I had the opportunity to chat with "Extreme Cleaner" Matt Paxton last night. Matt is the owner of Clutter Cleaner, blogger at Five Decisions Away, and the author of the book The Secret Life of Hoarders. In the last 8 years he has cleaned out 1000 severely hoarded homes that fall into the levels of 3 to 5 on the ICD hoarding scale.
Of course my first question to him was about his cleaning habits. Julie Morgenstern has admitted to not always being neat and tidy in her past, so I had to ask Matt if he was born with the clean gene (like me) or was it a learned trait. He told me that he was raised by a single mother and it was his job as a child to clean the family home.
Why cleaning? He told me that he failed at everything else. He enjoyed the company of seniors. In 2006 he started his business Clutter Cleaner. He envisioned his focus to be relocating seniors and helping widows. His focus soon become hoarded homes. He was even featured on A & E's show Hoarders.
We both agreed that the main age range for hoarding was between 60 and 80 years old. He also noted that there was a trend of young mothers 35 and under that were starting to need assistance as well. With several small children and well meaning grandparents, a home can fill up pretty quickly.
I strongly agree with his opinion that hoarding is a mental disorder. He strongly suggests that his clients seek therapy. All his crew members are put through a 5 day training class before they are able to work with him. He wants to make sure that everyone is focused on taking care of the hoarder in the best way possible. Its obvious that he has a true passion (like myself) for helping hoarders change their lives.
Matt has partnered with the company Service Master to offer home clean outs all over the country. He was in Chicago to do an educational presentation for the community.
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