Do you work with Hoarders?
Yes, I do work with clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies. I do not diagnose hoarding or any other mental or physical health conditions. Many people who contact me asking about working with hoarders are either self-diagnosed or a family member who has diagnosed their loved one. If you truly feel out of control and have concerns that you fit the criteria for a diagnosis as a hoarder, please seek medical advice in addition to contacting an organizer. Organizers working in collaboration with mental health can be very beneficial to the client.
Can you help my ____?
Yes, I can help your loved one, but they have to be on board. Before I agree to meet with anyone in person for organizing help, I always request to talk by phone. I need to talk with the client--the person who's treasures I will be sorting-- to be sure I am a good fit and it is not a hostile environment. Remember, just because their way of living is not agreeable to you does not mean they think they need help, or want help.
How quickly can you clean it up?
This is a tough question and I do not have a standard answer. The situation did not escalate to the current state over night and I can not, and will not clean it up over night. I firmly believe that in order to help the client process parting with their belongings, they need to be very hands on and make most of the decisions. I always want the client to be in charge (not their family or myself.) There is no typical timeline, and with any organizing client, it will be based on their needs.
How much will it cost?
Again, this depends greatly on the time that it takes and the need to bring in other service providers. If the client has family and friends who are willing and able to help move stuff out, haul it away, etc, then it can save the client some money. If it will only be the client and myself processing their keep, sell, toss/recycle, and donations then plan on it taking much longer. Some clients will feel safer as the process moves forward to invite others to help.
NO BLAME OR SHAME ZONE!
Family and friends who are invited by the client to help with the sessions or homework are urged to not engage in blaming or shaming talk or behavior. Clients who are in crisis are fragile and often are feeling some of those emotions already. It is a big step to reach out for help or to allow others to offer it. Encourage with positive talk and encouragement.
Clearing out the excess clutter is only the beginning. Clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies will need to learn some techniques for addressing their habits and spend time setting up systems to help them maintain their homes long term. Again, I really suggest working with a therapist. Consider finding someone who works with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT.) You can find local therapists by contacting your insurance or looking online. Psychology Today provides an online directory and you can specify what you are looking for.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you have about my work with clients. I am always happy to answer questions by phone or email!