How can a Professional Organizer help a Hoarder?
When considering how to help a hoarder, it’s important to realize that people with compulsive hoarding tendencies often ascribe symbolic meaning to what others would consider mundane items. For this reason, helping hoarders is about more than just discarding trash and unwanted items; it’s about understanding the client’s connection to the item and helping him or her move beyond this emotional connection as easily as possible.
A Professional Organizer is NOT a therapist. However, we have worked with several people who hoard on all levels, (mild to major) and we are sensitive to their needs and can help them BEGIN the process in an “organized” and “thoughtful” way.
Hoarding is different from collecting. People who have collections, such as stamps or model cars, deliberately search out specific items, categorize them and carefully display their collections. Although collections can be large, they aren't usually cluttered and they don't cause the distress and impairments that are part of hoarding disorder.
If you or someone you know needs help, we're here.
NYTimes Helping those who hoard, June, 2017