If you have not lived with a hoarder or befriended one then you probably do not really understand what hoarding is. People with hoarding tendencies get excessively attached to their belongings, regardless of whether they are useful to them or not. They keep buying and accumulating stuff even when there is nothing useful about the items. Hoarding cleanup is the last thing on their minds. The thought of discarding things or someone moving them greatly irritates them. The result of this is usually messy, congested, and unsafe living conditions that take a toll on their relationship with friends and family. You need a professional service for hoarding clean-up when things get to this point.
Living with or having a close friend with a hoarding disorder is frustrating, overwhelming, and stressful at the same time. Not only will it annoy you if you live with them, but it will also make you feel bad for them. You will be left wondering what you can do to help them change their perceived attachments to items and reclaim their lives. Fundamentally, you will be aiming at helping them change their behavior so that you can rebuild your relationship if it was affected. Attempts to make someone consider hoarding cleanup can be very frustrating when you keep failing. If this is the case, then you may be handling it the wrong way. This is what you should do:
Learn As Much As You Can About Hoarding Cleanup before Approaching Them
Hoarding tendencies are caused by a myriad of factors that may be known or unknown to the hoarder. The first thing about helping someone out of a situation is understanding the situation in the first place. Unless you fully understand what hoarding is and the motivating factor behind your friend’s actions, you may dismiss it as illogical. Remember, for you to talk someone into accepting to view things your way, you have to empathize and understand. That way, you can listen better to their reasons and make them see the importance of hoarding cleanup.
Be Tactical In Your Approach
Have you ever wondered why people sometimes fail to agree on very simple matters that need no effort at all? The reason is a simple, poor approach. If your friend views the clutter or junk they cling on to as “valuable possession”, then address it just the way they call it. If you try convincing them to consider a hoarding cleanup while calling their items “junk” or “trash”, your friend won’t consider your advice. In fact, he/she will dismiss you or get more defensive and block out your advice. It is better to understand why they cling on to their “valuable possession” first then find a way of de-linking them to the items.
Focus on the Dangers of Hoarding Rather Than Why It Is Wrong
Naturally, humans tend to get defensive whenever they feel attacked. Therefore, if you are trying to get your friend to embrace hoarding cleanup, listen more than giving advice. You should listen to their reasons for hoarding very keenly so that you know how to talk about the dangers of hoarding. When addressing the concerns you have about their safety and health, emphasize how you can jointly reduce risks. You should refrain from pointing out that hoarding is wrong and how their spaces are very messy. Your friend will get agitated and this may spark conflict between you two.
Encourage the Hoarder to Seek Help from a Professional
Whenever someone has an issue, they subconsciously know that they have a problem. However, they find it hard to admit that they need help. This often makes them adapt by living in denial. You could help your friend research for therapists or a peer support group where they could get help. Give them all the available options and offer your support through the process; even if it means accompanying them to sessions. This will make them want to get better, knowing that they have you and the professional’s help.
Offer a Helping Hand
While it may seem as easy as just taking on hoarding cleanup services and kicking the habit, hoarders do not have this luxury. People who hoard struggle to decide what to let go of and embrace the change they are really pushing for. You can participate in their hoarding cleanup to make it easier for them. A simple gesture, such as offering to help sort out and clean out your friend’s house will help them transition from hoarding, albeit slow. This is a better approach than just waking up one day without their consent and clearing out their clutter. You will make an enemy out of your friend!
Just like kicking any other habit, doing away with hoarding tendencies or the disorder is not easy. It is a long, progressive process that requires appreciation and support. You should initiate the process by setting attainable expectations and give them time to accomplish these expectations. This means that any small attempt they make at recovery is progress and you should recognize and appreciate it. You will have encouraged them to advance further and take more significant strides in getting better.