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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is it Clutter or Hoarding?

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

A room with a whole wall of built ins have loads of belongings including wood, boxes, plastic, bags, lamp shades and more In over your head? We can help.

Who of us at school didn’t get a kick out of Shel Silberstein’s poem about “Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout? It is still a favorite!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout - Poem by Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout would not take the garbage out! She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans, candy the yams and spice the hams, and though her daddy would scream and shout, she simply would not take the garbage out. And so it piled up to the ceilings: coffee grounds, potato peelings, brown bananas, rotten peas, chunks of sour cottage cheese. It filled the can, it covered the floor, it cracked the window and blocked the door with bacon rinds and chicken bones, drippy ends of ice cream cones, prune pits, peach pits, orange peel, gloopy glumps of cold oatmeal, pizza crusts withered greens, soggy beans, and tangerines, crusts of black burned buttered toast, gristly bits of beefy roasts...The garbage rolled on down the hall, it raised the roof, it broke the wall greasy napkins, cookie crumbs, globs of gooey bubble gum, cellophane from green baloney, rubbery blubbery macaroni, peanut butter, caked and dry, curdled milk and crusts of pie, moldy melons, dried-up mustard, eggshells mixed with lemon custard, cold French fries and rancid meat, yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat. At last, the garbage reached so high that finally, it touched the sky. And all the neighbors moved away, and none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said, "OK, I'll take the garbage out!" But then, of course, it was too late
the garbage reached across the state, from New York to the Golden Gate. And there, in the garbage she did hate, poor Sarah met an awful fate that I cannot right now relate because the hour is much too late. But children, remember Sarah Stout and always take the garbage out!

We cannot help but chuckle at this humorous story that seems so exaggerated? It makes such a descriptive impact and memorable impression that it is easy to imagine all the various foods and debris piled up.  

You may wonder if what you are witnessing is a hoarding issue or simply clutter. Our possessions may bring fond memories and we may find it challenging to part to with them, this is typical. Over the years, belongings can accumulate. Drawers and cabinets that once were roomy can end up stuffed to capacity. Some people have large collections or just collect a lot of things. Keep in mind that most homes, even disorderly ones, still enable a person to freely move around and does not stem from hoarding. WebMd has some helpful fixes to assist with nipping away at clutter before you are in over your head.

To help determine your specific circumstance; you can ask yourself the following few questions with an attempt to answer as honestly as possible.  

  • How large of a collection is too much?
  • Is there sentimental or monetary value in the collection or are the items piles upon piles of empty food containers?
  • Are these items overly consuming your living space?
  • Are one or more bedrooms overtaken and out of commission?
  • Is the kitchen or bathrooms no longer functioning as intended?
  • It may be a hard question to ask, but is your accumulation negatively affecting the quality of your life?
  • Are your surroundings safe, are doors and walkways clear of debris in the event of a fire?

Per the Mayo Clinic, a person with a hoarding disorder may experience anxiety with even the mere thought of needing to dispose of items. Hoarding disorders can range in severity. People who suffer from this disorder may find it difficult to discard any possession whether it has monetary value or not. As time passes the issue could become worse with continued accumulation of items classified by most as recyclables or trash. It may start to develop into a problem when the items take up the vast majority of the home. Living conditions can become unsanitary perhaps even bring in vermin. Once furniture and walkways are covered and no longer functional, deciding to seek professional help may be the best option.

Over the years our team has assisted multiple families to sort, clean, and fully disinfect their homes with bio-remediation. Rooms once filled waste high with everything from spoiled food, bottles, boxes, clothes, papers, diapers, infestation, feces, etc. are repaired, organized and given a fresh start. If this description sounds all too familiar, please know that with proper assistance, things can get better. Psychology today informs us that 1 in 50 struggle with hoarding. We recognize that it is not your fault and understand that deciding to discard any of your belongings can be extremely challenging. Nevertheless, anxiety tends to get worse when belongings push you out of house and home. As the poem above wisely advised us, take time to take the garbage out.

If you find yourself, or someone you love, overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next, call SERVPRO of West Covina because we can help. We work hard to listen to your concerns, maintain your trust, and proceed at a pace comfortable for you. Have the confidence of knowing that your situation will be handled discreetly. Do not put it off any longer, call today to inquire further.

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