The number of hoarders in America is unknown but it is estimated that approximately 1.2 million households are affected by it. The illness of hoarding was brought into the spotlight of American primetime in March 2010 on the TLC network show, “Hoarding Buried Alive”. In San Diego, as in other areas, the illness exists. Interestingly, one of the first episodes of the show focused on a woman living in Oceanside. She was helped by the attention that the show brought to her condition, and by the therapy and professional organizer that the show provided to her. At Clean Earth Restorations we help repair and restore homes where extreme hoarding has left damage, and we learn little by little how best to help the people and families that are affected by hoarding.
Hoarding is recognized as an illness in which (primarily) a person has a hard time getting rid of, and thus accumulates, items that appear to have little or no value. Their spaces become cluttered and their living and working spaces can no longer be used for what they were intended. There are a few hallmarks which define a hoarder compared to someone who is simply messy, or an avid collector:
- hoarders have an aversion to discarding anything (regardless of its lack of value) in case it might be useful one day
- they acquire more items than they can use
- they have a difficult time making decisions
- they have an avoidance to putting things in closets, drawers, and files
- they often show signs of avoidance, perfectionism, difficulty organizing tasks, and procrastination
The clutter that hoarders accumulate often presents a fire hazard, can be a home to rodents, insects, and mold, and has even been known to kill occupants by toppling over and crushing them or trapping them inside during a fire.
New treatments suggest that long term therapy and de-cluttering bit by bit have more successful outcomes than emptying the contents of a hoarder’s home all at once. Emptying it all at once is a great source of trauma to hoarders.
Nevertheless, in extreme cases, homes may need to be cleared quickly in order to address health and safety hazards. At Clean Earth Restorations we are available for free estimates and provide full-service repair and restoration when needed. Click the button below to request more information or to set up an appointment. We also provide information for family and friends who may need help addressing the situation: