I took some time to watch some current hoarder’s shows and I could not believe how bad the situations were.
The sad thing about watching these people is that the hoarding is so extreme that it does not educate those who have a minor problem as to what to do. Just about all they can do is hall most of the junk away in big trash containers. I rarely see them putting things in categories like trash, give away, high priority, papers to sort and so forth. All I saw was a lot of high emotion and therapy going on. Teaching people how to sort through their stuff would be such a great service. But watching these people who had such a deep rooted problem felt somewhat akin to voyeurism to me.
I know they were willing to be on the show and got paid to do so as well as got the organizing service. But so often the jobs were not really finished, and the client was not shown in a victorious state. Now that is depressing.
You know what I would do to change the shows? I would find people who were really service minded in their communities–but they had a problem getting organized. I love the programs where people who have given a lot get their houses completely changed over. How inspiring can that be! They take people who have a ton of community support, get all those people involved and then transform the home into something beautiful, useful and livable. The joy is infectious.
Wouldn’t it be great to see the whole community get involved, and the person who has the problem being totally loved and accepted by everyone? If I were the counselor, I would encourage the person to realize how much God loved him or her in spite of their problem. I would help the person to envision how much more service they could give if they could get their home in order.
If I were the organizer, I would train the volunteers to be cheerful and completely non-judgemental. Even if they were disgusted, I would demand that they keep their feelings to themselves in both facial expressions and comments–but rather focus on how much they are helping. I have always been able to do this with my clients and that is one reason why I am so good at what I do.
I would love to train the volunteers to sort through the stuff. First we would get a clear agreement from the client as to what could be thrown away. I would work hard with him or her to let go of most of stuff–but be reassured that anything valuable would be set out in flat boxes and in a special area so that the client could easily view the items.
Flat boxes would be the key. Volunteers would set out anything they thought might be worth keeping in flat boxes where the items are easily visible. A screener would come through and decide what things the client would look through. Lots of trash would be collected to clear space quickly. Anything that could be given away would immediately go into a truck.
I could put 40-50 volunteers to work giving everyone a very useful and defined task with about ten supervisors. Everyone would use their special gifts and enjoy what they were doing. Interviews with the volunteers as to why they were glad to help would be helped. The client would be shown sorting out the possibly valuable items and viewers would see how easy it is to make decisions when things are set out clearly to sort.
Papers would be put into separate boxes to be sorted separately by another crew of paper sorters. They would take things like photos and important documents and set aside. Paper sorters would know what kind of papers needed to be saved for taxes and stuff. Much would be shredded.
People would be cleaning as the sorting was going on so that immediate gratifying results could be experienced. The client could go into the house about every hour to see results and share the happy feelings.
I wish that I could participate in this new kind of hoarder’s show–boy, would I have fun. Maybe some day it will happen, and this article can serve as a seed that is planted in someone’s mind.
I know that it is somewhat inspiring to see the changes that can be made in those really yukky homes filled with trash. But I want more inspiration–so that is why I wrote down these ideas.