The lowdown on hoarding

Compulsive hoarding is a medically recognised condition. People affected by it excessively acquire possessions or items that may be of little or no monetary value. They are then unable able to throw anything away. This results in unmanageable amounts of clutter and often a highly dangerous living environment.

Hoarding is considered to be a significant concern when the amount of clutter starts to interfere with daily living. For example, when a kitchen becomes unusable to prepare meals, or a bathroom is impossible to enter to have a bath or use the toilet. Towering piles of stuff can become a fire and tripping hazard, and the property can become impossible to keep clean.

When the clutter causes distress to the occupier, this also causes the alarm to be raised for something to be done to help ease the situation. Care must be taken to maintain enormous amounts of empathy, sensitivity and patience, as the person involved will often be embarrassed, resistant or simply unable to engage with the process of sorting everything out.

They may have strong emotional attachment to certain items, or feel fear that they will need things that someone else is proposing be thrown away. Others feel the urge to stockpile useful items such as canned food or firewood, in case of a future, unspecified emergency.

Compulsive hoarding can run in families, with sufferers starting from as young as the teenage years, when old toys, school reports and other items representing their past may be carefully stored away. It’s estimated that around 2 to 5% of the UK’s adult population experience symptoms of compulsive hoarding.

Medical intervention via the GP and local community mental health team is advised when dealing with a hoarder, as the condition can be linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other forms of anxiety and depression. Left untreated, these conditions can worsen, and other side effects, such as loneliness and isolation can stem from the person being unable to have visitors round or to take pride in their surroundings.

When it comes to sorting out the physical stuff, an external company such as Easyclear can be essential to take on the physical work and offer an unbiased view on what to keep and what to discard. We know how to get rid of items safely and legally, maybe even managing to recoup some money on selling anything suitable on. We also guarantee to work with respect, patience and the utmost empathy, so that the process works effectively and causes minimal distress to everyone involved.