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How To Help a Hoarder Move Into a New Home

How To Help a Hoarder Move Into a New Home

If you have a hoarder in the family or as a friend, you’ll already know how difficult it is to tackle this issue.

While moving seems like the perfect moment to get to grips with a hoarding problem, handling the hoarder and the junk requires tack, sensitivity, and the organizational skills of an army general.

Get it right, though, and you could show that person the way forward to a new life free of compulsive collecting habits.

This step-by-step guide explains how to help a hoarder move into a new home with minimal stress and difficulty.

What Challenges Do Hoarders Face While Moving?

Most hoarders are isolationists and don’t usually let people into their homes. The thought of removers coming in to pack up and clear the property will cause a massive amount of anxiety and stress.

The process of ‘keep and discard’ can be overwhelming. There is also a fear of being judged. At Nixxit, we’re here to help with these seven steps.

7 Steps To Help a Hoarder Move

1. Begin by Understanding Hoarding

To successfully help a hoarder move, you first need to see the world through their eyes. Time spent understanding hoarding is time well spent and helps to map the way forward.

Hoarding differs from collecting; it is a mental health condition that varies in severity and type. Trying to understand how your friend or loved one feels informs decision-making, reduces anxiety, and helps create a practical plan.

Hoarders can’t simply get a grip or throw stuff away. This approach will only increase anxiety and resistance.

2. Are you the Right Person for the Job?

Dealing with a hoarder can be incredibly frustrating – you’ll need tremendous patience and positivity.

If you don’t think you can go it alone, ask a friend to help you. Someone more detached might be better suited than another family member, but make sure your hoarder feels comfortable letting them into your home.

Supporting a hoarder can be psychologically draining, so if you’re the main event, make sure you have someone to help you – even if it’s away from the hoarder’s home.

3. Identify What Type of Hoarder the Person Is

If you’ve done a bit of study on hoarding, you’ll have already learned that hoarding comes in many forms. Here are the main classifications:

  • Animal hoarders – Animal hoarding usually comes from a place of love, but too many pets often lead to issues of health problems and neglect.
  • Compulsive collectors – This can manifest in certain items like shoes – or based around the acquisition of new things.
  • Compulsive shoppers – May overlap with compulsive collectors and can lead to serious debt.
  • Food hoarders – Easy to spot; just open the fridge! But note, food hoarders also stash food in unusual places where it can’t be detected.
  • Information hoarders – Newspapers are a classic sign, but this hoarding type also includes shopping receipts, bills, and letters.
  • Mail hoarders – Less of a problem these days, but this can include packaging materials and old greeting cards.
  • Haphazard hoarders – These are hoarders who keep everything so they don’t fall into a specific category – these houses are the hardest to clear.
  • Trash hoarders – This is also called syllogomania and comes with serious health consequences.
  • Diogenes’ disease – This is a severe condition that leads a hoarder to live in poor conditions and neglect self-care. Most hoarding is associated with mental health issues – this is the extreme version. Diogenes sufferers usually need professional medical help.

4. Devise a Moving Strategy

Devising a practical and effective strategy for clearing one property and moving to another is essential. It’ll be a task! However, that plan must also be palatable to the hoarder and not cause undue distress.

Spare the hoarder from the details of actual logistics. They’ll likely only care about what happens to their stuff due to the fear of throwing away essential items. Too much information will overwhelm them.

Most importantly, your moving strategy must seamlessly marry practical and psychological elements.

5. Evaluate the Property

Are you going to clear one room at a time or work on different item categories? Knowing what you’re dealing with is essential to formulating a solid plan.

Check whether all parts of the house are accessible; some may be blocked by clutter.

Are there any health or fire hazards?

List the different item groups, such as recycling, mail, or food. Suggest a plan to the hoarder and work with them to achieve an outcome.

All the items must be sorted into keep, recycle, charity donations, or trash. That may be easier said than done – a hoarder could find it incredibly difficult to let go of any item.

Need Help with a Hoarder Cleanout in the Bay Area, CA?

Nixxit Junk Removal can help with your hoarder cleanout needs in the Bay Area.

  • 10+ Years of Experience Working with Hoarders
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Sensitive and Discreet Approach
  • Full-Service Removal and Sorting
  • Donation and Recycling
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6. Essential Ground Rules

Any plan needs ground rules. These are the essential parts of the framework, and they’ll help keep you on track when the going gets tough.

First off, write your plan down. Keep referring to it to monitor progress, especially when things get hard, and the hoarder finds the process overwhelming.

Start early. This won’t be a quick process; rushing will only make your hoarder more anxious.

Agree with your hoarder that only one decision can be made on each item – they can’t go back and change their mind. Prevarication will equal indecision, and the longer that goes on, the further away from a final decision you’ll travel.

Link retaining items to a valid function. This avoids the build-up of possessions that serve no useful purpose and which are put aside. That particular pile needs to be kept to a minimum!

Set goals. It may be clearing one room at a time or even a part of a room.

Let the hoarder figure out for themselves what they should discard and keep. It’s vital that it’s their decision.

It can be easy to interfere, especially if the whole process is taking a long time. Asking questions like, ‘What will you do with this?’ or ‘Why do you need this?’ can help hoarders reach their own conclusions.

Set a budget. Moving is not cheap, and the more that needs moving, the more it will cost. Budgetary restraint is a helpful tool in the armory of control.

Items in the discard pile need to be bagged up and removed immediately to avoid any last-minute changes of heart.

7. Useful Techniques

There’s an awful lot of online information on hoarding and how to help hoarders. Take some notes when you study the condition, as this will help when you get to the point of clearing out the house.

One tip is to allow a hoarder to take photographs of something they’re going to discard. Another is recycling an item.

Sometimes, saying goodbye is easier if the hoarder knows the item is going to a good home where it’ll be loved and appreciated with a new lease on life.

Organize all the items going to the new house, so you know exactly where they will go and how they will be stored or used. This is a golden opportunity to avoid replicating clutter at the other end of the move.

Knowing When To Seek Professional Help

Helping a hoarder move house is not for the faint of heart.

You’ll have to deal with not only the immense mountain of clutter but also the psychological support that the hoarder requires to complete the task. Expert help could make all the difference.

Using a professional service for hoarder cleanout – like Nixxit Junk Removal – allows you time to focus all your attention on the hoarder rather than having to manage them and the task of cleaning everything out.

However, sometimes, even with practical help, the task is beyond even the most dedicated family member or friend.

Hoarding is a mental illness and is linked to various health conditions like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), depression, and anxiety, which a traumatic life event can trigger.

There are occasions when only properly trained health professionals can make an intervention.

Sometimes, the level of skill, patience, and compassion required is beyond the ability of an emotionally connected family member. Professional mental health help can start the process, and family members become involved further down the line.

An appropriately qualified and experienced therapist can support and facilitate the process, helping your hoarder work through their distress.

If you feel that’s a step too far and your hoarder is resistant to the idea of a stranger getting involved, plenty of help and resources are available in the community.

It can support the hoarder and support you to help the hoarder. Community groups also offer ongoing advice to try and stop the new home from becoming a mirror image of the old one.

Need Hoarder Cleanout Services in the Bay Area? We Can Help!

Helping a hoarder move can be the impetus needed to clear their home and kick the habit for good. But it’s not as easy as it seems.

Hoarding is the symptom of an underlying mental health problem, which can vary from mild to severe. Clearing the house is the easy part of the problem, but managing the hoarder is another thing entirely.

Never be afraid to seek help either from the community or in a professional capacity.

Nixxit’s hoarder cleanout service is a fast, professional, and sensitive service in the Bay Area. Give us a call by confirming your location below and let our friendly and empathetic staff help with the problem you’ve been dreading. Remember, you don’t have to tackle this on your own!

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nixxitjunk · Jul 15