Helping a hoarder requires one to understand how a hoarder thinks. Why do they hold on to seemingly useless items? Why do they allow these items to accumulate until they have turned into an overwhelming mess? Hoarders describe emotions such as not wanting to risk discarding something important, or feeling anxious when they have to throw things away. What psychological problems are the roots of these feelings?
The Psychology of Hoarding
According to ADAA, hoarding isn’t just a bad habit—it’s a disorder. In fact, it’s a disorder that’s commonly linked with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). People with these disorders may turn to material possessions to provide them comfort. Some “protect” themselves from the outside world with a shell of items that make them happy. However, the anxiety they alleviated from hoarding items may soon return with a vengeance. That’s because a hoarder can quickly feel isolated. It’s hard to invite guests over when you have a hoard piled high in the living room, after all.
Helping a hoarder isn’t as simple as just “disappearing” all their junk. This behavior should be taken seriously, but the hoarder still deserves kindness and respect. You may need to stage an intervention to make the hoarder aware that there is a problem that needs to be solved. Therapy may also be required to help mitigate a hoarder’s behavior and to help the hoarder come to the conclusion that cleaning up their junk will be for the best.
Taking Action with Hoarder Junk Removal
After therapy, a hoarder should come to the conclusion that cleaning up their hoard would be a change for the better. However, cleaning up a hoard can be a real dilemma. This is especially true if it’s gotten so out of control that it’s overwhelming the entire household. In this situation, professional junk removal may be your best option.
When you hire junk removal professionals, even the biggest hoards can be safely removed. Junk removal businesses deal with all kinds of clutter, from trash, clothing, and toys to even heavy furniture and appliances. It is also easier for a hoarder to part ways with their junk when they’re not personally discarding all their items.
It’s important that hoarder cleanup staff treat junk with care. It can be upsetting to a hoarder to see their junk haphazardly flung onto a truck. At JUNK180, we take care to gently move and set junk items into our truck. That way, the amount of stress the hoarder undergoes can be at a minimum. In addition to treating the hoarder’s items with care, we also keep a positive attitude and treat everyone courteously. That way, this otherwise unpleasant experience can be as pleasant as possible.
As mentioned earlier, hoarding can be the side effect of another disorder. It may be worthwhile for a hoarder to continue pursuing therapy. That way, they have the tools they need to discover why they hoard and how they can mitigate those feelings.
A hoarder must also learn how to handle material possessions to avoid creating the hoard again. A great process for deciding which items to keep, whether you're a hoarder or not, is asking yourself this short series of questions: "Have I used this item in the past six months?" "Does this item have a home in my household?" If the answer to these questions is no, then it may be better to dispose of the item.
Hoarders might not want to throw out perfectly good items, causing them to build up a big collection of junk. In this scenario, it's worth considering that these items in good condition can always be donated to locations like our local Goodwills. That way, the items don't have to be trashed, but they don't have to wind up being the building blocks of another hoard, either.
Helping a hoarder now can help them secure a better, less stressful future. The time draws near to take action. The positive impact you make on a hoarder's life may be more than you realize.