Where Hoarders Can Go For Help

There has recently been a spotlight directed on a dirty little secret hidden behind closed doors. With the popularity of the A&E television show "Hoarders" and The Oprah Winfrey Show's episodes on hoarding, the general public is seeing a phenomenon that professional organizers have long been familiar with: Compulsive Hoarding.

According to the Institute of Living, a mental health facility based in Connecticut that has a program specifically for hoarders, "compulsive hoarding is a common and potentially disabling problem, characterized by the accumulation of excessive clutter to the point that parts of one's home can no longer be used for their intended purpose."

If you have seen some of the hoarding episodes I referenced above, that's putting it mildly. In many cases, the homes of hoarders have become so congested that the hoarders are at risk of losing their children, their pets and even being evicted from what sometimes becomes condemned property.

Contrary to what some people assume, hoarders are not "lazy" or "just messy." The hoarding disorder affects up to 2 million people in the United States and is often accompanied by mental health issues such as ADD, ADHD, chronic disorganization, and obsessive-compulsive disorder to name a few.

While my company, Creative Order, only takes on mild hoarding cases (find the NSGCD clutter hoarding scale here), I have seen almost all ends of the hoarding spectrum. In the more extreme hoarding cases, it is more appropriate for me to refer these clients to professional organizers who have had very specific training on hoarding and chronic disorganization from the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).

Here are some sources of help for hoarders and their loved ones:


For lots more resources for hoarders, I invite you to go to professional organizer Geralin Thomas' site at http://metropolitanorganizing.com. Geralin has been featured on A&E's Hoarding show and has compiled an excellent hoarding resource list on her site.

If you or one of your loved ones is a hoarder, please consider seeking professional organizing and mental health assistance before the situation becomes a health and safety issue.