Posts Tagged ‘hoarding’

Ever since A&E thrust hoarders into the limelight, audiences have been captivated. The season 5 premiere attracted 2.4 million viewers – an increase of 60% over the previous season. So what is it about Hoarders that keep us captivated? Is it the shock value? Or as one blogger puts it, do we see a little bit of ourselves in each of these hoarders?

Could it simply be that Hoarders is fascinating because few people understand hoarding disorder?

That’s what we’re going with. We believe one of the draws of the show is that people simply can’t understand hoarding. It’s perplexing. How can the people on the show function in their day to day life, many holding down a full-time job, while their living conditions are so bad. How do their family members and friends not notice? And most commonly asked, how did they let things get that bad?

And it makes sense that viewers would be perplexed. The average person has very little personal experience with hoarders. Hoarders are relatively rare and one of the trademarks of the disorder is a deep shame at the condition of your house which leads to social isolation. For these reasons, most people don’t know a hoarder personally and those who do, probably won’t know they know one.

Fortunately, there are tons of great online resources that can help educate people about hoarding disorders. Here are some of our favorites…

Is It Normal to Hoard?

This great article tries to answer a simple question (is it normal to hoard?) by answering other questions such as: Is there an evolutionary benefit to hoarding? Are hoarder’s brains different than non-hoarders? Why do animals hoard? It’s an interesting, easy to understand look at the scientific research behind hoarding.

Read it here: http://m.nautil.us/issue/10/mergers–acquisitions/is-it-normal-to-hoard

Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean about Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding

The show Hoarders does a great job of portraying the stressed relationship many hoarders have with their children. Dirty Secret does a great job of portraying this relationship from the point of view of a child of a hoarder. From the embarrassment she felt as a child to the shame she felt when she contracted bugs from her mother’s how to the sense of duty she feels to help her mother, Jessie Sholl does a great job of taking us inside the emotional rollercoaster many children of hoarders feel.

The book can be purchased on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

The Dirty, Stinking Truth About Real-Life Hoarders

As an Austin waste management company, we’re frequently asked if real life hoards are as bad as the ones show on TV. To answer that question, we’re just going to refer you to this article by the Huffington Post that shows several photos of real life hoards. WARNING: THESE ARE GRAPHIC!

Read the article here: http://m.nautil.us/issue/10/mergers–acquisitions/is-it-normal-to-hoard

Hopefully, these articles provide a little insight into the minds of hoarders.

And of course, if you need help cleaning up a hoard in the Austin area, you can always find us on Facebook or Twitter!

As an Austin trash removal company, we don’t find many books out there that are relevant to our industry, informative and interesting. Dirty Secret In fact, Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding may actually be the only one.

Ever since the show Hoarders began airing in 2009, America has become fascinated with hoarders. The show was so successful it even inspired a couple of spin offs.

But as we all know “realty” TV frequently doesn’t reflect realty at all and that’s where, Dirty Secret comes in. Written by Jessie Sholl, Dirty Secret tells the story of Jessie’s complicated relationship with her hoarder mother. The book follows the relationship between Jessie and her mother from her childhood to almost present day, carefully examining the way Jessie’s mother’s mental illness affects both of them.

The book focuses heavily on the emotional turmoil children of hoarders experience. The feelings of isolation, the embarrassment and shame, the reversal of the child/parent roles, the mixture of pity and anger towards the parent are all discussed in the book with a refreshing breath of honesty.

Jessie’s mother is a complex character. Her behavior is frustrating and sometimes, downright cruel, but as Jessie shares more and more of her mother’s upbringing, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for the mother as well. She, too, is a victim of her hoarding.

As Jessie struggles with her feelings towards her mother, she also struggles to clean up the hoard. We don’t want to spoil the book, so we’ll just say that the book does an excellent job of showing the safety hazardous associated with hoarding.

Through the book, there is tons of facts and research regarding hoarders in general. Overall, the book is very informative about hoarders, but it’s never dull. In fact, a few parts are quite humorous.

So if you’re the loved one of a hoarder struggling to understand them or simply a book lover looking for a great read, we highly recommend you check out Dirty Secrets.

And if you do, find Austin trash removal contractor Dirty Work on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you thought! 

areyouahoarder

If you’ve ever watched Hoarders, you may have been surprised at how many of the hoarders don’t realize they have a problem. Many think they’re “packrats” or “eccentrics.” So where’s the line? When does your love of junk become a problem?

If you’re concerned you may be a hoarder, answer these questions:

1. Does thinking about throwing away items cause you anxiety?

2. Do you keep items that you know others wouldn’t see the value in?

3. Do you keep items that should have been placed in the trash?

4. Do you avoid having friends and family over because you don’t want them to see the condition of your home?

5. Are you ashamed of your living conditions?

6. Do you feel a sense of loss when your items are thrown away?

7. Do you feel angry that your friends and family can’t see how valuable your possessions are?

8. Has your love of items caused stress in your interpersonal relationships?

9. Do you fear throwing items away because you may need them some day?

10. Do you frequently acquire new items that you don’t need?

11. Has the mess made your home unlivable?

12. Are your bed, kitchen counters, dining room table and other commonly used areas so full of junk, you can’t use them?

13. Do you have to clear a path through the junk to walk through your house?

14. Are your children embarrassed to have friends see their home?

15. Has the mess gotten so bad that you wouldn’t be able to clean it up on your own now even if you wanted to?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have hoarding tendencies. Contact a local mental health professional who specializes in hoarding disorder.

If you just want more information on hoarding disorder, find Austin junk hauling contractor Dirty Work on FacebookTwitter or Google+.

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Did you know there are an estimated 1.3 million hoarders in the United States alone?

Psychologists believe there are several different reasons why these people hoard.

One is genetics. Up to 30% of hoarders have a close family member who also hoards. A 2007 study from John Hopkins University School of Medicine studied the DNA of 219 families who suffered from OCD. The findings suggested that a region on chromosome 14 in the OCD families were connected with having hoarding tendencies. If the family suffered from OCD, but not hoarding tendencies, their chromosome 14 was fine, but their chromosome 3 was affected.

This leads credence to the idea that hoarding is genetic.

But some psychologists believe that hoarding is less genetic and more a left over evolutionary practice. From an evolutionary practice, hoarding makes perfect sense. If you never knew when you would catch another meal, wouldn’t you hoard all the food you had?

So which is it? Is hoarding a left over evolutionary trait or a genetic illness?

Probably a combination of both. It seems likely that hoarding is probably a combination of genetic, evolutionary and environmental factors, but more research will be needed to determine a clear cut reason for the disorder.

We’ll keep you posted on any break-through research in hoarding disorder here or on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+

Children of Hoarders

Can you imagine growing up surrounded by trash that you weren’t allowed to throw away? What about being too ashamed by the way your home looks to have friends over? Or growing up in the 90’s without working indoor plumbing?

Unfortunately, for children of hoarders, this is the reality of their childhood.

Homes of hoarders contain tons of safety hazards and are unsafe for anyone, let alone children, to live in, but people who grew up with hoarder parents often say the emotional scars are worse.

Fortunately, children of hoarders are now able to find support from each other online. Here are some online resources where children of hoarders can meet, share stories and support each other.

Children of Hoarders

Children of Hoarders is the most well-known resource for adults struggling to cope with their parent’s hoarding behavior. The site contains dozens of excellent articles over how hoarding affects family members, tips on how to cope, resources for seeking help and areas where members can connect with each other.

Tetanus Burger

Tetanus Burger shows the struggle two sisters are going through to clean up the hoard their father left behind. It’s a blunt, honest look at how hoarders affect the lives of those around them and the mess they can leave behind.

Daughter of a Hoarder Tumblr

Daughter of a Hoarder is a sort of online diary for a woman whose mother and grandmother are hoarders. She documents the daily struggles of dealing with their hoarding tendencies.

Hoarder’s Daughter Tumblr

Hoarder’s Daughter shares stories and quotes from children of hoarders as well as information on living with a hoarder. It’s a great community of people working to overcome a stressful situation together.

The Hoarder’s Daughter

The Hoarder’s Daughter includes great personal, first-hand accounts from children who grew up with hoarders. The blog follows the author’s progress in coming to terms with her mother’s mental health issues and hoarding disorder. 

To keep up to date on all the latest hoarding information, find Austin trash removal contractor Dirty Work on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Austin trash removal

We’ve noticed several people have found our blog while searching for resources on how to clean up a hoarder’s home themselves. If you’re curious about DIY hoard cleanup, here are a few things you need to consider.

Safety! Safety! Safety!

Hoards are full of safety hazards. They frequently contain tons of bugs and spiders. You must be able to identify poisonous spiders if you want to clean up a hoard on your own.

In addition, the homes of pet hoarders often have toxic levels of ammonia in them from all the animal urine in the house. You’ll need gas masks to enter these homes.

Lastly, watch for broken glass and be careful when removing items to prevent other items from falling on you.

Time

You can’t clean up a hoard in a day. You’ll probably need at least a week to clean up a hoard. If time is of the essence, which is often the case when a hoarder’s home is about to be foreclosed on, you should probably hire an Austin trash removal company. They can bring out an entire team of guys who can get your hoard cleaned up in anywhere from one day to a few days, depending on its size.

Equipment

Many people, understandably, don’t want to put the junk they cleaned up from a hoard in their car to haul it to the dump, but even if you’re okay with putting the junk in your car, think how many trips to the dump you would have to make.

So while you may be saving a bit of money by cleaning up a hoard yourself, you’ll have to worry about safety hazards, time constraints and lack of equipment.

If you decide it’s not worth doing it yourself, you can call Austin trash removal contractor Dirty Work at 512-328-3698 or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Austin waste management As an Austin waste management contractor, we are sometimes called upon to clean up the homes of hoarders and unfortunately, sometimes these hoards contain dozens upon dozens of pets.

Experts estimate that as many as 40% of object hoarders also hoard animals, but there are only roughly 3,500 cases of animal hoarding reported each year. The discrepancy in numbers is caused by the fact that the majority of animal hoarding cases go unreported.

Why?

While there’s no official research on the reason animal hoarding goes unreported, we have a theory – the crazy cat lady.

What do we mean by that?

The stereotype of the crazy cat lady trivializes animal hoarding. We portray the crazy cat lady as an eccentric, someone with a “quirky” personality, ignoring the amount of pain and suffering animal hoarders actually cause their pets.

This leads us to see animal hoarding as a relatively harmless crime, which in turn, keeps us from reporting it. Animal hoarding, however, is a severe form of animal cruelty and it needs to be reported immediately.

If you suspect someone is hoarding animals, you can call your local police station or contact your local chapter of the ASPCA. 

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Ever since Hoarders became prime time entertainment, public awareness of hoarding disorder has been on the rise, but we bet you didn’t know these 10 things about hoarders:

  • Hoarding behaviors begin when a child is around 13 or 14 years old.
  • Only 15% of hoarders understand that their behavior is irrational.
  • Hoarding is a factor in 6% of all fire-related deaths.
  • Only 40% of hoarders hoard animals.
  • More than a million people in North America have been officially diagnosed as a hoarder.
  • 24% of hoarders consider themselves to be depressed most of the time.
  • 64% of hoarders feel that their clutter has affected their ability to form relationships with other people.
  • 1/3 of hoarders earn less than $15,000 a year.
  • As many as 1 in 20 people could be hoarders.
  • There are three types of animal hoarders – the overwhelmed caregiver, the rescuer hoarder and the exploiter hoarder.

Want to learn more about hoarding disorder? Find Austin waste management contractor Dirty Work on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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If we asked you why people hoard, what would you say?

Would you say people hoard because they have an extreme attachment to their stuff? Because they’re lazy? Because they’re mentally unwell?

What about because the brains of hoarders actually function differently than the brains of everyone else?

According to research released from the University of California at San Francisco that is exactly what it is. Researcher Carol Matthews has conducted several studies that mimic the brain activity associated with sorting, categorizing and simply thinking about throwing away your stuff. People who suffer from hoarding disorder showed increased brain activity in the region of the brain associated with decision making during this study. In layman’s terms, the hoarder is actually having a more difficult time making decisions regarding sorting, categorizing and throwing away junk.

According to the study, the most likely reason hoarders show more brain activity is because of their greater emotional attachment to their stuff. All of this combines to make making a simple organizational decision exceptionally hard for hoarders.

Another study found that hoarders experience more activity in their brain while dealing with their own stuff and less when dealing with someone else’s stuff. Add this to the previous research that suggests that hoarding is genetic and it’s easy to see why hoarding disorder can overwhelm a hoarder’s life: they’re brains are literally working against them.

To keep up with all the latest hoarding research, find Austin waste management contractor Dirty Work on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

As an Austin waste management company, we’re asked about hoarders a lot, which isn’t very surprising given the success of the television show Hoarders. So how do we deal with hoarders? What’s a hoarder’s home really like? And what’s the craziest thing we’ve seen in a hoard?

We’ll answer all those questions and more here! And if we don’t answer a question you want to know the answer to, find us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We’ll be happy to answer it there.

Question #1 – Are real life hoarders like the ones on TV?

Simply put, yes. The show does a good job of showing the extent to which hoarders are imprisoned by their junk.  It accurately portrays the struggles hoarders face in going about their day to day life while surrounded by an overwhelming mess as well as the extreme safety hazards associated with hoards.  But the show does feature more sensational hoards than we usually encounter. For example, we often clean up hoards that are full of trash, but we’ve never encountered a case of a hoarder hoarding bags of poop, like the one featured on Hoarders that we choose for one of our top five “Most Insane Hoarders’ Moments.

Question #2 – How do you clean up a hoard?

To clean up a hoard, we’ll send over a team of our junk removal experts. Different hoards will require different levels of safety precautions. For example, pet hoarders often have toxic levels of ammonia in their homes, which would mean our team would have to wear masks. After preparing, we’ll start moving stuff out of the home, where we will separate everything in the home that can be recycled or donated from the trash. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the items in a hoarder’s home are so damaged and dirty, they can’t be donated.

Question #3 – How prevalent is hoarding?

We don’t see extreme cases of hoarding that often and that’s pretty consistent with national data on the frequency of hoarding. According to researchers, there are less than 1.4 million hoarders in the United States.

Question #4 – What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in a hoard?

Hate to disappoint you, but as I mentioned earlier, the show Hoarders showcases sensational cases of hoarding. The ones we see are much more mundane. There’s usually nothing there but a bunch of junk and trash.

Want to learn more about hoarders?

Check out our other blog posts and Squidoo pages:

The Truth About Hoarders

What is Squalor Syndrome?

The 5 Worst Things to Say to a Hoarder

The 5 Best Things to Say to a Hoarder