Are you a hoarder? If you have hoarding tendencies, know that you are not alone, because many people are hoarders. Everyone has stuff that they don’t need and can get rid of, but why is this the case? Why have hoarders become so common today? Here is why, and how to get started decluttering.
Listen: Are You a Hoarder?
Watch: Are You a Hoarder?
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.
Are You a Hoarder?
Are you a hoarder? Do you have hoarding tendencies or are they just clutter issues? Maybe you don’t know how to get organized or even where to start the process. Well, you’re not alone. The entire world has become hoarders. It started a couple of generations ago when the American dream was fascinated by owning a home. And along with that home, came stuff.
We had multiple bedrooms. And every bedroom was outfitted with a bed and the dresser and every dresser was full of clothes. Every bedroom had a closet and they were all full of clothes. People started collecting multiple sets of shoes, and clothes, and books, and collectibles, and items, and toys, and trinkets, and things to go inside their beautiful homes.
But what happened when they paid off the homes and they went to lavish the American dream, when they died and they passed on from the earth, that home would move on to their children who had their own homes.
Kids are Getting Stuck With Their Parents’ Things
And so now, the children would have their homes with all their stuff in the multiple bedrooms and the multiple sets of beds and the multiple sets of clothes and the multiple sets of dressers and the multiple closets. And now, they had a house full of their parents’ things as well.
What do we do with our parents’ things? And because they didn’t have the skills to deal with those things yet, they put them inside a storage unit. So, storage units started popping up all over our world. And all of a sudden, there were families that would now have their house and their parents’ house.
And while they were trying to clean out their parents’ house so they could get it ready to sell or what have you, they have these storage units. So now they have the home, their own home, and the storage unit with all this stuff in it.
Now There are Generations of Hoarders
And if they didn’t get around to selling their parents’ homes, they ended up with just two homes and a storage unit. Their garages became packed and filled with things. And they had children of their own. And by the time they were managing all this stuff, their own children would grow up and live the American dream. Buy a home and fill it with multiple bedrooms and multiple sets of dressers and clothes and closets and things.
What happens is two, three, four generations down, we keep passing these homes and passing all this stuff and passing the storage units of stuff onto our kids. Now, there’s an entire generation of hoarders. They didn’t mean to be hoarders.
They didn’t want to be hoarders. And yet here we are with all this stuff.
E-Commerce is at Its Peak Right Now
Now, we live in an era right now where e-commerce is at its peak. It became popular and just kind of exploded during the COVID era when people were staying at home and they were just buying things and consuming things online. We want our own stuff. We don’t want stuff from our parents and their parents and their parents. And yet we have all this stuff. So, are you a hoarder? And my question to you is, did you become an erroneous hoarder, not by any choice of your own, but you just inherited a whole bunch of stuff that now you’re obligated to get rid of? Okay. Well, you are still a hoarder because you are hoarding it. You are hanging onto it. And you might even be paying for it.
I Have Seen a Lot of Hoarders While House Cleaning
Now, I’ve been a professional house cleaner for over 25 years. And I’ve been training house cleaning companies for about 30 years. So, what happens is this. I’ve been inside a lot of homes and I’ve watched lots of people try to manage their stuff.
We are the middleman. As house cleaners, we are the middleman between the professional organizers who help you organize your stuff. And the remediation specialist that has to come in after your house has been overtaken by mold or decay or things have dissolved and fallen through the cracks and there are broken pieces of equipment and appliances and stuff in your home that have been covered by clutter and hoarding.
House Cleaners are the Middleman Between Organizers and Homeowners
So, we are the middleman in between. If we can get you in time, we can help between the time you get your home organized and the time it has to be completely renovated and repaired because that costs a whole lot more money. So as house cleaners, we get to see both sides. And we have friends and networks on both sides of the fence.
But what I want to do is I want to challenge you to go on this journey with me and to help us uncover the concept of stuff, our attachment to stuff, our meaning for stuff, and then why we still want to have the stuff of our own.
Change the Stuff That Sparks Joy for You
Now, there are books on decluttering and minimizing and keeping stuff that sparks joy. We’re going to change the stuff that sparks joy for you. Because if I look at my own house, I’m an organized hoarder. When I moved to my house, I had 10,000 books. And I love books. I called myself a book collector. And I had a special room in my house built that was climate-controlled so that my books wouldn’t fall apart, and so that moths couldn’t get inside, and so that I could preserve my books.
But the reality is I was a hoarder of books. And I was an organized hoarder. Everything in my house has a place. But the reality is this. I have much more stuff than I will ever use in this lifetime. And granted it’s stuff that I purchased on my own.
And there’s stuff that I brought into the marriage with me when my husband brought his stuff. Then, his mother gave us stuff and my mother gave us stuff and we got wedding gifts as stuff.
You Can Be Organized and a Hoarder
So, we have a place for everything and everything is in its place. That does not mean we need it. It does not mean we want it. And it does not mean that after 20 years of marriage, we should still keep it. So as we go on this journey together, I invite you to join us even if you think you’re super organized, and even if you have a place for everything, and if everything is in its place.
You might still be a hoarder and not even know it. But having these skills and knowing what we’re going on, we’ll help you navigate the rest of your life. Because right now, our world is turning into a hoarding world. And I’m going to invite you to join our Facebook group. It is called Hoarding World.
We’re going to go on this journey together. You can drop your questions, comments, and leave feedback for us inside that group. So please, if you think even in the back of your mind there’s a slight tendency that you might be a hoarder or you know someone who is, join us on this journey. We’re going to go on a series for the next several days. And we’re going to uncover some of the nuances and the psychological background behind why people hoard.
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.
HouseCleaning360 – A hub connecting homeowners with house cleaners
Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.
Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts