When you look at your house and see all of the junk piled up, you might wonder what has happened to bring your home into this condition. Something in your life probably happened to make you let everything go and feel like you have to hold onto everything. Frankly, you may not even realize that you have a problem or you’ve been told by relatives or friends that you do. Here are just a few signs that you might be a hoarder.
- About 90% of your floor is covered with your possessions, and so you can barely see your floor
- You have boxes piled up everywhere, reaching the ceiling even
- You find yourself collecting things that others consider to be garbage
- You never take out the trash and feel compelled to make use of everything even though you hardly actually do just that
- You feel emotionally connected to everything in your home—things that others wouldn’t feel that way about (like tissues, broken things, old newspapers, toys, etc)
Thankfully, there are some steps that you can take to get your house clean and back to a normal standard of living. Here is what you should do:
Seek Professional Assistance
If you are a compulsive hoarder, you may need professional assistance to fully work through the problems. By seeking the services of a mental health professional, you can learn the reasons behind why you might hoard. Then, you can work together to establish a plan for addressing those issues. Speaking with a professional also allows you to articulate your goals to someone else so that person can provide you with a level of accountability. This won’t be an overnight change and can take months to get you to a point where you’ll be mentally capable of decreasing the amount of stuff that you have in your house. However, you should not hold yourself back. Take the plunge and accept all of the help and recommendations that the professional may give you.
Getting rid of all your items at one might feel overwhelming and cause you emotional distress. Consider starting with items that are easier to part with. For example, you could rent a dumpster, like those from Peterson’s Service Corp, to put old food containers or destroyed items in. You may also want to start by giving certain items away. You may have items in your house that are in good condition but that you don’t use. Consider giving them as presents when you go to upcoming parties. You may have a sense of comfort in knowing that they exist somewhere close to you. You can also ask your relatives and friends if they would like anything of yours.
Of course, this is definitely not something that you’ll be able to do by yourself if you’re like most hoarders who have a zillion things in their house. Doing it alone can cause you to break down, get distressed, and, even, give up. You do not want to give up! That is why you should get the help of friends and family members. Explain to them that you have realized your condition and ask for them to support you by helping you out. Let them know that this will take more than just a few hours of simple cleaning. There will be a ton of work!
You may be embarrassed about asking for help or letting others see the state of your home. In that case, just know that their help is coming from a place of love. Also, push the embarrassment away with thoughts of actually being able to have people come to your house and socialize once your house is back to being at a comfortable state.
Have a Sale or a Party
Try to set a positive goal for yourself. Once you have gone through your entire house, host a yard sale. Knowing that you made money from your items can help you to feel positive and can encourage you to sell items rather than hoard them in the future. Not only that, but you will know that your stuff is going to be used again. Be practical when choosing items for the sale, though. Many hoarders go by the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. While everything may be treasure to you, it can certainly be considered trash to many other people. Toss out anything that will be least likely to sale and then have everything else be up for sale. Furthermore, junk might be taking over your house to the point that you cannot invite people over. Make it a goal to have a celebration once your house is cleared of the junk to see how good it feels to be able to entertain again.
As a side not, a lot of people end up throwing away anything that they don’t sell at garage sale. However, there are many other options. You can contact thrift stores in your area that take other people’s used goods and sell them back to the community. The people who typically shop at these stores are those who are from lower income families, and so by giving your things to them, you will be helping them as well. Then, your trash will become their treasure.
Make Dedicated Spaces
Decide how much space you can reasonably dedicated to the types of items that you used to hoard. If you like to collect miniatures, allocate one shelf to them. Be strict with yourself when it comes to these limits. You don’t have to cut out all of the hobbies and activities that you loved from your life, but you do need to make sure they aren’t damaging you. You may even want to consider looking at it from a minimalist perspective and giving yourself an amount of items that you’re allowed to keep.
Getting rid of your things can feel painful at first, but you can look forward to the joy at the end. You’ll feel free and live a much more comfortable life.