Hoarding behavior is a growing issue with severe consequences, interfering with the individual’s emotional, physical, social, financial, and legal well-being. According to recent data, between 1.5 – 6% of the Canadian population has a hoarding problem. As many experts point out, this disorder is usually underdiagnosed and undertreated, making it imperative to raise awareness about how it affects individuals in their life and relationships. Taking the first step toward treatment can be daunting, and it’s not always easy to find a qualified professional to help. An experienced organizer with a wide range of organizational skills can play a key role in the treatment process.
What is hoarding behaviour?
A person with hoarding disorder compulsively saves items, generating dangerous clutter. It exhibits symptoms such as:
- Lasting problems with throwing out or giving away possessions;
- An intense need to keep these items and being upset by the thought of discarding them;
- Having items that fill, block, and clutter active living spaces to the point that they no longer can be used;
- Feeling distressed but helpless about the amount of stuff in their home;
- Avoiding hosting people and withdrawing from friends and family.
Considering this, hoarders face unique challenges and obstacles when it comes to organizing and decluttering their homes. The standard decluttering tips of one-in-one-out or getting rid of anything you haven’t used in a year won’t work with a hoarder. In this scenario, it is imperative to get professional help.
Can professional organizers really work with hoarders?
Yes. Professional organizers can help individuals who exhibit hoarding behavior in many ways, from decluttering to organizing the individual’s possessions. It is common for people with hoarding disorder to seek the services of a professional organizer if they view their problem as being primarily one of disorganization. However, in more extreme cases, the spouses and family members are the ones that seek these services. Either way, it’s essential to make sure that the organizer is familiar with this disorder, capable (both physically and emotionally) to deal with it, and that the person hiring the decluttering service has a legal right to do so. We must keep in mind that professional organizers can not dispose of someone’s property without their permission.
What are the main benefits of working with a professional organizer?
A professional organizer who deals with hoarding behaviors knows how to approach this type of project with empathy and patience. The specialist is there not only to help organize and create organizational routines and solutions but also to be supportive and provide an objective perspective. A certified professional knows how to provide a confidential and ethical service, helping individuals regain control of their homes and lives, one item at a time.
Getting professional help
Being a family member of a person with hoarding disorder can be exceptionally challenging and stressful. If you know of any individuals in your network who may benefit from the opportunity of getting help from a professional team, Hoarders Canada can be of great help. Fill out the application here and give your loved one a chance to regain control over their life.