fact that happens repeatedly is that hoarders themselves can not ( watch as I didn’t say will not ), throw away, store, or organize their items. Hoarders will promise over and over that they will take care of the issue. The problem sadly is that in most cases hoarders do not take care of the problem. This leaves those who are helping hoarders with the next option, doing the clean up and organizing themselves.

Hoarder helpers cleaning up

This is usually the next step in the long frustrating process of creating a livable condition for hoarders. The usual process is the family or friends come together to start taking things out of the house ( or at least start a plan ) that they believe is not needed. At this point this where the “ hoarder helpers” realize why hoarders hoard. As the hoarder helpers start working with the hoarder, the hoarder starts instructing to the hoarder helpers what can be thrown away and what can not. What is discovered is that nothing can really be thrown away, just moving items from one section to another. The hoarder helpers also realize that even if they could remove all the “stuff” , the task is too overwhelming. Adding to the overwhelming task is where to throw away all the stuff. This leads to the next step, which is hiring someone or a company to assist in organizing and removing items to make the home a livable situation.

Hiring a Hoarding Helper

Finding a company or someone to assist the hoarder or family hoarder may not be as you think. There are a few choices in the matter.

Professional Organizer- Professional organizers are trained to assist hoarders in creating a livable condition. The challenging issue with professional organizers is the fact they are usually one person operations without a staff to move large amounts of unneeded items that need to be removed from the home. Professional organizers are a good idea as long as they are joined by a company that can remove the unneeded items and large items ( sofas, chairs, tables, etc. ).

Hoarding Clean Up Companies- There are hoarding situations that do not need a professional organizer. These hoarding situations require that all items need to be removed ( except savable items ) from the home. This is where another important decision is to be made.

Junk Removal Companies- There are junk removal companies or junk haulers that have advertised that they are now hoarding clean up companies. Most or all have the words junk removal services and hoarding clean up services on their trucks. All though this is great for advertising, it creates a major embarrassment and even possible psychological issues with the hoarder. Imagine a huge debris removal truck coming to the hoarder’s home saying in big letters  “ Junk removal and Hoarding Clean Up”. It may even say “ Bio Hazard Clean Up” . One of the major issues with all hoarders is embarrassment . Hoarders have been hiding their condition for years especially from the neighbors. but then their greatest fear comes true as a sign like a loud speaker telling everyone that a hoarder lives here. To add insult to injury, most junk removal company employees are not trained in dealing with hoarders and their sensitive needs. These employees may talk loudly and dress in non professional attire, making the embarrassment of the hoarder even greater. The best solution is to hire a company that specialized in hoarding clean up and has certifications in hoarding. This company should be trained or have had training with industry known experts in the field of hoarding. The hoarding clean up should demonstrate that they can create a livable condition in the home with balancing psychological needs of the hoarder at the same time.

As you can see there are a few choices when deciding how to help your hoarder loved one or even helping your self when dealing with a hoarding situation. Just remember that there is help and that there is a light at the end of tunnel.

About Jeff Cohn

Jeff Cohn has a Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization through the Institute of Challenging Disorganization and has been trained by Cory Chalmers from the A&E TV series called 'Hoarders'. Jeff Cohn has also worked with many professionals in the hoarding and clutter industries to further his knowledge about the issues. Specializing in Hoarding Clean Up, Clutter Cleaning, Junk Removal and Organizing & Sorting Services. Visit his Google+ Profile