Trash or Treasure?

trash treasure clean upThey say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but how can you tell the difference between this “trash” and “treasure?” Each item is not going to have a label on it, identifying it as junk or something of value, so for some items it can be a little more difficult to distinguish whether it should stay or go.

When going through belongings in an attempt to purge yourself of junk, make the process more effective by asking these questions:

  • When was the last time I used this item? Is this an item I use regularly?
    Has it been a week, a month, or a few years? Is it a seasonal item or one for regular use? If the item has been sitting collecting dust for a period of time, you most likely will not need it. If you have forgotten about the item for a while until you miraculously stumbled across it again, it may be time to part with it. Generally, it is a good time to part with belongings if it has been over a year since you’ve last used them (or even remembered their existence).
  • Do I have this item due to obligation or expectation?
    Was the belonging a gift from someone or a trend you felt obligated to follow? If you do not truly enjoy the item or have use for it, it is okay to trash or donate it (depending on its condition). Do not try to hold onto something you do not want just because it was a gift. It is your home and space, so keep what you want and need, not what others expect for you.
  • Am I saving this item “just in case?”
    Holding onto a metal detector in case you ever feel the desire to start treasure hunting? Have a zombie fighting kit in case the zombie apocalypse is unleashed? Sit down and think for a minute: Is this really necessary? Living life constantly thinking “if” and “just in case” will only limit you, and in the case of physical belongings, limit household space.
  • Are there duplicates?
    There is no need to keep multiples of the same items. If you have one blender do not keep the second because the chances of making two smoothies at the same time is pretty slim. Re-gift, donate, trash – it’s time to part with that duplicate item.
  • Is there another item with a similar function?
    Though not a duplicate of the same item, having an item with the same function is also unnecessary.
  • Am I keeping a broken item with the intention of someday fixing it?
    “Eventually,” “someday,” and “one of these days” sound very familiar? If the excuses keep piling up and that broken item still remains broken, it may be time to part with the item. Consider if it is worth fixing, if someone else can easily fix it, or if it is cheaper and easier to just buy a replacement.
  • Is this item worth the storage space?
    Each item takes up space within a property. No matter how small, materials will add up, decreasing available storage space. Consider if the item is worth taking up space within the home, and if the space could be used for something better.

Going through items can be a long, tedious process, especially if the residence contains a large collection of belongings. If time is not available or the project is too overwhelming to work on alone, professional help is available to make the process easier. Junk haulers will merely take the trash out instead of sorting and separating belongings. Address Our Mess is a specialty cleaning company that is able to help sort and organize the items with you, separating the trash from the treasure.

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Signs of a Hoarder

Hoarding Signs To Watch Out For

Hoarding SignsHoarding is not just an occurrence on a television show, but rather a more common condition than many people realize. A hoarding condition is not solely a disorder that leaves a home in disarray. Health hazards, social tension, and physical limitations can accompany the clutter of hoarding, among other issues. Some people who are hoarding may be unaware of what they are doing, or even in denial. Family members and friends may suspect a hoarding condition is the cause. There are signs to be on the lookout to determine if a hoarding condition is prevalent so the issue can be immediately addressed in order to minimize potential damages:

  • It is normal for homes to have a bit of clutter, but when clutter is making parts of the home unusable, there is a bigger issue at hand. Clutter should not impede upon home functionality.
  • De-cluttering is a terrifying thought because it would be classified as a sizable job that would take more than just a couple hours to complete.
  • Parting with possessions is difficult. If an attempt is made to physically remove items from the home, strong resistance and combative behavior may be encountered. An attachment to these items, no matter how valueless they seem, has developed, so the individual will not easily concede to giving up the items.
  • Items lack value. Someone who is hoarding may have accumulated items that lack value to the average person. Some of these items may include old newspapers, expired food items, duplicate items, various broken items, and any other item that is perceived to possibly be of some use for a hypothetical situation or of no use at all.
  • Possessions keep accumulating. There may be an issue of compulsive shopping or just the refusal to throw items away that results in the increase of item. This may also result in financial problems due to the excess spending.
  • There is nowhere to store belongings out of sight. The belongings have reached massive proportions that make it impossible to keep everything in closets, cabinets, and organizers. As a result, items are scattered across various surfaces.
  • The individual may be undergoing a medley of emotions. Anger may accompany their defensive behavior if someone attempts to touch items or suggests throwing things out. Aside from combative behavior, a hoarding individual may also experience anxiety or other mental illnesses, such as depression.
  • Social isolation may result due to embarrassment. Family tension may have increased or there may be embarrassment of other people viewing and judging the living conditions, so in order to eliminate the additional stress, the person who is hoarding may not permit others in his/her home. Additionally, relationships may deteriorate because people may refuse to visit as well.
  • Unsanitary living conditions are prevalent. Perishable food items, waste (i.e. feces, urine, etc.), and other biohazards can produce unsanitary living spaces. Bacteria, illnesses, insects and vermin, and other health risks often accompany these conditions.

There are various levels of hoarding. The living conditions can vary from minor disruptive clutter to extreme clutter that puts health and safety at risk. There are dangers that can accompany hoarding clutter, which is why it is important to seek help for a hoarding condition. The physical cleanup process can be accomplished by professional specialty cleanup services if the situation is too difficult to handle without assistance. Hoarding is a mental condition so it is imperative to seek help from a mental health professional in order to confront the main problem and minimize the chance of the situation reverting back to unlivable hoarding conditions. Knowing what signs to be on the lookout for will make it possible to properly help hoarding individuals in their time of need.

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Helping Hoarders Recover

Recovery Of Hoarders Depends On The Help From Around

When a hoarder begins seeking help to solve their affliction, then they are ready for the road to recovery. It is important that these individuals seek professional help on the way to recovery in order stabilize their psychological disorder. Once the hoarder has sought to control their addiction of collecting and cluttering, a professional cleaning of the property can be done. Why is it advisable to seek professional psychological help first and foremost?

Hoarder RecoverySeeking psychological help is important for the hoarder. Hoarders tend to have a higher tendency to hoard particular items. A way of stopping this is to find the cause behind hoarding. Often hoarders have a tendency to gather a particular type of item, which may hold personal significance to them. The hoarder will want to protect these meaningful objects. When trying to remove these trigger items from the home, it is important to note that the hoarder might lash out to protect those objects. What might cause the hoarder to act this way?

The items that the hoarder collects or gathers could have personal significance. A traumatic event in their life may have led to their hoarding behavior. An example of such trauma could be the unexpected death of a loved one or a severe injury that makes the hoarder feel helpless and cause them no longer do certain tasks. Another possible causation of hoarding is a financial collapse.

Hoarding behavior can occur in a person who had a significant financial catastrophe that affected their life. Survival instinct may have developed due to the hoarder’s concern that he/she might return to poverty or become bankrupt later on. The hoarder may try to hold onto everything in their property due to this fear. Once a hoarder has begun to seek professional help, the mess caused by their hoarding habits and life catastrophes can be cleaned up.

The hoarder will view the removal of the items in the same sense of a child’s favorite toy being taken away; therefore, it is important to approach the situation cautiously. Helping the hoarder remove the items from the home is an important part of the therapeutic process. Without the removal of the items there still might be a small chance the person may return to hoarding tendencies and make the home unlivable again.

A professional clutter cleanup company can come to help. With expert case managers and experienced crews, Address Our Mess can help with the hoarders’ healing process. Expert staff can help remove the clutter from the property and deep clean it in its entirety to give a fresh start to the former hoarder.

 

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Are Cleanouts Alone Effective? Utilizing Psychological Treatment for Hoarding

There may be clutter throughout the residence, blocking entrances and maybe even pathways, posing as threatening tripping hazards, and quite simply just causing chaos. The simple solution seems to be just get rid of everything, right? Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. Sometimes clutter situations may actually be much more involved. In the case of many hoarding situations, a clean out may not be as effective as perceived, so seeking psychological treatment can help provide a more effective clean out.

psychological helpA hoarding clean out will be able to restore property conditions. It will eliminate excess clutter and provide a safe, sanitary environment. The hoarding behavior, however, may not be directly addressed. Though the home may be clean, the question may become: how long will it last? Hoarding behavior involves not only struggling to identify valuable items from invaluable items, but it also leads to collecting behavior resulting in an over-accumulation of possessions.

The behavior can be triggered by a mental condition, such as depression, OCD, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, etc. Sometimes a traumatic experience such as a death in the family can trigger or intensify hoarding habits. In addition to addressing the physical clutter involved in hoarding, it is important to seek help for the psychological aspects as well. Mental health professionals can help.

Therapists who specialize in hoarding behavior can help make it easier to overcome hoarding. Psychotherapy is an effective form of treatment. Otherwise known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy is a principal form of treatment, especially cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The licensed therapist will be able to work with the hoarder to explore why they feel compelled to hoard and help the individual to improve decision-making and organizing skills.
Each therapist has their own method and approach to clients and hoarding behavior. Psychological treatment combined with clutter cleanup efforts can make it possible to overcome hoarding. A qualified therapist can not only help the hoarder but he/she can also help family and friends impacted by the hoarding situation. Find a local hoarding therapist to help overcome hoarding tendencies, and contact Address Our Mess to assist with the hoarding cleanup.

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Hoarding Cleanup New Jersey

New Jersey Hoarders Cleaning

The hoarding condition impacts roughly 2-5% of the New Jersey population. Those who suffer from this condition generally have difficulty parting with belongings, even those of little to no value to the average person. Hoarding behavior can have detrimental consequences, resulting in physical, psychological, social, financial, and/or emotional impacts. Anyone can suffer from the hoarding condition, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, social class, or location. With New Jersey’s population reaching nearly 9 million people, hoarding and clutter problems can be found throughout the state, so if you or someone you know is dealing with hoarding, know that you are not alone and help is available.
new jersey hoardingIt is imperative to find the proper relief to help alleviate hoarding conditions due to the potential dangers and impacts of hoarding behavior and excessive clutter. Address Our Mess is able to help residents of the state of New Jersey address their clutter. If a residence has developed excessively cluttered conditions and/or requires a heavy duty cleaning (e.g. gross filth cleanup, junk removal, etc.), Address Our Mess is able to provide proficient cleaning services to help.

What makes Address Our Mess stand out?
• A qualified case manager is able to work directly with the client in order to provide the most efficient services.
• We provide judgement-free, compassionate services. It is often difficult to ask for help, and we applaud those who seek help for their situation. We understand that the hoarding condition requires patience, understanding, and compassion, not judgement and ill-feelings.
• We respect the privacy of our clients. Trained and experienced crews arrive in unmarked vehicles to preserve the privacy of our clients. Our staff is uniformed so the client may identify them, but onlookers will not be able to distinguish the crew.
• We work with you to sort and organize. It may be difficult to part with items, but we’re here to help you through it without forcing you to give up everything you own.
• Dumpsters and cube trucks are available to help dispose of unwanted items.

If you or someone you know is undergoing a clutter or hoarding situation, help is available. New Jersey residents do not need to fear clutter chaos. Address Our Mess is helping New Jersey residents sort, organize, declutter, clean, and restore their properties.


Why Use a Professional Clean Up Service?

Professional Clean Up Company

Professional Clean UpDeciding to tackle a hoarding clutter situation can be a challenging feat. If you are a hoarder or want to help a loved one with hoarding tendencies, it is important to be aware of what to expect. In order to efficiently clean up clutter it is necessary to go through the belongings and sort them, deciding what to discard and what to keep. When attempting to start this sorting process solo, it can be difficult to truly evaluate the possessions and come to appropriate decisions. Let a professional clean up service help you. Here’s why you should look into hiring a professional:

  • A hoarding cleanup company is trained to handle the situation. The staff is professional, compassionate and effective when working with the hoarder, family, and the situation at hand.
  • Companies, such as Address Our Mess, specialize in sorting, organizing, discarding and cleaning up the clutter. They will work with you to decide what needs to be discarded, what can be donated, and what is acceptable to keep.
  • A professional company is quick and efficient. Attempting to work without help can take a while and there can be many setbacks along the way, of which you may be ill prepared to handle alone.
  • Hoarding is a mental condition that needs to be addressed with patience. A professional will not only have patience but will also be equipped to explain and assist with the process.
  • Professionals also know how to handle the situation in a safe manner. A house of a hoarder could, in some instances, have hazards such as waste, sharp objects, etc. The professional clean up service will know how to treat the circumstance and discard the items without exposing people to potentially threatening situations.
  • It’s good to have support. A professional hoarding cleanup service is here to help and is understanding about the conditions.

If a hoarder is open to the idea of cleaning their clutter, do the research. It is helpful to be aware of the hoarding condition and how to help. Address Our Mess is a professional hoarders’ cleaning service that provides a nonjudgmental, compassionate, and efficient service. Address Our Mess will work with you to sort, organize, and clean up your clutter. Your privacy is vital, and Address Our Mess is committed to your confidentiality rights. If you or someone you love is seeking help for a hoarding cleanup job, Address Our Mess is at your service.

 


Hoarding Support

Support GroupsThe hoarding condition, though not often discussed, is a pretty common occurrence. About one in 20 people have a hoarding disorder. Hoarding can be a symptom of another condition such as depression or OCD to name a couple, or it can be a result of a traumatic experience, such as the death of a loved one. There is no generic hoarding situation, as each hoarding situation differs with each individual person. The individual can be hoarding a collection of items, miscellaneous objects, paper, animals, even trash and other items. Though the hoarder may be embarrassed of their living conditions, it is important for them to know that they are not alone, and there are external resources that can be utilized to help.

The online world makes many aspects more accessible: shopping, learning, socializing and much more. Online sources can be used to find help as well. Search engines are a great place to start when beginning the help process. Search engines such as Google and Bing can be used to educate oneself, to research various organizations, and to connect with people. There are online support groups for various groups of people, and hoarding support groups are no exception.

  • Yahoo H-C (Compulsive Hoarding Community): for individuals with OCD and compulsive hoarding tendencies
  • Yahoo Messiness and Hoarding: self-help online forum for people with hoarding tendencies; over 2000 members
  • Hoarding.supportgroups.com: people 13+ years of age are able to utilize this forum to have discussions with people undergoing similar situations; over 1800 membersHelping Hands
  • International OCD Foundation: website whose mission is to help individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders; has a hoarding page and a help search bar to find therapists, clinics & programs, support groups, and organizations
  • Children of Hoarders: an informative website that has a support group for adult children of hoarders and their spouses

Other helpful sites about hoarding and related conditions:

  • Compulsive-hoarding.org: a site focusing on compulsive hoarding; provides facts, research, recommended books, and support information
  • Food for the Brain: focuses on “optimum nutrition for the mind” and addresses mental health illnesses such as ADHD, Bipolar disorder, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Depression, etc.
  • How Caregivers Can Take Better Care of Themselves: a blog providing tips to help maintain the health and well-being of a caregiver

Try not to live a life isolated from society. If you feel your immediate community will not understand your situation, seek external alliances to talk about hoarding and even address the hoarding clutter. Human beings are naturally social creatures and many people exist who want to help others. Seek and you shall find, and never be afraid to ask for help.


Fear, Embarrassment, and Clutter

Clutter Embarrassment and Fear

Clutter Embarrassment Some home conditions may be embarrassing to reveal to outsiders. When a residence reaches extreme proportions of clutter and possibly unsanitary conditions, the home owner may try to keep their habitat, and their hoarding habit, a secret from the world, knowing that their behavior is not “normal.” The fear and clutter embarrassment may lead to the isolation of an individual with hoarding behavior, leaving them unable to address their cluttered state of being.

Hoarding behavior can turn a household into a cramped dwelling full of miscellaneous objects and obstacles. If mounds of items envelope every surface and corner, it can be difficult for one person to function in the space, let alone multiple people. In addition to limited mobility, there is also the general off-putting features that may be present in the home, such as unsightly messes and overwhelming scents that may arise. These conditions may lead to judgmental thoughts and behavior from visitors, and upsetting interventions may even occur.

If a hoarding individual suspects or even experiences such disapproving reactions, he/she may begin to close him/herself off due to the shame and embarrassment. This may result in their isolation, as even friends and family become no longer welcomed in their residence. Such negative feelings combined with isolation will only contribute to the problem rather than the solution. The individual may refuse to seek help because they fear revealing their habits and home to others will only result in judgment and mockery.

Friends and family who know of someone with hoarding behavior need to be patient and understanding with the individual. It is important not to approach them angrily or in a condescending manner because such an approach will only hurt and offend them. Do your homework and research hoarding behavior as well as how to (and how not to) approach a hoarding situation.

For those who are feeling shame and humiliation due to hoarding habits and household conditions, help is available. Do not fear judgment and harsh reactions. You are not alone. The hoarding condition is actually very prevalent, affecting roughly 5% of the world population. Mental healthcare professionals are trained to assist with hoarding situations, and specialty hoarding clean up professionals, like Address Our Mess, provide compassionate, judgment free services to help alleviate the clutter concern. Don’t let the embarrassment of hoarding hold you back.


Top 10 Ways of Convincing a Hoarder to Clean Up

Convincing A HoarderAt times, some hoarding individuals can be difficult to work with. One of the main problems encountered within a hoarding situation is the hoarder’s inability to part with items in their property. When a family member or loved one is hoarding, it is important to understand how difficult it may be for them. This helpful list can assist you in convincing them that the cleanup is necessary for their health:

  1. Go through their belongings with them, but be sure they give you permission first. Inquire why they keep particular items over others. If there are duplicate possessions, you may want to continue to dig further to see what their compulsion is about collecting them.
  2. Discuss the potential dangers of the situation, such as biological issues. There may be rotting food in areas that needs to be cleaned up immediately. If the household contains animals, waste may build up over time due to animals defecating and not being cleaned up right away.
  3. Explain to the individual that he/she may be placing his/herself and others in physical danger. There is the potential risk that items can collapse and severely injure someone.
  4. Emphasize the fact that they may be hurting others rather than just themselves. What many hoarders do not realize is that they are damaging relationships with loved ones and possibly even harming the health of these friends/family if those people are directly involved.
  5. If a hoarder has children, you should implore them to clean up their clutter for the sake of their kids. They may not realize that child services may get involved and take their children away because of the unsafe living environment.
  6. On another side of the spectrum, adult protective services may become involved if the hoarding situation involves a senior citizen. Senior citizens may be declared mentally unfit and can potentially be left homeless.
  7. Explain to the hoarder that they risk losing their home to condemnation in many towns. There are laws that explain what is necessary to maintain a presentable appearance.
  8. Give them periodicals that mention the benefits of cleaning up a property. It can be beneficial to their mental conscience.
  9. When attempting to work with them, you should explain the necessity of the cleanup as well as why you want to help. Also, work with them to go over each item that they want to remove from their property.
  10. Let them know that you are trying to assist them with cleaning up their homes because you care.

Address Our Mess is here to assist individuals who are looking to help hoarders get their lives back in order. Our trained staff is professional and compassionate in nature and able to return the home to a safe and habitable environment. Call us for more information and pricing on our cleanup services.

 


Top Seven Things Not to do with a Hoarder

Top Seven do nots with HoardersTalking to a family member or a friend about their compulsive hoarding situation, must be done carefully. Hoarders are highly defensive of the items that they have gathered, and a person that is trying to help must be careful when assessing the situation. Listed below is helpful advice on what not to do when working to help a family member or friend who is a hoarder.

  1. Touching Items Without Permission: Hoarders have an unnatural attachment to the things that they have gathered. If a person tries to move the possessions without the hoarder’s consent, the hoarder can become emotionally upset or angry. This can potentially result in the helpful individual’s expulsion from the home.
  2. Using Derogatory Language: The use of judgmental language can cause harm. Not only can it upset the hoarder, but cause them to withdraw further from the outside world. Avoid saying that the hoarder’s items are “junk, garbage or trash.” Those words are highly offensive to the hoarder, because of their emotional attachment towards the items.
  3. Argue with the Hoarder: Arguing with the hoarder can make the situation worse. Hoarders in many cases suffer from high anxiety and arguing raises anxiety levels. Moreover, these items give the hoarder a feeling of security and safety, which lowers their anxiety . Arguing with the hoarder can only raise the hoarder’s stress levels and make helping them more difficult to help.
  4. Facial Expressions: Facial expressions can speak louder than words. Showing signs of grief, dismay, or anger can convey judgment on the hoarder. Hoarders’ can read a person’s judgmental face, therefore the hoarder can still feel the shame.
  5. Asking Why? Asking a person why do they hoard is not an advisable approach to handling a hoarder. Hoarders do not want to explain why they are gathering items. In many instances, hoarding is brought on by a traumatic event. They prefer not to relive that event or be reminded of what occurred.
  6. Removing Items without Their Consent: Removing a hoarder’s items without their permission,  can be disastrous. The hoarder will quickly return to their cluttered lifestyle by gathering new items and shutting the helper out of their life.
  7. Criminalizing Their Actions: The hoarder does not have control over their actions. A person trying to help should not berate the hoarder by declaring them criminals for their behavior. This can only result in exacerbating the hoarding situation because it will lead to the hoarder further withdrawing from society.

Hoarding is a sensitive issue for all parties that are involved. If you are a person who is looking to help, please take this advice into consideration. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the hoarding situation, please seek out help. There are professionals out there that range from therapists to a specialized hoarding cleanup service that can help solve the hoarder’s severe clutter problems.