It is quite common among our clients that they had no idea that their family member was a hoarder! In talking to them, there are many signs they saw, but didn’t realize they were indicators of hoarding.
So, I am going to give you the most common signs that we have observed during our hoarding cleanups services. It may not be a member of your family, but it could be a friend, co-worker or even a friend of a friend. Either way, you’ll know what to look for and who to send them to. 😉
1) They refuse to let you into their home. This is a dead giveaway. Hoarders are usually embarrassed about their “collection” and don’t want anybody to know about it. Often times hoarders will have excuses as to why you can’t enter.
2) You will also see their curtains are always closed. If they don’t have curtains they use other things to cover their windows, such as foil, boxes, boards etc.
3) They don’t open their door all the way when entering or exiting the home. Sometimes they won’t even exit the home using the front door. They’ll use the back door, or a side door.
4) In some cases, they won’t even let you near their home. If you have plans to meet them or pick them up, they will meet you at a bus stop, at the curb or some place other than their home.
5) They have multiple hide-a-keys. Hoarders are, quite obviously, not organized – or at least not in the traditional way. It is very easy and commonplace that they lose their keys. Therefore, they always have a back-up – or 3 or 4. They don’t ever want to be in a position where they need to call a locksmith.
6) Their cars are usually very messy. Typically, the condition of one’s car is an extension of their home. If it’s messy, so is their home. This isn’t always the case, but can be a very clear sign of hoarding.
7) They may have poor hygiene. I know you wouldn’t think so, but some hoarders are actually quite clean as far as their hygiene is concerned. However, most hoarders have poor hygiene because their bathrooms are hoarded and inaccessible or useable. They will try to hide this with lots of perfume, air fresheners or heavily-scented detergents.
8) They will not throw things away or may give you a hard time for throwing things away. This is really the root problem of all hoarders. As per #1, you may not be able to get inside their home to see if this is the case. However, you will see this in social or work settings. You may see them hold onto junk mail or claim that they need/want/will use the coupons (not to be confused with people who actually use the coupons).
Although there are many different types of hoarding, one we often see are QVC or home shopping network junkies. Again, this is not always the case – some people collect useful things in mass quantities while others collect flyers, newspapers, bottle caps or other useless miscellaneous items. Below, I’ll list out some of the various types of hoarding.
In 100% of our hoarding clients, we learned that the hoarder either had an extremely stressful job such as lawyer, police officer, Doctor etc. or they suffered from a loss or traumatic situations that either escalated or kick started the hoarding.
All hoarders are different. Although they may have the same condition, there are always different situations and extremes. Please realize that these are the major signs of hoarding and may not be the same for everyone. Some people may have messy cars, but immaculate homes. So, don’t go “CSI: Hoarding” on your co-workers!
If you have a genuine concern about someone you know, you can try talking lightly to them about it. You can always refer them to us or other on-line hoarding assistance.
A few different types of hoarding:
Bibliomania – This is where a person hoards books that are of no certain value to the hoarder, making them differ from a genuine book collector. Symptoms include the book hoarder purchasing multiple copies of the same book, none of them being different editions, and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment.
Larder Hoarding – This is most commonly known as food hoarding. Food hoarders stockpile various forms of food in case of emergency, but they usually take this to the extreme.
Animal Hoarding – This is pretty self explanatory. Although, most animal hoarders have the best intentions, they can find themself in a position where they can’t care for their animals properly. In most cases, they feel they are the ONLY one that can care and love for their animals and it makes it extremely difficult for them to part with one or more of the animals.
Syllogomania – Hoarding of pure trash. The hoarded items have no financial value, sentimental values and serve no functional purpose.
Recyclers – There are people who recycle and usually have a bin or two of recycling – but the recycling hoarder has room upon rooms filled with recyclables.
We have encountered other types of hoarding such as hoarding of used tampons and pads. Hoarding feces and/or used diapers etc. We have seen organized hoarding and total chaos. At the end of the day, they type of hoarding doesn’t matter – what matters is that they get help.
If you or someone you know suffers from hoarding don’t be afraid to call us at (877) 800-8110. We’re here to help.
Please note – we don’t post our clients job photos. The photos you see in this post were found on google.