“Can’t they see it?” The most common question I get from family when addressing a cluttered situation. After time passes they develop “Clutter Blindness” to their space. They are used to ducking and dodging piles. They know how much stuff they can leave on the stairs and still make it through (while the organizer is tripping over everything).
Even though the clutter is in full view, its just not seen anymore. It literally blends into the home. The homeowner adapts to it. I see this time and time again. I have seen two foot piles on kitchen counters and yet, the homeowner was still able to prepare food and carry our their daily kitchen activities.
So how do you help someone that has “blindness” to their clutter situation? First of all you need to make plan on how to address them in a non confrontational manner. When I am a part of these situations, I tell the family to put together a list of why things should be addressed. Be specific about things that make the home dangerous for your friend or loved one. Somethings to consider:
1. Is the condition of their home causing danger to another resident or animal in the home. I see many seniors who live with their child who have severe clutter.
2. Are The conditions unsanitary? If there are pets, does the owner clean up after them?
3. Is there damage to the home? Do all the sinks and bathrooms function? What about the roof. Many times people that have severe clutter don’t get things fixed because they are ashamed to have people in their home.
These are just a few things to think about when trying to help someone deal with the clutter or hoard in their home. Remember to be gentle, and give them support. Its not the time to break them down and make them feel bad. They are probably so used to their home, that they just don’t see the clutter anymore.
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