Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Clutter vs. Hoarding: When to Get Help


                                     Clutter vs. 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 hoarder. 

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. 

If you have inherited or are struggling with a hoarding situation, help is available. Savage Restoration is always willing to help you and help your insured’s get their properties back to a pre-loss condition. Whether it be WATER, FIRE, MOLD or BIOHAZARD property damage we are “There When You Need Us”

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