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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Defining and Identifying Hoarding

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

A home that had a fire that was filled with lots of belongings.

Hoarding is a mental illness that causes individuals to not have the willpower to discard items. These items are perceived as unique and may be needed in the future. The perception of each item as unique leads to no items being discarded even if they are useless. An excessive accumulation of items can occur and can cause a great deal of damage both to the home and to the individuals that live in it. Depending on the severity hoarding can impact your life and even affect your daily functioning. Being able to diagnose a hoarder is important in case someone close to you happens to have a hoarding disorder. 

Hoarding can be severe or mild, but no matter the case it is important to realize if either you or someone close to you is a hoarder. The easiest way of diagnosing someone is by seeing if they fit the symptoms of an individual who hoards. The symptoms include, but are not limited to…

  • Keeping items when there is no space to put them.
  • Difficulty throwing out or getting rid of items. Despite having little value.
  • Getting upset when someone suggests throwing things away.
  • Acquiring so many things that rooms in your home become unlivable.
  • Having the characteristics of indecisiveness, perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, and problems with planning and organizing.

Hoarding often begins to surface in an individual at a young age where they have gradual build up of clutter and difficult getting rid of objects. At this point in life it is easiest to treat the disorder. If not treated symptoms become more severe and is harder to treat.

If you or someone close to you has a hoarding disorder it is important to help them in the correct way. Always focus more on the individual and less on their piles of clutter. Be there for the individual even while they are being stubborn and celebrate the little accomplishments such as if they discard anything even if it's not a lot. Allow the individual to have control in their own house and do not declutter their house for them or without their permission. You can also always encourage them to seek help from professionals; however, do not force it upon them.

Our crews at SERVPRO of South & East Stark County have helped many hoarding families at 330-823-4088.

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