Did you know some three million people in the UK suffer from a hoarding problem?
The organisation, Help for Hoarders, reckons the condition affects 2-5 percent of the population so it is common. And it’s recognised as a disorder. When severe, hoarding becomes a functional disability and places a great burden on individuals and their families.
Jasmine Harman, the founder of Help for Hoarders, set the organisation up because of her experiences with her mum. She recalls feeling ashamed and isolated because of the mess and the clutter of her family home.
The site offers resources and self-help tips. Chronic hoarding is defined as when the compulsion to collect means that rooms in a house can’t be used for their intended purpose. The site suggests:
- You talk to someone about your problem as there are professionals who can help.
- Set yourself small goals, such as identifying one area to clean. It can be as small as a box or drawer. Then you should work on that area consistently—such as setting aside fifteen minutes a day to clean it.
- The organisation suggests you take only ten to 20 seconds to decide if you’ll keep something or not. Any longer and it is likely your attachment to the object will increase, making you reluctant to throw it out.
- Recognise your achievements by taking before and after photographs.
- Remember the bad feelings you get when you throw something out will not last. Help for Hoarders says you should record your feelings, rating them from one to ten, checking back every day the following week. The diary will show the emotions become more manageable after a time.
- It’s a wise idea to set rules, such as “I will get rid of 50 percent of my books”, or “I won’t keep newspapers/magazines that are more than a few months old.”
Hoarder clearance services
Just Clear runs a professional hoarder clearance service. The service is for anyone who wants help with getting their home back or in cases where the hoarder has died, and his or her family want to prepare the house for the probate estate clearance and valuation.
Brendan O’Shea, Just Clear’s founder and director, said: “We understand hoarding is a mental disorder and therefore needs sensitive handling. The job can seem overwhelming to the hoarder and professional services make light work of the task, freeing up the home once more.
“We don’t have the same emotional attachment to your belongings, which is why the job is much easier for professionals.”