Hoarders – Their Homes – Ways Families Might Cope

Are you, or is a family member or friend a Hoarder…?

There is a collecting instinct in all of us. A way that we are natural gatherers. A biological imperative that directs us to gather the many materials needed to sustain our lives. It’s as if somewhere in our DNA, there is a rule that we must find and store extra stuff, and store that stuff close at hand – in case one day there should be famine or war, or some other time of grave shortage.

All of us have this…

A Hoarder has this same Collecting Impulse…

Here’s a side note: We, for whatever reason have to slow down and check out the accident on the side of the freeway…craning our necks as we pass…whispering to ourselves..there by the grace of god go I – gathering information as we pass, that we hope will enable us to avoid the catastrophe of duplicating the accident we are passing…

We have a morbid curiosity: So we watch Hoarders on T.V. We shake our heads, we eye the mounds of junk in someones living room with disgust, passing a tub of popcorn between us, and we distance ourselves from the hoarders experience…commenting…”How can anyone let things get so bad…”

We Might Think Hoarding Happens To Others

But we are wrong…hoarding happens in families…in almost everyone’s direct family, or certainly in the families of some of our closest friends…Hoarding is the collecting impulse disfigured by the emotional need to feel safe in a world – all around a hoarder, that feels so very out of control…it is a buffer…a way to distance oneself from the pain of not being connected enough to other more useful strategies of actually connecting with others…

If you are a friend of a hoarder, or one of your family members has heaps and piles of debris that they must pass through on their way to a small place of comfort on a bed, piled high on all sides with the detritus of their collecting impulse gone astray – you might remember, you can help them now…aid them in having a better more connected life, or you can do nothing, and with the high note of your disgust, you can empty their homes into debris boxes once they pass…

At Some Point All Hoarders Must Be Dwelt With…

My vote is for doing something about it now…

But first, here are some ways to better approach hoarding and hoarders…

Suspend your Judgement.

Remember, this Person is Human.

Avoid Reiterations of Past Conflicts and Disappointments.

Add Love to a healthy and robust strategy of taking things in small measurable steps.

Take Care,

Martin Codina

CEO Fine Estate Sales

Another Article: Understanding Elderly Hoarding

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

6 thoughts on “Hoarders – Their Homes – Ways Families Might Cope

  1. Uh oh… that’s pretty much of a mess in the photo. But anyways, sometimes unconsciously we just collect things and after we know it’s already crowded and unnecessary. That was a good tip in dealing with hoarding and hoarders. Thanks for the share.

  2. Not always, but often, It seems that there is a traumatic change that triggers being unable to deal with “things” in a rational manner. It snowballs from there until it is just easier to pass by all the piles than to deal with them. I think you are so right, they are people. I hope we all take time to look in on those we care about and notice changes that we may be able to help with; and insist on helping not just saying the words!

    In the estate sales business we often see what happens when loved ones are left on their own with the things they hoard — family is left to deal with the layers of items after the person is deceased. Why not help them before hand, and allow them to have a more dignified existence while living!

  3. Martin, I know you wrote this some time ago. Nevertheless, I want to comment on your compassionate viewpoint. Thanks for mentioning how people look with wonder at things that are not happening to them, or that they believe are not happening to them. That is such an interesting observation to include in this commentary.

    But, above all, your explanation for hoarding is sympathetic and compassionate. There is great kindness in your words.

    Thank you!

  4. Martin,
    Excellent article. Folks need this reminder that hoarders exist in all families and in all neighborhoods.
    And your point about suspending judgement… and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT N.O.W. is well taken. MER

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