Problems Arising From Hoarding And How It Effects The Sufferer And Their Families
There are many causes of what is commonly termed “hoarding” or the accumulation of items, perhaps rubbish, excessive reading material or clothing and chronic disorganisation of an individual’s home. This could be due to depression, ill health, lack of mobility, even for a short period of time, impairing a person’s ability to clean or dispose of items themselves. It could be due to distress caused by discarding or letting go of items and objects regardless of their worth. Accumulation of items can be mild to severe and include newspapers or junk mail, empty coffee cups, obsolete electrical items or completely collectable items such as postcards or rare books and brand new items ordered online or clothes and household items. A chaotic home can lead to the loss of useful items within the melee requiring them to be purchased again and again.
Inability To Maintain The Property
The servicing of utilities and repair of appliances like washing machines, fridges and stoves may be impossible due to the home owner’s embarrassment at the conditions of the house and may impact on their ability to lead a “normal” life. The lack of a fridge or proper cooking facilities makes ordinary household tasks extremely difficult and undermines independent living for the elderly or infirm. This may require an individual to eat away from home regularly or create a dependency on instant processed food that requires no preparation but of questionable nutritional value long term.
Social Isolation And Retreat
Social isolation due to being unable to invite anyone in and conflict with family members is often a problem for those living with chronic disorganisation. Family members, friends and neighbours are very worried at their living conditions and associated risks such as fire or trip hazards or the financial implications of eating out and unnecessary purchases to satisfy the need to acquire items or replace them.
Assistance With Clearing And Re-Organising – Retaining Valuable And Personal Items
Whilst a home filled to capacity impacts on a person’s life to the point where they cannot function on a daily basis, help can be sought at any point to prevent a property becoming this cluttered. Often a person termed a “hoarder” will have difficulty making decisions on what they will keep or dispose of and will need to trust the person helping in the clearance to assist them with their decisions. For example, as things often have not been sighted for some time they may have been replaced several times and the best of these items/objects are the ones that need to be kept.
Leaving The work In The Hands Of Professional Organisers
Sometimes an individual may prefer not to be present when clearing is taking place as this causes great anxiety and they prefer not to be involved further than checking in on progress and what has been kept for them. There must be trust between the clearance operatives and the client for them to feel happy doing this. This is established initially by noting every single thing that the client is expecting to be found or is looking for, and ensuring that all things they have listed along with anything we suspect may be valued is kept for them.
Back To A Manageable Condition
A clearance and sort of a property may not prevent the hoarding from continuing to occur but it is a starting to point to maintain and, with help, can be very successful. Often the keeping of numerous items needlessly regardless of their value is not seen as a problem by the individual themselves although most do and are relieved when the property is returned to its original condition. If ill health or mobility improve the desire to get back to normal once the home is in order is the desire of most individuals who express relief once the clearance is under way.
It is extremely rewarding to leave a home tidy and clear, and more importantly to have given some great practical help to people to regain control of this part of their lives. I enjoy helping to return a property back to an ordered and tidy home, finding personal items, documents and photos, returned to their rightful places and useful items used again.
For confidential advice and professional help please feel free to call Theresa Rickard our in house specialist for all matters relating to hoarding on 0208 640 0044