As many as one in twenty people in Britain are hoarders. This means somebody in your street or terrace may have a disorganized collection of junk. You probably won’t know about it unless they keep it in the yard. That’s because hoarders are usually quiet people who want to be left alone to get on with their lives.
How Would I Know If My Neighbour Was a Hoarder?
There probably wouldn’t be any outwards signs of them keeping things that don’t have any value. However, this not the same as an elderly gentleman who paints lead soldiers and assembles them in battle order.
The difference between hoards and collections is the latter are purposeful and neatly arranged. Hoards on the other hand are disorganized piles of things where you might struggle to find anything.
The only sign of hoarding might be your neighbour carrying an unusual amount of stuff into the house over an extended period. However, if you were to go inside you would likely find things very different to what you are used to in your own home.
What Sort of Things Might I Find Inside the Place?
Hoards are by definition worthless collections, at least according to ‘normal’ social values, although hoarders accumulate them because they might have a use in future.
You could therefore expect to stumble over things like piles of plastic bags, empty containers, newspapers, food past use-by-date, and unopened letters to mention just a few. You could even find lots of cats. Anything can potentially make a hoard.
How to Hoarders Feel About Their Situation?
Hoarders accumulate stuff because it is personally valuable to them (although probably worthless to the rest of us). There’s an emotional bond we don’t quite understand, although we beginning to realise it helps mask emotional turmoil.
Therefore, we need to be careful not to say things like ‘why don’t you get rid of this junk’. Emotions run deep and we interfere with the most profound ones at our peril.
Even if a hoarder knows they need to tidy up they just can’t cope with the stress this entails. The best social worker takes things a baby step at a time. They want to help the person cope, not shut their lifestyle down,
What Should I Do If My Neighbour Is a Hoarder?
Perhaps you should do nothing If the hoarding is not affecting you personally, on the basis it is ‘none of your business’. After all, nobody likes to be told what to do in their own home.
That said, you do have a right to speak to social welfare if the hoarding is affecting your health, safety and quality of life. You could also consider speaking to welfare if you believe the hoarder’s own safety is at risk.
However, if the hoarding does not create an inconvenience you could also leave well alone, and allow the hoarder to get on their lives. You could have a bigger problem living next door after they move out!