Many people will have come to this page scared that they are hoarders.
They have been watching the TV programmes that have become so pervasive. They have seen articles in magazines with photos that look like their homes. Both the TV programmes and the articles diagnose hoarder households. Real hardcore hoarders are much rarer than people think.
Actually the quantities of clutter and stuff don't tell us very much. What really matters are the people. We have found that there are lots of reasons, some are detailed below, why someone's house can end up looking like a hoard. If you are here, if you want help, we can work with you.
Wade-Bennett Life-Clutter test
In many cases, overfull houses result from the owners going through a series of stressful situations. You may find it helpful to do the Wade-Bennett Life-Clutter test which can show how great the impact of difficult times can have on our homes.
How did you grow-up?We also see people who had a hoarder parent. The parent could neither teach them nor provide a good example of how to live with belongings. Because the children don’t learn how to order a house, they live in houses that look like hoards and are afraid that they too are hoarders. Often all these clients need is someone to show them 'How-to-do-it'.
Some people grow up in households where there is someone doing everything for them so they don’t learn how to do it for themselves.
How to organise a household is one of those life skills like boiling eggs, doing laundry, or opening a bank account that everyone needs. Sorting and putting things away are taught to reception age children. They generally enjoy it. Parents can encourage the same patterns at home and help their children to learn how and when to throw things away. Some of our clients involve their children in giving outgrown toys to charity. Others do car boot sales with their children where new toys are bought with the proceeds from old ones.
There are people who have hoarding inclinations and the first signs showed when they were very young: between the ages of 5 and 15. This is where support from parents and the establishment of good habits can make a huge difference to the rest of their lives.
It may be that you are still worried and think you are the only one who has a house full of mess and clutter and none of the explanations above apply to you. That's not true - it's just that is a secret that is kept behind closed doors!
There are many, many people in the same
situation who suffer alone, in private. Most are intelligent,
professional and well-educated people.
Cluttergone have attended and spoken at several conferences compulsive hoarding.
- The first National Conference on Compulsive Hoarding, held in Stafford by the NHS in October 2008
- First International Congress on Compulsive Hoarding 2010
You may also be interested in:
- Our decluttering diary, which tells the true story of Stella, one of our clients
- What actually happens during a session?
- When you know you need long-term help
- It's not me that needs to declutter, it's someone else!
- I am a support worker and want to help a hoarder
- Our prices