The Heartbreak Of Hoarding

I am a very sensitive person by nature. A people pleaser to a huge fault. Yup, that is me. I always want to make everyone happy or the things I touch more organized. In my mind, the world should be a pretty place. We also should have a field of flowers in our backyard.

This is this one aspect of my job that I find heartbreaking-hoarding. For over nine years, I have tried to help people get their hoarded evironments under control. I have worked with therapists, taken many hours of classes, and tried different approaches to help my clients.


Some days I come home doing the happy dance. I made a difference in someones life. Last month I cleared out part of a clients space while she was at work. I left piles with post it notes of things she needed to make decisions on. She sent me a nice email and was amazed. She started working on the remaining piles. I carried that happiness with me for weeks.

Last night I came home with my tail between my legs. I could not help or make a difference.

Hoarding not only affects the hoarder. It takes a toll on the people in their lives.

* Financial Ruin- Hoarding costs money. Many times it puts people in severe debt or they lose control over their finances.

* Filth-With food and animal waste, homes become a like a petri dish of bateria. The environment isn’t safe for animals or people.

* Strained relationships- I have seen heartbroken family members and spouses. I have seen hoarders isolate themselves. Anger is very common in the family.

* Damages- Due to the shame of hoarding, many people don’t fix things in their homes. I have seen water leaks, rotting floors, and so many other damages that would have been minor to repair.

* Valuables ruined- When you create pile upon pile, things are bound to get broken.

So as the Kenny Rogers song says “Know when to hold em know when to fold em.” A person has to be ready to change.

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