Hoarding is a mental disorder where someone struggles to throw away or get rid of anything. They could hoard anything from newspapers to cats. A lot of hoarders continue to hold onto items because they believe at some point these things will be useful or valuable. Another reason that people develop hoarding tendencies is that they have other mental health issues. Many doctors believe that depression, obsession-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder all can lead to hoarding. If you have someone in your life that suffers from hoarding, there are ways that you can help them.
- Educate Yourself On Hoarding
There a number of different reasons that a person may start hoarding. Some people might develop these tendencies if they have gone through something traumatic. Although other people might be a hoarder because they have a mental disorder. While hoarding can be caused by quite a few different things, one cause that research suggests would be if a person has been in foster care. Children who spent years in and out of the foster system are much more likely to become an obsessive hoarder as an adult. This is because they have spent years moving from home to home and they never knew what stuff they would have. Now as an adult, they don’t ever want to be in that situation again. It is estimated that about two to six percent of the population suffers from a hoarding disorder. You should learn about hoarding disorders because that will be the best way that you can help someone who is suffering.
- Focus On The Person, Not The Stuff
When you first enter someone’s house who has a hoarding problem, you might be overwhelmed. You may think that you should just start grabbing all of the trash and just throwing it away. That is not how you should handle this situation. It is crucial that you take your time and focus on the person you are helping. They may have developed these habits because they are depressed. If you can figure out what is causing them to hoard, you will be able to prevent further hoarding episodes.
- Offer Support And Help
Since hoarding is a mental disorder, it is important that you let them know you are there to help them. By offering this support, you will be able to gain their trust. It may take some time to start making progress. However, it will be worth it because you will be more helpful and the results will last longer than if you just threw everything out. They will understand how they were living was unhealthy and they will be less likely to go back to these habits.
- Approach Them With Kindness And Caution
The last thing that you want to do when you are helping a hoarder would be to make them feel like you are rushing or forcing them to do anything that they don’t want to do. By approaching them with kindness, you will not only help with their hoarding disorder but also aid in improving any other underlying mental illnesses.
- Let Them Be In Control
For many hoarders, getting rid of their stuff, no matter how big or small can be heartbreaking. That is why you should always let them be in control. There may be times when you need to give them some tough love. However, you should never force them into doing something that they don’t want to do. You should always ask permission before throwing anything away or taking it for donations. One small slip up could undo all of your hard work and progress.
- Consider Professional Help
Sometimes you won’t be able to help someone that is a hoarder all on your own. If that is the case, then you should reach out to professional help. There are plenty of people who go to schools for years just to people to understand why people think and act the way that they do. Professional help would be great for anyone. However, if you have tried multiple times and have had no success in helping them, then you should definitely look into it. You may want some professional help when it comes to cleaning as well. Some hoarders like to take their time and go through everything, while others would rather everything be gone as soon as possible.
Having someone in your life that is a hoarder can be overwhelming and emotional. It can be hard to watch someone that you care about continue to live in a mess of garbage and unnecessary clutter. Since it is a mental disorder, it can be difficult to stop hoarding tendencies. Make sure that you follow these tips to help the person in your life that is struggling with hoarding. Just like any other mental illness, it will take a lot of time, work, and compassion to help them get better.
Jennifer Hanzlick is an Entrepreneur, Speaker and Hoarding Expert. She was inspired to create a business to help people remove the junk and clutter from their homes. She found out many people are overwhelmed with the amount of clutter or junk in their homes. They want to get rid of it but don’t know where to start and need extra help. And this is how Clutter Trucker was born!