Helping Hoarders: How to Get their Space in Order

We all probably know someone who has way too much stuff.  It’s easy for junk to pile up and take over our homes.  Most of us eventually clean it up, but some people have a very difficult time with this task.  This condition is called hoarding. Helping hoarders is important and we have some tips.

Definition of Hoarding

Hoarding disorder occurs when a person hangs on to a bunch of items and just can’t get rid of them.  Doing so causes them significant distress. Hoarding can lead to dangerous clutter and unsafe living conditions. It can also interfere with a person’s quality of life.  Up to 6% of people in the U.S. have hoarding disorder.

Common Hoarded Items

Things that hoarders tend to keep include newspapers, magazines, household goods and clothing.  Animals can add up too, which are often not properly cared for.  Hoarders often pile up items that have little or no monetary value.  The reason is they are convinced they might need the items in the future.

Hoarding Versus Clutter

If you realize you have clutter, that’s a good sign.  You just need to motivate yourself to organize it and throw out stuff you don’t need. Hoarding occurs when people become obsessed with holding onto items and can’t get a handle on clutter.  The first step is to admit to yourself you need help.

Help for Hoarders

Here are some key tips to help you cope with the disorder.

Start slowly.  Take small steps forward when dealing with hoarding.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Seek Therapy.  A professional can help you cope with difficult feelings that surface as you start the clean up process.  Hoarders often have physical and emotional baggage that needs addressing.

Find a Support Group. Join a community of others who are in the same boat.  You will feel less isolated.

How to Assist Hoarders

If you are helping someone clear out their hoarded clutter, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Respect their decisions.  Hoarders are often emotionally attached to their items.  Stuff that may not matter to us, can be extremely important to them.  Don’t take charge. If you take over their space, they might not let you help.  Be patient.  It can take a long time for hoarders to part with items.  Celebrate successes.  Offer encouragement when they finish cleaning up a small area.

How to Overcome Hoarding

Although it can take a long time, you can overcome hoarding.  Here are some ways you can help kick it to the curb.

No use for it.  If you have no use for an object, get rid of it. The question is not whether you can use an object, but if you’re going to actually use it.

Keep only one copy. There’s no need to hang on to extra bicycles or microwaves, for instance.  Just keep one of them and part with the extras.

Make a few piles.  Put aside one pile for items you want to keep, a second one for donations, and a third for things to throw away.  Then, take action.

Don’t overthink it. Once you decide the fate of an item, don’t look back.   You will never free yourself of clutter if the decision-making process is too long or complicated.

Be strong.  Be willing to face your fears and understand which are irrational.  Also, be patient.  Noone overcomes a hoarding problem overnight.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

When a disaster strikes,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair, clean-up services, including compassion cleaning, and more for homeowners and businesses. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and fire.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.



Summer Fire Safety Tips

Summer is almost here and that means backyard barbeques, campfires, and fireworks. With that being said, we have some fire safety tips for the summer in order to help you stay safe.

However, along with the outdoor fun comes a risk of fires and injuries. Keep these fire safety tips in mind as you enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Grilling Safety Basics

Grilling is an extremely popular summertime activity.  Before you pull out your grill for the season, be sure to do a pre-check. Gas grills can have leaks and breaks.  Check the gas tank hose before firing up your grill for the first time.  If you smell gas and there is no flame, turn it off. Get the grill serviced before using it again.

  • Clean the grill after every use. Don’t let leftover grease and fat build up and possibly catch fire.
  • If you have a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid to light it. Never add more to the flames to make them bigger.
  • Keep the grill at least three feet from anything that can catch fire. This includes your house, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Never fire up a grill indoors or in an enclosed space. They are meant for outdoor use only.
  • Always keep an eye on the grill while cooking. Don’t leave it unattended.

Outdoor Fire Safety

Many of us enjoy warming up by a fire pit when evening comes, or lighting up a campfire and sleeping under the stars.  Keep in mind that campfires are allowed only in permitted areas. They must be at least 25 feet away from a structure or anything that can burn.  Clear away dry debris that can catch fire before lighting the campfire.

Never use gasoline to help start a campfire, or add it to an open flame.  Same goes for a fire pit or chiminea.  If an outdoor fire can’t quickly be extinguished, call 911.

Always use water and sand to douse the flames of the campfire when you’re done.

If you have a backyard fire pit, make sure it’s at least three feet away from your house or combustible materials.  Use a metal screen over wood-burning fires to keep sparks from flying out.  Closely watch children when using a firepit.  Extinguish the fire when you are done.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are dangerous and are best left to the professionals.  Enjoy them at a public Fourth of July event instead. Many people like to light sparklers at home.  If you are one of them, keep them away from children.  Sparklers can reach 1,200 F and cause third-degree burns.

Home Fire Safety

Keep your home safe from fire as well.  Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries regularly.  Check your fire extinguishers to make sure they are working.  Have a family escape plan in case a fire erupts.  Make sure all of the windows and doors are easily accessible.

Let Us Repair the Damage

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.