Many of us still get bulk loads of coupons, supermarket specials for the week, and reams of real estate news in our mail boxes, deemed by many as junk mail! Why is it that some people find it difficult to get rid of old newspapers or stacks of junk mail and love hoarding them? Some hoard this kind of stuff for years and it now forms stacks from floor to ceiling in their homes. This makes it hard to walk from one room to another, can create a fire hazard and possibly a perfect trip and fall accident for the hoarder. Without being too dramatic, it is a perfect trap for a hoarder’s death!
Scientists have studied the behavior of hoarders and believe that they have a unique pattern of brain activity when faced with making decisions about whether to throw something away. It is also seen as a symptom subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), where the brain is unable to de-clutter. For some of us that cannot relate to this, it might seem odd, but this is very real for 2% to 5% of the U.S. population.
Decision making for hoarders is a tall order, especially because of the value they place on each and every possession. For the most part, hoarders assign too much value on their possessions, creating anxiety when discarding. Some hoard for years; their homes are filled with “stuff” that is stacked, even covering windows and creating a very unhealthy environment.
We have been writing about empathy (stepping into their minds) for hoarders in previous blogs. Knowing that this is a mental disease, the decision to encourage them to de-clutter their home versus selling and moving on is worth reviewing. Should we help them change and teach them better living habits or get them out and start afresh?
Considering hoarders are in their own world for years, living in a perceived normal environment to them, convincing them to de-clutter would be somewhat of a challenge. Think of it this way … you are a clean freak and someone asks you to just live in dirt, filth and clutter, would you? Just like any other mental disease, if the patient admits to the disease, they may simply agree, but it will most likely be a battle for hoarders to accept change.
To de-clutter a home that is pretty much filled with “stuff,” would mean taking every square foot of “stuff” and sorting out what’s worth keeping. If you are seriously considering this, you might be up for a very frustrating and also a stressful time with the person who sees everything as high value and extremely useful, and may see you as invading their privacy. Remember, hoarders are not stupid people; some are doctors, attorneys and professors. They know what they feel and what they want. At the end of it all, de-cluttering may be a lose-lose situation for the person wanting to help and the hoarder. Could there be another option?
Absolutely! Sell the house as is. Most people cannot imagine anyone coming and buying a home hoarded from floor to ceiling but we do. HoarderHomes.com has a real passion to help communities and families when it comes to hoarders. We firmly believe they need help to get out of a situation peacefully, with as little stress as possible. A fresh start is what they need in a new home, perhaps with therapy and medical supervision until they are settled. HoarderHomes.com is able to provide a cash-based offer and, if accepted, the sale is closed in under 10 days. The hoarder and his/her family can simply close the chapter and move on to better times.
So, if you have a family member, a friend or neighbor, who suffers from hoarding, encourage them to get help. At the end of the day, they are living in a very unsafe, unhygienic environment and need to get to a better, safer place. We don’t judge, we care. We will come in discreetly and make the transaction painless. No one has to lift a finger to clean, de-clutter or worry about how to take it from the day it is sold. If you do need more information on our mission to help hoarders by buying their homes, call us at 562.400.2953