Hoarding is another disorder that has nothing to do with laziness or stupidity. According to science, most hoarders have emotional or psychological issues that may or may not be obvious. Some have even experienced something stressful in the past that has led them to this life of burying themselves alive in all sorts of stuff. You must be very careful if you want to help a loved one with hoarding disorder, you must be very careful. A wrong approach could make the situation worse. Here are some tips on how to deal with this problem the right way.
No matter the topic, you should always be emphatic with the people you care about. No hoarder feels happy or proud about their behavior or about what their home looks like. The first step in helping them is listening to what they have to say without being judgmental. You can point gently towards the bad habits that are the culprit for the mess in their home. Also, try to put yourself in their shoes and understand their reasons.
However, trying to understand them doesn’t mean you should justify their actions. On the contrary, you should always avoid enabling their hoarding habits. That means when they tell you why they own 12 sets of coasters, you should say something like “Oh, I see.”, and not “Well, you’re right, I agree you should have that many of them.”. Also, don’t take a hoarder to places where they are likely to acquire more items to hoard. Those are usually flea markets, dollar stores, and antique shops. In that sense, treat them as if they were suffering from an addiction and don’t put them in the temptation to go back to it.
It is of utmost importance that you show a lot of respect for these people’s belongings. They don’t want to get rid of them, and forcing or insulting them by saying it’s all junk will hurt them more. If they are especially reluctant to let go of all those items, suggest renting a storage unit. The moving and storage experts from Affordable Reliable Moving Company offer their clients with hoarders in their families their storage services that kill two birds with one stone. By putting a hoarder’s belongings into a storage unit, you can provide them with a clean home and the comforting thought of knowing their belongings are not lost. It is not a perfect solution but a step closer to solving the issue here.
In a considerable percentage of cases, hoarding is caused by one or more psychological issues that need to be addressed. Therefore, consult a psychologist for valuable advice on how to proceed. They may even be able to shed some light on the reason why this person began hoarding in the first place. That reason is the key to completely eradicating the problem, but it will take some time and a lot of work.
The hoarding issue will not be solved if the hoarder is not on board. Talk to the person in question and devise a solid plan. But make sure your plan is not overly ambitious. That problem requires patience and realistic if not low, expectations to work.
Offer a dream to the hoarders they could hold on to and use as the motivation to change their behavior. That could be living in a clean and functional home where they could invite friends whenever they want. Offer creative ideas on how to remodel their home to look better and more practical. Small spaces like kitchens can contain many items and still look neat with a space-saving hack. Hopeful dreams of a better life are always better for motivating people than threats and insults.
Not only does a hoarder need to part with their beloved belongings, but they have to work hard. For some, the latter is the main reason why they never start decluttering in the first place. For example, they might want to move to another place and get their life in order, but they don’t feel like starting with all that work. But you could give them a hand by being there for them emotionally and doing some work yourself or hiring experts for it. If you manage to take the stress out of the equation, chances are better that a hoarder will accept change.
Hoarding as a disorder can be more or less severe. The worse cases include gathering junk in various degrees. For a hoarder, it is challenging to let go of their stuff, but trash may be best to start with as their attachment to it is the weakest. Therefore, always start there. You can do it yourself or hire a junk removal company to do it for you. Either way, starting before tackling more complex issues is a good point.
You must be patient and understanding to help a loved one with hoarding disorder. Remember that you are there to help and not to criticize or intervene. As atrocious as the behavior may seem, it is the hoarder’s way of dealing with psychological or emotional issues. Be supportive and helpful without being hurtful and insulting. After all, you love them, and that is all you should do – offer love and support in all its positive forms.
Guest Contributor: Sophia Perry