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Families of Hoarders- an Open Letter to You

An Open Letter to the Families of Hoardersworried_about_familiy_member

Do you know someone who has so much Stuff that they are living in a unhealthy or even dangerous environment? Would they have difficulty getting to an exit in the case of a fire? Are they in danger of being hurt by tripping over piles of Stuff or having stacked boxes fall on them? Do any appliances not work because the person is too embarrassed to let a repairman into their home? Is food or garbage left out to rot? Is there mold, or insect or rodent infestation? Are any rooms unusable because they are filled with Stuff? Do they hold onto things that seem like trash to you?

You don’t want that for them. You want to see your loved one live a healthy, safe life. You may have been fighting this battle for years, and have tried everything you can think of: pleas, anger, ultimatums, and logic. Maybe you even cleared out the space, but it just went back to the way it was. Despite your best intentions and efforts, you have not been able to help your loved one.

This situation can be especially difficult when family dynamics- good and bad- get tied up with it. We can all remember arguments and disagreements that on the surface appeared to be about normal everyday matters but were tied to deeply held feelings and experiences. Is your loved one resisting change as a way to assert their independence? Are they embarrassed at being told what to do because you are their grown child? Do they look at the future with trepidation, so avoid doing anything in the present?

This is where a professional can help. Since I have no role in the family, I can come in as a neutral party without any ulterior motives to offer objective advice and suggestions. Sometimes it’s easier to take advice and help from a stranger than a loved one! I specialize in working with people who are having difficulties deciding which items to keep, who have trouble getting rid of things, and who face a major life-change that requires down-sizing.

I will meet with you and your family to discuss how we can work together to help your loved one. By setting up a plan ahead of time, we can take personal relationships and potential problems into account, and find ways for everyone to help- even if it means just being a cheerleader. However, I can’t make any guarantees. Please keep in mind that I will not touch a person’s belongings without their explicit permission. It’s also important to keep in mind that Hoarding Disorder is a legitimate mental disorder; your loved one may need specialized treatment. If that is the case, I will work in conjunction with a therapist or other mental health professional.

Call me for a free consultation to discuss your situation and what we can do to improve it.

About the author


I am a professional organizer in Buffalo, NY. I focus on helping people who are overwhelmed with all the Stuff they have in their lives. My specialties are: Decluttering, Downsizing, Clearing out a Home after a Death, Moving, and Hoarding. Visit my site at http://www.IHaveTooMuchStuff.com or contact me at beth@IHaveTooMuchStuff.com or (716)791-7293.

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