Do you need a hoarding overhaul? Here is one formula that might work for you. Run don’t walk to Facebook and get your group going right now – your first Hoarding Overhaul starts this weekend. Don’t worry about trying to figure it all out, you will figure it out as you go, and you will create new rules for your group. You will also as make life-long friends as you remove the clutter from your life.
A Solution to Hoarding
A question from one of my YouTube viewers inspired the hoarding overhaul. Here’s the message they left for my Ask A House Cleaner show:
“I have a client that has a hoarder house, hoarder yard, and hoarder huge garage, that needs to be cleaned out. They don’t have the funds to do that. I’m wondering if you know of a company or something that can assist in that. The house has had the electricity turned off because the fire department says it’s unsafe, due to the hoarding issue.”
Hoarders Help Others Before Themselves
Now, in my 30 years in the industry, I’ve run into all kinds of hoarding homes, and hoarders. What I’ve learned is that people who have hoarding tendencies will go to the ends of the earth for other people. But they do not do so for themselves.
Hoarders would go to someone else’s house and clean, yet they will not clean their own. Why is that? I don’t know, but I do know that they would go to the ends of the earth for someone else.
So, what I recommend in this situation is a hoarding overhaul. And you’re not going to like what I have to say so brace yourself, don’t judge it, just sit and listen to it. This is just one of many solutions. But as you work through it in your head, you might say, “Wait a second, this could work for me.”
What is a Hoarding Overhaul?
Firstly, for a hoarding overhaul, you want to get a small group of people in your area together.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday of every week, you go to one person’s house each day and work your way around the group. So, if there are eight people in the group, then once a month, everyone comes to your house. If there are 16 people in a group, however, it might take a little bit longer.
Now, everyone will get a team of people that comes to their house on the weekend and sort through their stuff.
But how do you do you get the group together? Facebook.
Create a Facebook Group
Here’s why the hoarding overhaul works. What you do is you go to Facebook and create a group called Hoarding Overhaul with your city name, like Hoarding Overhaul Charlotte, North Carolina. You want to draw in people in your area. Then Facebook can help you maintain meaningful social relationships with other hoarders.
Now, the best part is Facebook has an algorithm that finds people who have similar interests. So, once you’ve created your group, it will start to bring you other people who are hoarders.
Again, these are people who will give you the shirt off their back, and they will help you. What you need is their help to get out of your hoarding situation. And you’ll reciprocate by helping them get out of their situations.
They Aren’t Attached to Your Stuff
So, we don’t want to get rid of our own stuff. But other people will come in go, “Well, that’s just a paper plate. No reason you should have a paper plate. Let me throw away the paper plate.” And they will get rid of stuff that you just left for whatever reason.
We get too busy to move our own stuff, but other people will come in and say, “Oh, I know what to do with this. This is a dish. This goes in the kitchen sink.”
Break Up into Teams
So, what you do is break up into teams.
There’s a team that only specializes in dishes. That’s all they do. They do paper cups, soda cans, water bottles, napkins, pizza boxes, all that kind of stuff. What they don’t deal with is laundry. And they don’t deal with trash, or with mail. They don’t go with anything else, just the dishes.
Have Someone Just Do Dishes
So, when they come to each person’s house on the team, they just go in and they knock out the dishes every time. But what that also means is they need to show up prepared.
They’re going to be throwing away a lot of paper cups, plates and bowls, and big gulp cups and soda cans. So, they need to bring garbage bags. They start bringing the supplies with them because that’s their job. And they end up knowing that specialty.
Laundry Could Be Another Task
The next person might only focus on laundry. And so, if you have two adults in your house, but you have children’s clothing, the children have grown. You don’t need those anymore. Your teammates are going to going to come in and recognize the situation. Hoarders understand hoarders.
So, the laundry people can come in and say, “Oh, I know exactly what to do with these clothes.” Then they’ll make piles that might go to the dump, consignment store or donation. And so, they get good at doing the clothes at every single person’s house, from laundry to linens.
Your Team Becomes Your Friends
The focus is to have a group that becomes a tight knit group of friends as social support. Now, instead of saying, “I’m so ashamed. I don’t want anyone to see my house,” they all have houses just like yours.
But if you’re still ashamed and it’s your week, you can just say, “Hey, can you cycle back to me next week? I’m uncomfortable this week. Let’s focus on someone else’s house.” And they’ll understand.
You go out and help that other person that week, and then when it’s your week again, everyone gets to help you clean.
Show Up for the Haul Prepared
I recommend personal protective equipment for everyone on all of the jobs. That means a face mask and gloves.
I also think everyone should show up with a roll of garbage bags. The next thing I recommend is that someone gets a rental U-Haul van. You can rotate who it is each week, and they’re about $20 for the day plus gas or miles.
You want to make sure you have a van so as you cart stuff away, you can easily get it where it needs to go. There’s a place for the stuff, and it’s not in your house.
Create A System
Now during your week, you know you’ll have eight or ten or twelve people over, so you might have coffee for them. Maybe you even order pizza or takeout. The person whose house you’re cleaning that week could pay for the pizza and van.
Either way, everybody shows up and helps, and it becomes this weekend warrior project. And because you also have the Facebook group, you can check in during the week and see what’s going on, who needs what and stuff like that. You can navigate your situations as a group, and you guys will become the best of friends.
No One Can Take Home Anything
Now, the only thing left is the one rule everyone must commit to before starting an overhaul project. It will not work if you do not follow this one rule: no one can take home anything from the property that day.
Everyone goes home empty handed for all the obvious reasons. But you have to agree to that before you show up to the hoarding job. Everyone goes home empty handed, and that must be a rule of your Facebook group. It must be a rule of every work project you do.
Happy Hoarding Overhaul
Now, you’re going to get a bunch of volunteer help and make a bunch of friends. You’re all going to be in it for the same reasons. And you’re going to be accountable to each other to not get back in the situation that got you here right now.
Your health and cleaning are connected, and I want you to be healthy. I want you to keep me posted. Let me know if you become a part of a hoarding overhaul group. I’m here rooting for you, and I would love to be part of your group. And even though I can’t be there in person, I’ll be cheering you on for every step of the process.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
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