Hoarding is the act of accumulating items to excess. People who hoard often endanger themselves and their families by potentially creating hazardous and unsanitary conditions. Hoards often accumulate garbage that cannot be processed due to the inaccessibility caused by the mass. Use these tips to avoid hoarding behaviour, and to increase the safety of your home.
- Set limits on the number of any given item.
Be it jeans, cups or hats, set a reasonable amount of items to hold on to. Do you need 60 cups for a family of three? Perhaps 20 will do. Be careful not to overly compartmentalize items: 4 juice glasses + 4 mugs + 4 teacups + 4 latte mugs + 4 tumblers + 4 wine glasses = 24 items to hold liquid. Imagine the numbers when an individual buys a set of 8 or 12 of these items.
- Process incoming items.
Put items away that you are bringing into the home in a timely fashion. Part of the shopping experience should be to put items away when they are brought home. In this way items are not lost or damaged as they sit waiting to be enjoyed.
- Throw away your garbage.
In today’s world, garbage collects quickly in any home. Curtail bringing in overly packaged foods if possible, and always do your best to put garbage in a receptacle immediately. Garbage – especially food related waste – becomes a breeding ground for insects, vermin and bacteria.
- Don’t hold on to items someone else might need.
Holding onto items someone else might need later is really an excuse to hold onto it yourself. If you have such items, ask the people if they want them. If they do not, donate the items to a charity. If you don’t need it, and your friends don’t want it, why keep it?
- Get rid of an equal amount of clothes as you purchase.
Individuals who purchase clothes regularly can often find themselves with more clothes than they can ever wear. Most people need different types of clothes: work clothes, occasional clothes and regular wear. Try to keep work and regular wear clothes to an amount you can wear in a two-week period. This should stop laundry from building to unmanageable amounts.
- Have a regular interval to purge.
Fall and spring cleanings should be used as times to purge unnecessary items. Old books, movies, and items you have not used in six months or more can be donated or discarded.
- Get rid of items you haven’t fixed after a month.
Many of us have good intentions to fix items. In our busy lives, repairs often fall to the wayside. If you have unfinished projects laying around for more than a month, it is likely that you can move forward in life without that item fixed or replaced.
- Set a cleaning schedule you can stick to.
Set a daily or weekly cleaning schedule (or combination that works best for you). Setting unreasonable goals, such as scrubbing the entire bathroom everyday, will only set you up to fail. You should not have to spend more than one hour a day on all your cleaning duties.
- Create a collection based on value not volume.
Many hoarders think of themselves as collectors because their hoard started with a collection. There is nothing wrong with collecting; however, if you want a collection to appreciate with value, you should choose items based on value not volume. A large collection of small items with little worth takes up more room than several important pieces will.
- Seek counseling during difficult times.
Hoarding behaviour is often triggered by emotional stresses and past emotional abuse and/or neglect. When you are experiencing difficult times, seek assistance from a counselor who can help you through the time with clarity.
Hoarding behaviour is often a coping mechanism for individuals to deal with stress and emotional issues in their lives. Avoid becoming a hoarder by managing your actions, and finding help to deal with your issues. Hoarding can lead one down a path that is very difficult to find their way out of.