Organizing Hoarders: Myths vs. Facts.
I have written before about organizing hoarders but this is a topic that needs to be mentioned more than once or twice.
Only a small percentage of the population
on our planet are truly hoarders.
Too often, the term hoarder is used loosely and inaccurately when the topic of organizing comes up.
I get calls from people inquiring about my services for their loved ones. And they are coming from a place of love. They truly want to help their parents, kids, cousins and so on get rid of all their excess stuff. They are genuinely concerned about their health, safety and wellbeing.
I have many clients in which life has gotten out of control due to circumstances beyond their control. An accident, illness, death of a loved one or two…does not make them a hoarder.
These organizing situations are temporary and easily fixed when the person(s) are ready.
And they usually call me.
If your loved one is not ready to have a professional organizer help them but would allow you to help with the understanding that you are not going to throw out all their stuff – here are 3 steps to help organizing hoarders to get their journey started.
- Get a garbage bag and walk through the house and pick up just the garbage. And, I mean literally garbage – not what you think is garbage because it’s soiled clothing, dirty dishes, etc.
- Go through each room – the cupboards, vanities, closets, etc. Look under the beds. If you find expired food, vitamins, make-up, etc. the rule of thumb is to toss it. If they won’t allow you to toss it pack it into a box and label it EXPIRED food, etc. Set it aside. When they realize that they have to let that go it’s ready.
- Use a recycling bag to collect all those items that can be recycled i.e. opened cans, empty plastic water bottles, pop cans or bottles, warped lids, etc.
- Again, look in every space.
- Use a second clear recycling bag for organizing all the paper items – empty cereal boxes, egg cartons, expired flyers, coupons, etc. Be careful with newspapers. If they have not read them although very outdated the person might not be willing to let it go so easily. So just the obvious items.
You are likely thinking this won’t help much. You will be amazed how much this helps the person who is letting go.
To them this will feel like a lot!
Organizing is a journey, not a destination. Check in with your loved one and ask how they feel about the process. You might be pleasantly surprised to hear how just doing these tasks has helped them. And usually once they start and begin to see the results they want to do more.
If they will let you or if you can be a bit sneaky grab a few before shots only for their viewing to show them what they have accomplished.