Excessive clutter or even just some clutter can lead to social isolation.
If we have too much stuff we may no longer feel comfortable with inviting people over. We may stop asking our friends to drop by, we may only greet visitors at the door.
It’s possible that what was once “just clutter” has now become a full blown debilitating, overwhelming hoarding situation. Sometimes this can happen gradually over time, sometimes a triggering event such as death, divorce or illness can occur that causes our living space to get out of control.
If this happens, it can quickly become an unmanageable situation that requires outside intervention.
Frequently I have these statements come up when discussing a severe clutter problem with someone that hoards:
-No one comes to visit.
-They won’t let the grandkids come over or stay the night!
-I’ve never met or even seen my grandkids!
-My [adult] kids won’t even talk to me.
-When my [adult] kids come to town, they won’t stay with me.
What I hear in these statements are pain, confusion and an inability to see how the hoarding is contributing to the problem of lost connection.
Coming to visit a hoarded home is NOT a pleasant experience & this is WHY people don’t enter the home or stay very long if they do. There is frequently no place to sit down and no clear space for a child to play. In severely hoarded situations there may be no place to cook and no bathroom available for guests to use.
In addition, there may be trip, fall & avalanche hazards and it is unsafe for children or older folks to navigate through the space. For people who do not live in cluttered spaces, visiting the hoarded home can be triggering & increase anxiety for them. There ARE valid reasons why people DO NOT visit a hoarded home & that can be hard for the person that hoards to hear.
Using kindness & compassion can go a long way when we understand that hoarding itself is about trauma & pain & a need to feel heard.
Coming to terms with a hoarding problem IS a daunting task. There are many layers to this issue. The first step is recognizing there is a problem and being aware that silence will NOT fix the issue or make it go away.
Are you struggling with a family member that hoards?
Tammi Moses is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Homes Are For Living, LLC dba The Hoarding Solution which is a Veteran Woman Owned & Operated business located in Oak Harbor, WA.
Tammi provides consultations, assessments and workshops on the issue of hoarding. She believes in inspiring others to take their adversity and use it for the greater good. She is the voice of #AKOPTH-Adult Kids of Parents That Hoard. She is also a voice & advocate for #YLITH – Youth Living in The Hoard. You can connect with Tammi at [email protected] and on Facebook & Instagram @TheHoardingSolution.