How to help your loved one who hoards

Hey Collectors! When we work with clients, many times we also work with their families, whether it is a spouse, child or parent. When someone you love hoards, it can be incredibly frustrating. You love the person but you also might be going a bit insane trying to help them clear their clutter.

It doesn’t have to be a family member; it could be someone you are dating, a friend or a neighbor. You are most likely concerned about their safety and what you can do to help them. I know you are coming from a place of concern and you want them to be healthy and happy.

home of a hoarder

Here are five tips to on how you can help someone you love that is a hoarder:

  1. Be non-judgmental. Instead of verbally attacking or ridiculing the person, try and understand what they are going through. Are they battling depression? Physically incapable? Try and understand why they are having a hard time.

  2. Suggest therapy. A lot of the reasons why people hoard and hang onto things are because they have been through something traumatic. When they are able to release the trauma and emotions, it will be easier to let the physical clutter go.

  3. Hire a professional organizer. By hiring a professional organizer, you have a non-objective party. Your loved one feels like they have a fair chance to explain their side and express their concerns.

  4. Offer to help. If your friend is disabled or elderly, perhaps they need help picking up garbage and taking out the trash or help with laundry. Try and find some simple tasks that you can do to help on a regular basis.

  5. Listen. Perhaps you are only hearing a defensive response to your judgmental calm. By listening to why this person feels the way they do and why they are in the place they are, will help you better serve them. A lot of times we plan what to say next, or talk over someone because we are frustrated. Try and listen.

Rachel Seavey Owner of Collector Care Professional Organizers

I also wanted to include five things NOT to do to your hoarder. If you do any of these things, most likely they will continue to hoard, and possibly shut you out of their life.

  1. Judge. You might think your friend is gross, out of their mind, etc. You don’t have to share that because it isn’t helpful. They are already going through a hard time. Tough love does not help a hoarder.

  2. Arranging a clean up while they are away. Unfortunately, I hear this story all of the time. This only makes the person resentful, angry and more likely to hoard more to replace what you tossed and maybe a bit for spite. A client shared that being cleaned out while she was in the hospital was one of the worst things she ever felt. She compared it to being raped in college and felt absolutely violated.

  3. Throwing away stuff when they aren’t looking. Sure, it’s tempting, but it doesn’t stop their behavior and doesn’t really help. If and when they catch you, you might not be allowed back in.

  4. Call a professional organizer or clean up on their behalf. I know you would like to tell me to go on over to your mother’s house and clean it. I do virtual coaching and advising, but will not, and hopefully no other trained professional will, work with someone who hasn’t personally invited me over. You have to get your loved one on the same page and can’t just arrange help for them. If you do, it makes it awkward for everyone involved.

  5. Call the police. Unless your family or friend is in immediate harm or danger, always allow them to clean out before enforcement is involved. A lot of the times they will be bombarded with fees and fines, and you could force them into bankruptcy.

Is someone you love a hoarder? Have you tried to help but haven’t been able to make any progress? Would you like to know how you could help them once their clutter has been removed? Collector Care can help you work together as a team and reduce your stress.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you!

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Depression and Clutter – Tips on tackling both!

Hey Collectors! With the holidays coming up, many people find themselves depressed. Clutter can also cause depression.

Which came first? If you weren’t depressed before clutter, you more than likely feel down about your surroundings now. Depression might be one of the reasons you have clutter. By identifying why you clutter, you can brainstorm ideas to help you more easily declutter.

People tend to suppress depression through overeating or over shopping, doing drugs or excessive drinking. It’s easier to be distracted and not deal with pain, grief, embarrassment, and shame.

depression and clutter

If you are open to my suggestions, here are five tips I believe can help your depression and clutter. Tackling your depression will lead to more clarity about the clutter in your home.

1. Seek professional help. Find out what’s best for you through your health care plan. Find out costs and out of pocket expenses. Ask friends for recommendations; do research, check out reviews on Yelp. You could see a psychiatrist or a therapist, or both. Both are trained to help with depression and can offer options such as medication or cognitive behavior therapy. There are several ways to help your depression and a licensed medical professional will help you decide what is best for you.

2. Prayer and meditation. Depending on your religious or spiritual beliefs, reach out to the powers around you to help you.

3. Share some of your pain with a trusted friend or family member. We tend to clutter our hearts with overflowing shame. Letting go of a lot of that will help you feel lighter emotionally.

4. Write in a journal or keep a diary. We tend to clutter our hearts and mind with overflowing emotional pain. By letting go of some of those negative emotions, you allow your heart and your mind more room for love and tenderness. You don’t have to reread your journal or keep it. You may choose to burn it and release all of the negative energy and emotions. The hope is this will help you declutter your heart and your mind.

5. Be good to yourself. Stop punishing yourself! Take a shower. Let the water run through your hair, gently wash your face, brush your teeth, eat healthy, and get exercise.

How would you take care of a dear friend or family member that was in pain? Take a moment to think about a person and how you would take care of them if they were in your position. Knowing you my dear collectors, you would be right by their side, nursing them back to health and giving the shirt off your back. People do much more for others they care about than they do for themselves. It’s time to treat yourself like you treat others.

I hope you feel better soon, Collectors, if you have been feeling depressed and that these five tips helped you.

Don’t forget to check out all Hoardganize episodes and see what other topics I have been exploring on Scratching the Surface:

Does your clutter make you depressed? Have you become depressed because of your clutter? Are you overwhelmed and keep trying unsuccessfully to get started? Collector Care can help! We are compassionate and non-judgmental and can get you organized, help with hoarding or clearing clutter in your home or business.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you need a little support or a whole team.

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Black Friday BOGO Essential Oil Sale! Aromatherapy for clutter!


Hey Collectors!

Have you ever used essential oils? Tried aromatherapy? I am a huge fan and use with my clients all the time.

This Black Friday – ALL of my custom blend aromatherapy products will be BUY ONE GET ONE FREE! Check out our three essential oil blends here:

aromatherapy and organizing

Why would you want to use aromatherapy? There are numerous benefits, including:

* reduce anxiety

* ease depression

* boost energy levels

* speed up the healing process

* eliminate headaches

* boost cognitive performance

* induce sleep

* strengthen the immune system

* reduce pain * improve digestion and

* increase circulation. 1

Learn more about the benefits from essential oils in my blog post:

Aromatherapy + Organizing

Would you like for us to create a custom blend for you? Are you curious how to use essential oils in cleaning and decluttering? Collector Care can help you essential oils, regular decluttering work, and organizing.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you!

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