Is it hoarding?

Example of hoarding before professional organizer
Professional organizer begins by helping sort and box hoarded items
Hoarded items of no use are gradually sold, donated or recycled
Eventually the hoard gives way to usable space
  1. Organized! by Romanic® has specialized in working with people who hoard since beginning her business in March of 2000. Many people who call Organized! by Romanic® are afraid that the clutter in their home is due to hoarding, but in most cases the clutter has accumulated for reasons other than hoarding. During the in-home consultation, Organized! by Romanic® is able to discern for clients whether the clutter is typical of the clutter seen when hoarding is involved. Most clients are relieved to hear that their clutter is not due to hoarding. People who do hoard are relieved to know that there is someone who can help them without making them feel any worse than they already do about the situation.
  2. Physical challenges can lead to a volume of clutter that resembles the volume of clutter seen when hoarding is involved. Organized! by Romanic® has worked with (1) people who have cancer, leukemia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and other major illnesses; (2) people who have had heart, hand, back, neck, foot, knee, rotator cuff, and eye surgery; (3) people confined to wheelchairs; and (4) and people who are just getting older and are not quite as able to do all the things they used to be able to do. All physical challenges decrease a person’s ability to manage clutter successfully without help from someone else.
  3. Emotional challenges can lead to clutter that resembles hoarding: for example, when a family member dies, a divorce happens, a child is born, a child leaves home, a marriage happens, a job is lost, a boss is too demanding. All people have difficulty performing as well as they did before a major life event occurs. During the 1 to 3 years after a major life event, most people are able to hold down their job, but they can’t keep up at home as well, so the clutter accumulates until the stress is far enough behind them that they are able to feel like they can take charge of their own lives again.
  4. There is a specific emotional challenge that can lead to clutter that resembles hoarding, and it may seem ironic, but people who tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist tend to accumulate more clutter than someone who is less particular. People in this group tend to have a thought that goes something along the lines of “If I don’t have time to do it and do it right, then I’m not going to do it at all.” They feel overwhelmed by the clutter, but it is still not caused by true hoarding.
  5. Mental illnesses can also lead to clutter that looks like hoarding, especially attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, bi-polar disorder, and compulsive shopping, but true hoarding is almost always caused by anxiety. Hoarding is thought to be caused by a form of the anxiety disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  6. People who hoard are generally more successful at maintaining if they work with both a professional organizer and a therapist who are both trained in working with people who hoard. People who hoard have more invested both emotionally and financially in cleaning up their clutter than the client who does not hoard. People who hoard have genuinely suffered for years over not being able to open the door to their home, and they usually end up spending a lot of money making all the home repairs that they had put off because they were too embarrassed to let anyone in. Organized! by Romanic® assists clients who hoard with locating repair people who are not going to judge them by the condition of their home.
  7. Organized! by Romanic® meets a person who hoards where they are, and goes from there: Organized! by Romanic® has talked with some clients once or twice a year for 2 or 3 years before the client was brave enough to make and keep an appointment. Other clients have wanted to meet Organized! by Romanic® in a “safe” setting for the first time, such as on the porch of their home, in a restaurant, etc. before they decided to open the door to their home.
  8. Whether hoarding is involved or not, Organized! by Romanic® is sensitive to the fact that by the time a client finds the courage to pick up their phone and invite a stranger into their home to go through their stuff with or for them, that the client has already been struggling for a long time, is probably very nervous, and is really tired of feeling bad about being unable to manage the clutter. Organized! by Romanic® makes every effort to make the entire process as easy as possible on clients.