Hoarding: When to Get Help
Who here has gone into their basement and thought, “How in
the world have I amassed all of these things”? Am I possibly considered a
hoarder? Hanging onto every one of your children’s VHS tapes or all the
birthdays cards you’ve ever been given doesn’t make you a hoarder: most people
like to keep things that hold some sentimental significance, it’s completely
normal. But if you are placing as much value on every newspaper dating back to
1999 as you do on your car, you may be getting into dubious territory.
As an adolescent you were taught to keep your room tidy,
never eat outside of the kitchen, and always maintain a certain level of
cleanliness overall. This may not be an
option for certain individuals. Compulsive hoarding can sometimes be affiliated
with extreme Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and may start during childhood
or adolescence but does not usually become severe until later life. Hoarders
are often perfectionists, and the fear of making wrong decisions about what to
keep or throw away can leave them frozen with indecision. They simply choose to
keep it all – in case.
Because we are a restoration company and not psychologists,
we are not going to go in-depth on why and how someone is a compulsive
Hoarding can range from enormous collections, recyclables,
including paper and plastic, food, clothing, trash, human feces, animal
hoarding, etc. All of which have their
different levels of clean-up.
Savage Restoration performed a clean-out for a clients’
hoarding deceased brother. This space was no bigger than 600 sf, all of which
was floor-to-ceiling Styrofoam take-out containers, toilet paper/paper towels
cardboard rolls and layers of potato chip bags heavily stapled to the walls. To fully comprehend the number of
aforementioned items removed, it took a 30-yard dumpster and 10 technicians to
complete this job. When the technicians
we able to see the remaining furniture and walk around they found over 100
plastic bags of human feces hidden under the bed. Situations like this can be extremely
unpredictable upon first evaluation.
You never know what is going to trigger someone to become a
compulsive hoarder. Most known hoarders have an underlying issue from a
certain tragedy in life. I just read a story about a woman in her mid-to-late
50’s who lived a really successful life working in the NY stock exchange. Due to the recession, the company she worked
for had major layoffs. At 50 something,
she could not even fathom what her next steps should be. In a very short time, she went into a deep
depression and started to amass dubious amounts of books to the point where she
could not even walk with a clear path to the bathroom. She had no local family for support. After
months of default mortgage payments, the bank repossessed the home with the
current hoarding situation. This happens
often with foreclosures.
Most hoarding situations are inherited by bank foreclosures
or a family member.