What is the difference between hoarding and clutter? Clutter and hoarding may seem similar, but they are two very different things. If you’re worried about a loved one, neighbour, or colleague, and are wondering if there may be a problem, you’ll be interested to know the difference and how you can help.
What is The Difference Between Clutter and Hoarding?
Clutter and hoarding are not the same. Clutter is often the name given to general mess and untidiness which mounts up quickly. Small amounts of clutter can build up in specific places, particularly where you spend a lot of time, such as a desk or kitchen. Clutter is generally much easier to clean than a space where hoarding occurs.
Hoarding is a disorder that’s categorised as a mental health problem. People dealing with this collect an excessive number of items, storing them chaotically. They also have difficulties discarding these items. Furthermore, they may suffer from depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or loneliness. Hoarding is usually a serious issue that can affect a person’s hygiene, the ability to form relationships with others and cause fire hazards within the home.
Piles of clutter can also be harmful to health, especially if someone suffers from asthma or other breathing problems. Dust mites, bugs and rodents can appear, making a living space unsanitary. A hoarder tends to feel embarrassed about their living conditions so they may not let you into their home easily.
How to Help with Clutter and Hoarding
Understanding how to help with clutter and hoarding problems is a challenge. Hoarding disorder often requires professional help, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to tackle the root of the problem. However, if your friend or family member is ready to take the first step (and is happy for you to assist), here are a few steps to take to help them get their living space safe and clean. Otherwise, please see our guide to helping a hoarder who is in denial.
Start to Keep Clutter in Check
Letterbox mail is one of the things which easily becomes clutter in many people’s homes. When collecting mail, it either needs to be opened and dealt with or placed in recycling. Create a designated space for letters – one which gathers mail that needs to be dealt with, such as bills, and one area for letters that can be filed away. Old letters can be shredded and recycled. Junk mail that isn’t required can be placed in a recycling bin.
Note Areas of High Clutter
Where is clutter congregating the most? Is it in the kitchen, living room, garden, home office? Once the clutter is pinpointed, it can be dealt with better. Place a rubbish bin in these hotspot areas, as well as extra storage. That way, everything can have a designated home. If the hoarding is occurring all over the property, it will need to be sorted by clearing one part at a time.
Clear Entrances and Hallways
Having clutter and mess in hallways and entrances is a safety hazard. If a person needs to exit a property quickly, such as in the case of a fire, it’s going to be a serious problem. Therefore, it’s best to clear these areas first to establish an easy path for walking in and out of the property. Once all entrances to rooms are clean and clear, you can make a start on other areas, including windows.
Set a Limit
Hoarding isn’t an issue that can be dealt with overnight. Often, it can take months or years for someone to effectively deal with a hoarding problem. In the meantime, a good tip is to help a hoarder set a limit for their clutter. Create a designated room where the person can keep mess. This establishes a space for clutter while keeping the rest of the house free from hazards. You could also help the person to create a limit for their purchases. Rather than have them say ‘I’ll purchase less’, make it specific. Having a goal like only buying X number of things on X number of days is clear and concise, making it easier to be achieved.
Tackle One Room at A Time
Trying to tidy a whole property can be emotionally draining for a hoarder. Instead, tackle room by room, clearing small bits at a time. Create piles for keeping and throwing. It’s difficult for hoarders to discard items so avoid throwing everything out. Help them to keep some items which can be easily placed in storage boxes. You could also get them to donate items which can give a good feeling, especially if you’re contributing items to those in need.
Perfect Clean Now Offer Specialist Hoarder Cleaning Services to Restore Your Environment
Clutter and hoarding can be overwhelming. Instead of dealing with the situation yourself, enlist the assistance of Perfect Clean. Our expert specialist hoarder cleaning services eliminate waste and deep clean to effectively restore your environment to safe and sanitary conditions. If you’re based in Scotland and the north of England, get in touch today to discuss how we can help you.