“I’m burying myself alive in my own home. My spouse is threatening to leave me. My children will not invite friends over. My family is embarrassed of me… Do they even know that I need all of these things? Clothes, books, future Christmas presents I found at discount in the off season, 10 bottles of laundry detergent because Costco was having a sale… They do understand that we NEED more laundry detergent, right?”
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Miscellaneous items fill homes all over the world. “Hoarding is estimated to affect between 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United States alone,” according to the Neurobehavioral Institute in Weston, Florida. Hoarding should never be taken lightly or ignored. It is a disorder, often linked to pain and suffering, trauma, loss, anxiety and depression, obsessive compulsive (OCT), and/or loss of a loved one. Ignoring the disorder not only puts your loved one at many risks but also their family members as well:
How does the disorder affect children?
“It never is about the stuff. The commonality that we had, it was the emotional trauma and the neglect and the lack of nurturing. It’s wasn’t the hoard…growing up in an environment of constant chaos and disorganization means much more than not being able to have friends over. Our parents often hid behind closed blinds isolating themselves from the world outside. Many of us hid behind those blinds with them, keeping the ‘secret.’ As adults, too many of us still do.” – Children of Hoarders
How does this disorder affect animals?
“It is likely that up to a quarter million animals–250,000 per year–are victims of hoarders. Animal victims of hoarders typically suffer horribly, and unlike most other forms of companion animal cruelty, their misery can go on for years.” – Animal Defense Fund.
How does this disorder affect the elderly?
“Many of us worry about our elderly parents living in hazardous conditions that we can’t do anything to fix. Most often, they won’t let us help them, or even let us in their home.” – Children of Hoarders
The emotional roller coaster of cleaning and selling a hoarded home is a very sensitive subject. Don’t throw in the towel just yet! You can still help your loved one fight the hoard. How can we help?
The children and other family member’s of hoarders suffer far more than the loss of their loved one. There’s simply no room left to grieve between planning the sale of the home and the overwhelming amount of useless garbage. Family members and friends may buckle under pressure while trying to sell a hoarded home, but there is still hope.
Click the links below for valuable resources such as cleaning crews and support groups:
A REALTOR®’s role is to be a resource for sellers and to help them enlist the appropriate professionals. Until there is a support system in place, it will not be possible to get on with the task of cleaning and listing the property. Generally, the first advice a REALTOR® will give the seller, is to clean the home. Before jumping right into the cleaning process, be sure to show your support and sympathy to the seller, as parting with their things will not be easy for them.