How much do you know about hoarding? We’re not talking about the basic tendency we all have to accumulate more things over time — we mean those whose homes fill up with so much “stuff” that it becomes almost impossible to use the property as a home. Depicted on popular reality TV shows and studied extensively by psychologists, hoarding is an unusual disorder that can be both very disruptive and harmful to the quality of life of the occupants of the space.
Some organizations have banded together to learn more about hoarding and to provide educational opportunities to train individuals in techniques for helping hoarders. One such organization you may not have heard of before is the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, also known as the NSGCD for short. These folks are on the front lines of fighting the hoarding epidemic, working to find ways to help those whose tendencies have led to significant disruption in their lives.
What does this group do to make a difference? The NSGCD provides special training to individuals who want to become a hoarding specialist and earn a certificate signifying they have completed a rigorous set of exams and education courses to help people with the hoarding disease.
The NSGCD has developed and now provides special training classes to individuals who want to offer their services to those suffering from hoarding disorders. Individuals who complete these courses can refer to themselves as hoarding specialists, and they can display an industry certification showcasing their completion of the NSGCD’s rigorous educational coursework and examinations. Participants in these courses aren’t just the average Joe, however.
Most of the professionals who choose to pursue the training necessary to become hoarding specialists are psychologists or clinical mental health therapists. At its core, hoarding is a mental disorder, not a malady created by a physical breakdown of the body. Many hoarders start with small collections before developing mental illness or a significant life event triggers anxiety when the person confronts the concept of throwing something away.
While the average person might not think twice about throwing away a piece of garbage, a hoarder attaches significance to these objects. Many worry that they may “need” an item later, and they will keep it in the house — sometimes for years or even decades at a time. Over time, the number of attached objects accumulates, and the hoarding can reach dangerous levels due to these deep-seated psychological issues. Even if a relative or loved one intervenes and clears out the house of their own volition, the problem will manifest again if the underlying problems aren’t treated. Some hoarders re-fill their homes multiple times despite family interventions.
No two hoarding situations are truly the same, and there are many different kinds of hoarders. Some individuals will never throw away anything at all, whether it’s garbage or old food. You can imagine the health hazards this creates — not to mention the invitation for pest infestation and contamination.
Some unfortunate cases involve hoarders who become obsessively attached to live animals, including the most common types of pets, such as cats, dogs, rabbits, and even rats. Often there are so many animals living within the home that most of the creatures become victims of neglect. The hoarder simply cannot care for all the animals at once and becomes overwhelmed.
Other hoarders start as earnest collectors of items as a hobby or for another reason. They might feel like it is their life’s mission to accumulate as many of their favored objects as possible, whether that means dolls, memorabilia, shoes, books, or any other personal items. Over time, this obsession reaches problematic levels when their home becomes so full that some rooms fill up completely.
No matter what their object of choice is, all hoarders have one thing in common – a strong sense of denial that anything is wrong. Even when they are surrounded by mountains of garbage and cannot use their facilities, they will deny that anything is wrong. That’s why outside help, from friends or family members, is essential for recognizing the problem and reaching out for help from hoarding professionals.
The psychological help is only part of the assistance hoarders need — all the junk needs to go, too. In situations such as these in the Oakland area, a team such as Junk King Alameda can be an invaluable partner and a reliable resource. Junk King crews are highly experienced with garbage removal and know how to work quickly, safely, and cleanly to remove any level of junk from a property. Even the most astounding hoarding situations in Oakland are no match for the help offered by our crews. We make messes disappear.
The process is simple. First, you make arrangements with our team. We’ll come out to the property at no charge to inspect the mess and discuss with you what requires removal and from where. After assessing all that information, we provide a detailed and transparent quote so you can decide on whether or not to proceed. This free quote comes with no obligation, so you’re always welcome to change your mind or choose to request service at a later date.
Once you’ve decided to move forward, we’ll schedule a date and time to arrive on site and begin removing all the junk. We’ll take a massive range of non-hazardous materials, including heavy and bulky items, and load them all up into our big red trucks. Afterwards, we’ll take the time to sweep up after ourselves, so any final clean-up is quick and easy for you.
Where does all that junk go once we leave? Don’t worry — it’s not all going straight to the dump. We carefully examine everything we remove to separate recyclable materials. Our goal is always to recycle at least 60% of everything we recover from our clients. Not only does a hoarder get their home back, but the environment doesn’t take a hit in the process.
Junk King also provides removal services for many other clients, including builders and individual homeowners. Hopefully, your hoarding tendency hasn’t reached such extreme levels — after all, we all tend to hold on to more things than we need. That’s especially true for big and bulky items that you can hide in a closet or shuffle around in the garage. When you don’t have a vehicle big enough to transport the object for disposal, it can seem easier to just live with its presence.
Of course, once you cross that line, it’s easier to do it again and again until you find that you’ve run out of storage space entirely. While that doesn’t mean you’re a hoarder, it does mean you have an opportunity to reclaim valuable space and make better use of your home by investing in a quick and professional de-cluttering service. By hiring Junk King to help you clear out the most troublesome trash on your property, you can reclaim your life from the power of having too much “stuff.” Of course, an episode of Hoarders might be all the inspiration you need to pick up the phone and call!