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  Collector or Hoarder? It's a Fine Line

Do you tend to collect or keep things because you’ll need it “someday?” Most people collect things they don’t need, but others collect to extremes and need an intervention to help them discern between trash and treasure. We field numerous calls from people seeking help with their homes or those of their loved one’s due to safety issues. Getting someone with a hoarding problem to realize there is an issue is a necessary starting point. Help is nearby with many services available to help sort, salvage, contain and dispose of items in the home. The person must be willing to accept help in order to get the home cleaned up.

If the collector has disabilities, they may need ongoing maintenance to help them keep their living space and pathways clear. Others just need a one-time fix and they can manage their home well. Then there are the emotional folks who just can’t part with anything in the house or the memories tied to their things. This group is the hardest to help, because it’s extremely difficult for them to let go. Usually they are forced to clean their space by a notice from the health department, a letter from their Homeowner’s Association, a notice from the landlord or told by their family that it must be done. Either way, it’s not easy for someone to move forward when they’ve been collecting for so long.

The General Assembly in Illinois provides that self-neglect includes compulsive hoarding, which significantly impairs the performance of essential self-care tasks or otherwise substantially threatens life or safety. The AGING(320ILCS 20/) Adult Protective Services Act makes it illegal for seniors to hoard, as it’s considered self-neglect which is a form of abuse. Therefore, if your loved one is a senior they can be removed from the situation until it is deemed a safe space.

If you would like some help, please ask. Professional organizations do not judge you or your space. They are hired to assist you with your goals and make certain that you are the most important aspect of the solution. 

Paxem, Inc. offers organizing and decluttering assistance. Call 847-829-4437 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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