Anyone who has never met a hoarder usually asks this question. What makes people hoard? From my experience dealing with hoarders I have been able to narrow down reasons people hoard. By far the most common reason to hoard has been the experience of a traumatic event. These people have gone through something very traumatic in their lives and they begin to hoard to fill the void of the loss they experienced. There really isn’t a lot of help for hoarders. There are therapists who are willing to counsel hoarders, however there are not many because of the low “cure rate”. It can be frustrating for friends and family to deal with hoarders when they are unwilling or unable to help themselves.
Another reason to hoard is the fear of losing everything. These individuals were typically referred to as “great depression babies”. We are seeing this reason to hoard by many more people who never lived in the era. These individuals may have lost their homes and jobs in the economy. They may have lost their children for some reason and buy and keep stuff to fill that void. They feel that if they find something on the side of the road, or something is given to them that is broken they can perhaps fix it and sell it at a profit. They feel that very few things are actually garbage and most things can be utilized. These individuals are hard to deal with. They are against throwing things away and its difficult for our crews to convince them that the 10 year old vacuum that doesn’t work will probably never get fixed and if it does no one will want it because of its age. The benefit must out weight the cost when deciding to keep items.
Spaulding Decon offers many services, but hoarding is among my favorite. I love helping these people move beyond their depression. I love giving them a new lease on life. I love helping them see that they are not controlled by their surrounding, but they have control over their surroundings. Your life is what you make it. You can choose to be pinned down by the tragedy that you faced or you can pick yourself up, dust your self off and drive on. Hoarders are generally above average intelligent people. I have met some brilliant hoarders in my dealings. I have learned a lot from them and I hope they have learned from me as well. It gives me great satisfaction to help these people and start over again.
Another common question I get is, “What’s the difference between a packrat and a hoarder”. My answer is always the same. When the volume of “stuff” impedes the functionality of the home, you are a hoarder. If you can’t shower anymore because you bought stuff at the flea market and are storing it in the shower, or if you can’t cook anymore because all your newspapers and magazine are covering the stove and counter you are a hoarder. Hoarders try to tell themselves that they aren’t living like A&E’s show “HOARDERS”. They aren’t dirty and the stuff isn’t posing a problem. We deal with a lot of shopaholics. Of course most of the stuff they hoard is very nice, new stuff with some still in packages. That doesn’t mean they are not a hoarder. It just means that they are choosing to hoard clothes, purses, and whatever else HSN and QVC carry. In situations like these we are able to donate thousands of items that are in great conditions to shelters and other charities. It gives me great pleasure to donate and recycle as much as possible from these homes.
If you are a hoarder and are uncomfortable with strange people coming to your house and looking at your stuff I understand completely. I would feel uncomfortable too. We have listed many therapists all over the State of Florida on our website. Please call one and see if you can get some help. Feel free to call the office anytime 866-99-DECON and inquire how the service works and what we can do to help you and make you more comfortable. I am happy to share all my resources with you and move toward a solution for you and your home.