A while back, I went through a short obsession with the show Hoarders. Each episode showcases the life of one hoarder. By the time the show has come along most of these hoarders are living in houses filled with (typically) worthless possessions. Sometimes they are living in squalor. But at the very least, their houses are unlivable to the average person. Sheds could help them get their life back!
Their families are usually fed up with the amount of items in the house and many are threatening to move out or refuse to visit if they don’t clean up.
What is Hoarding?
Hoarding is a mental disorder marked by the need to keep an abundance of possessions. Hoarding can be a lifelong affliction, starting in childhood or it can strike due to trauma or emotional loss. It typically strikes before the age of 20. Hoarders often have had a tragedy strike and the hoarding fills an empty space due to loss. Hoarders often lack the ability to make small decisions and see all of their possessions as having usefulness and value, even things that most people would consider trash.
Compulsive hoarding is only in the beginning stages of research and is not considered its own disorder but is categorized under OCD. However, many hoarders do not have any of the other characteristics of OCD. Compulsive hoarding may eventually become its own disorder as it is not fully understood.
In American society, where shopping and acquisition of possessions is easily available with a variety of shopping, from malls to thrift stores, online shopping and late night television ordering, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with possessions.
Sheds Help Hoarders Get Back on their Feet
Buying sheds may be a good first step in helping out your hoarder family member or friend.
Hoarders often have no need to actually use the items they have. Just knowing they own them and have them available is often enough.
Moving possessions outside to a storage shed could be the answer you may need to get a home back in working order while your the hoarder in your family seeks psychological help to overcome the need to keep useless items.
Hoarding can make homes unlivable, filling spaces used to cook, making it hard to have a proper meal and making your kitchen a fire hazard.
Often hoarders fill up their bedrooms, closets and living areas to the degree that pests live in the house unnoticed, making disease an issue.
Are Sheds the Cure for Hoarding?
Installing sheds is certainly not a long-term answer for your hoarding family member. Hoarders often install sheds and continue to fill their homes with more stuff. But if you are helping a hoarder on the road to recovery, it might be a useful tool to help them organize and keep sentimental items, collections and items of value that are not useful in daily life. Knowing their valued possessions are nearby might help them move toward the goals of learning to live inside a clean and organized home without having to get rid of everything at once.
Hoarders often do not see their hoarding as a problem as it serves a psychological need. Having a backyard storage shed may help them notice the difference in having a functional home, and begin to see the difference in day-to-day life without the overwhelming amount of items they are storing.
Taking small steps is a positive way to help your hoarding family member get out from underneath the junk. Trying to take all their possessions away at once can often trigger more shopping and junk acquisition.
Hoarding is a mental disorder not to be taken lightly. Hoarding can be a severe psychological disorder. The emotional life of the hoarder should be treated with gentleness and care just as any mental disorder.
Having a storage shed to help your hoarding family member may be a good first step in solving a problem and help your household function again.
Signs to watch for to determine if someone is or may be a hoarder:
- - Keeping an abundance of: junk mail; freebies; old clothes; potential “craft” items that never get used; broken things that never get fixed.
- - The home or parts of the home are inaccessible: Beds have items piled on making it hard or impossible to sleep on. Kitchens are impossible to use. Refrigerators are filled with rotting food. Tables and chairs have things piled on and cannot be used. Unsanitary bathrooms with feces or rotting diapers. Tubs, showers and sinks are filled and cannot be used. This can indicate a lack of physical uncleanliness, often characteristic of hoarders. Hoarding animals. Keeping dead pets.
- - Distress over the amount of items in the house making socializing hard or impossible. Keeping the blind drawn so people cannot see their home. Refusing visitors because of clutter. Are at risk of fire or eviction because of clutter. Home is a hazard.
- - Hoarders also often show much more anxiety and sadness over the loss of items than the average person.
Storage Sheds in Behavioral Therapy
Hoarding can be treated with anti-depressants and cognitive behavioral therapy. If you are considering using storage sheds in behavioral therapy, hoarding can be treated by teaching the hoarder to learn how to organize. The use of a professional organizer can be very helpful. Professional organizers can often give tips on de-cluttering and sensitively fine tune organizational habits.
Learning relaxations skills can also be useful. As well as maintenance, checking in with the hoarder and revisiting behavioral issues can be ongoing. Even if you’re not a hoarder and just have a lot of stuff you like to collect, a shed might be exactly what the doctor ordered!