Hoarding cleanup will never be easy, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Family and friends can help you in ways you may not have considered. Here are some hoarding removal strategies that really work.
Take the steps you need today to get your life back on track and the clean and orderly living space you truly deserve.
Listen: Hoarding Cleanup
Watch: Hoarding Cleanup
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Hoarding Cleanup, a New Way to Help
Hoarding cleanup, a new way to help, is what we’re going to talk about right now, right here. Now we’ve done lots of shows on hoarding and hoarding help and there was a very interesting study that just happened and I got some interesting feedback that I wanted to share with you.
There was a family that decided they had too much stuff in their house and they needed some help cleaning it up, and of course, they went through all the same fears and anxieties that everyone else goes through, where they were ashamed to ask for help.
But there were things in the house that were broken that you couldn’t get to fix because there’s too much stuff in the way. The stuff that they have has meaning and is important to them so they don’t want to let go of it, yet at the same time, they need help. It’s on and on.
There Decided to Reach Out for Help
So what they decided to do was they decided that they would reach out for some help and there were going to be two ways that you could help. So they said, “We’re having a little open house at our house and we’re going to be removing these certain items.” And with the items, they chose cardboard boxes and paper. “We’re going to be removing all the cardboard boxes and paper from our house. We’re going to be removing clothes that nobody wears anymore. And so the kids are going through the house and they’re going to pick up all the clothes that they want to keep. Anything that’s left, it’s going to be removed. So we’re going to be removing clothes and papers from our house.
If there are any toys that the children are no longer using and the toys that they’re going to keep, they’ve been asked to take to their bedrooms. So the bedrooms are off-limits for this particular thing. Any toys that are left in the family room, in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, in the hallway, in the stairwell, any of those things will be removed. So if there are any ways that you would like to come to help us on this day, remove any of these items that we’ve just mentioned, please come over on this day at this time.
We would love your volunteer help. The second way you can help us is if you are not able to come to help us, or you don’t want to come to help us, or you have other prior commitments, we’re doing a GoFundMe page and you can help us pay for a hoarding removal company that will be removing and hauling all this stuff off at the end of the day.”
A Bunch of People Showed Up to Help
And what’s fascinating about it is there are about seven people that showed up that actually wanted to help and they brought garbage bags with them. And they were wearing gloves and masks and they were ready to help. The other people all chipped in and donated between 30 and $50 apiece, which was enough money to get the hoarding removal company to come help remove everything two times.
So the guys that came said, “Let’s remove everything that you have today and then let’s have you do this again in another month from now so that we can gather all the other stuff up that you have not unsurfaced yet, right? So we’ll give you a month to prepare and to put stuff together and whatever, we will come to haul it all away.” So it was really exciting because the family was then given hope like, “Yay, this is so super exciting.”
It Takes Courage to Ask for Help
But what’s interesting about this scenario, because they posted this on their personal Facebook page, what’s interesting about this particular journey was because they had the courage to come out and say, “Hey, listen, we’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. We’ve decided to renovate our home and to make it a lovely home, but we need some help.”
When they came out and they asked for help, what was interesting is there’s a landscaper that lives nearby that was a friend of the families. They saw it on the Facebook page.
He contacted the family and he said, “Listen, I’m not prepared to pay money and I’m not prepared to show up and help you, but I have a truck and I would be willing to pick up three truckloads of things between now and the next month. We can schedule a truckload today, a truckload later, and a truckload later.” And he had permissions or a permit to the local landfill.
So he said, “Once you’ve gone through all these things and you have them in a great big lump, I will swing by before the company comes again for their final removal. Save your money for that. But I will bring my truck and we can load everything up onto my truck and I will take it to the landfill.”
A Therapist Contacted Them to Help as Well
There was a therapist who contacted them and said, “I charge $150 per hour and what I would like to donate is three hours of my time to help you understand how you got in this situation and measures that we can take so that it doesn’t happen again once space is cleared. Because we know that once this space is cleared, it creates this empty void, and instead of just going, “Ah, this is just beautiful and peaceful,” we have a tendency to run to the flea markets and the thrift stores and whatever, and buy more stuff and replace the void, fill it up again, because that was our comfort zone.”
She said, “I’m here to help you change the comfort zone boundaries.” And so she was able to donate three hours of her time, which was not cash, and it was not physical help the day of the event.
People Will Help if You Ask For it
So what’s interesting about this study is once they had the courage to come forth and say, “We need help,” there were people that were able and willing to help in their own way. So I just wanted to throw that out there. I wanted to ask for you to think about asking for help. It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do. I know in my personal life I have a hard time asking for help.
So we’re all human. We’re all going through the human experience together. Nobody’s better than anybody. We all have different things we’re working on at different times of our lives. If hoarding is one of the things that you’re working on right now, that’s what you’re working on, right?
It doesn’t make you bad, it doesn’t mean you should be ashamed, it doesn’t mean that you should feel less than anyone else. Everyone has their own stuff going on. Yours just happens to be stuff, right?
Be Open to Asking for Help
So I want to encourage you to think about that as an option and to ask for help and be open to the type of help that is available. Because like the guy with the truck, he’s got a landscaping company and a great big truck and a great big trailer and a whole bunch of stuff. If he would come over and he’s willing to help do that, awesome. Right? So ask for help because there are people who want to help you in their own way.
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