There can be few things more saddening than entering a deceased friend’s home and finding it piled high with junk. This is especially true if they appointed us their executor, and we have to sift through their possessions to find their valuables and last testament.
Avery and Associates provides a service to administer probate, and clear hoarders’ homes. However, with a little forethought and loads of patience you may be able make the situation easier by managing your hoarder.
STEP ONE: Understand What Makes Your Hoarder Tick
We mostly all have difficulty getting rid of things we no longer need. Many of us have the same difficulty with our Facebook friends. We leave them up because we never know when we may need them again.
Hoarders have a similar dilemma, although in their instance this is more to do with material possessions, especially things that are free or almost freely available.
What Makes Hoarders Different from Collectors
Hoarders accumulate large quantities of commonly thrown-away items, such as cardboard boxes, food, household supplies, magazines, newspapers, paper bags, plastic bags, photographs, and clothing. In their minds they are doing this to reduce landfill, and encourage recycling.
Collectors, on the other hand are more selective. They collect meaningful sets of related items that have real or intrinsic value, and they don’t mind paying quite large sums of money for rare items. In their minds they are preserving them for prosperity and that’s a noble thing to do.
Why Hoarders Have Difficulty Discharging Their Collections
Hoarders also have this notion their ‘collections are valuable’. However, in their case the value is only to them, because their piles of junk are worthless to the rest of society. This can drive a wedge between the people who love them. That’s why some hoarders become such lonely people.
If you have a friend who becomes angry, resentful and even depressed when you try to throw the junk away, and tidy their house then they have reached the stage where their accumulation has become their friend, or a pleasing memory of their past.
They become obsessed with adding to their collection as if has become their life’s goal, and obsession. If their hoarding disorder interferes with their everyday living, then you may need to tread carefully, and seek expert advice before attempting to manage your hoarder.
STEP TWO: Manage the Situation As Best You Can
It could be that hoarding is happening to you. Your cupboards may be overflowing with stuff you have not used for years. Perhaps you can’t walk easily through the cellar anymore.
But hoarding could also be happening to your special friend or family member. Either way, nip the process in the bud while you have the time. Or whittle away at the accumulation remembering a problem shared is a problem halved when managing your hoarder.
Small Things to Tackle Bit By Bit Make a Difference
1… There’s little point in keeping old newspapers. Besides, who would want to read them, when the publishers and the local library keep back copies that are easier to find.
This one is an easy case to argue. Your choice charity may be happy to collect them and take them away for recycling, in exchange for a donation to their cause.
2… That step may clear enough space to review unwanted furniture, especially if you include the paper and plastic bags in the first batch. The local charity shop could be happy to pop by and take them off your hands too.
However, if there is anything old or lovely among them ask a specialist to value them for you first. You could be feeling pleased with yourself as you rearrange the siting room afterwards.
3… Now about all those old books, magazines, long playing records, seven singles, CD’s and so on. Some long playing records have collector value, but few people read a book a second time.
Offer the local library first refusal on the items. Other takers may include charity shops, and educational services including nurseries, schools and even universities.
There’s little point in hanging on to the leftovers so ask recycling to collect them too. Combating climate change through recycling is the responsible thing to do.
Managing Your Hoarder is a Process, Not an Event
You never achieve your goal completely, whether you are a hoarder or a friend sorting their probate. Life’s a journey, and we’ll probably keep accumulating things through to the very end.
Avery and Associates are on standby to assist when it comes to administering probate, clearing homes, and valuing assets for estate duty. We are active throughout South of England and Wales. And we assure you of our very best attention at all times.