8 signs of when to ask for help for clutter and hoarders who live in a hoarder home.
What’s the difference between a cluttered house and a hoarder house?
A hoarder house typically has –
- Clutter on all floors, sometimes pathways from points A to B
- Junk on all surfaces including tables, counters, chairs, couches, etc.
- Piles on piles of stuff with an assortment of items
How does hoarding impact daily life and routines?
- Difficult to do basic tasks such as cooking and cleaning
- Limits social interaction such as inviting friends and family over
- Constant loss of time and stuff by having to search and look for items
- Spending more money on stuff the person already has causing duplicates and more clutter
Can the hoarder meet their basic needs?
A hoarder can have a low threshold for living standards. It’s important to be aware if the hoarder can still meet their basic needs in the home.
- Can they wash their hands and take a shower?
- Do they have access to laundry and warm water?
- Are they able to cook beyond a microwave?
- Where do they sleep? Is the bed or couch accessible?
How long have they been living this way?
- Has it been a year or more?
- Is it getting visibly worse each time you visit?
- Is it difficult for them to downsize and declutter?
If you answered yes to the above questions, I recommend asking the person(s) if they want help.
Is the house unsafe and unhealthy to live in?
- How high are the piles?
- Is there access to exit and entry doors?
- What contents are in the home? (There is usually a pattern.)
- Are there signs of mold, infestations, or asbestos?
- Are there pets, feces, or any hazardous materials?
If health and safety is in question then now is the time to help.
What kind of stuff is being collected and hoarded?
One of the key signs of hoarding is when the person(s) keep items of little to no monetary value:
- Pieces of paper
- Broken items
- Paper boxes
- Plastic bags
What are signs and symptoms of hoarding?
- Unable to get rid of items and declutter
- Inability to let go
- Anxiety about the potential future use of items
- No designated home or organizational structure for things
- Keeping distance between the home and friends, family, and social events
What causes hoarding?
People with hoarding disorder may or may not recognize that their habits and behaviors are negative. It’s important to acknowledge that the onset of hoarding usually starts from a stressful or traumatic event.
The exact cause of hoarding is unknown but it can be associated with ADHD and OCD.
Do you know someone who is hoarder and needs help?
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