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5092 posts

Uber Geek

#277261 4-Oct-2020 15:47
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I have a friend who is retiring. He owns a home in Porirua, Wellington.

It's extremely run-down. It literally has a tree growing through one of the external staircases. He never vacuums or cleans, and everything is covered in thick layers of dust, which aggravate his breathing problems.

He's rather tired of Wellington. He wants to sell it, and wants to move into semi-managed home care.

The problems


  • he's kind-of a hoarder

  • he's extremely unfit, probably morbidly obese

  • he won't let me declutter for him

One options is simply move all his trash into storage, but it seems like just putting off the inevitable de-junking.

Is there a sensitive discreet professional that could help?

I know he really needs someone to help with mental health, and a fitness regime.

However just getting him into a clean healthy home would be a great move forward.

In the states, I've heard there are professionals who do nothing but organize people's home.

Does anyone know what profession that is, or know of someone in Wellington willing to do it?

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165 posts

Master Geek

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  #2579113 4-Oct-2020 16:18
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That’s a hard one to help. We know of a very intelligent woman in this situation and can’t be convinced to let go of anything. It’s a health and safety hazard because vermin collect and then migrate to the homes next door, also there is more of a fire risk. Sometimes because of this the health department and council can get involved.

Try calling Age Concern in Wellington for some advice.


5092 posts

Uber Geek

  #2579423 5-Oct-2020 09:44
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For anyone facing a similar problem, I have a solution

There are "professional organizers" in larger cities. I used this google search

"professional organizers" OR "professional organisers" OR "professional organiser" OR "declutter" OR "dejunk" OR "de-clutter" OR "de-junk" "Your city name" site:nz

I also searched google maps for my home. Clicked "search nearby" and then search for "cleaners." Look at reviews. Go to the various websites, and contact via email.

Here's a template email

I'm selling my home / I have a friend who's selling his house, in Insert city name.

He needs help with de-clutter / de-junk house.

He's hired 2 full sized skip bins to fill, and will also need a final cleaning.

It'll probably involve at least 16 hours work, maybe up to 32 hours.

Involves lifting.

Would you be interested?

Skips and bins are readily available anywhere, but Flexibin is convenient. They available at Bunnings, Mitre10, The WareHouse, PlaceMakers.

Basically $50 for the 3 cubic meter bag, plus $150 pickup in a major region.

Note many charities don't want big items, like beds, sofas, kitchen tables, because they have too much of those items already. I've have charities show up, and even warned them I had big items, and then refuse to take my items, leaving me in a lurch. So just a heads up.



5092 posts

Uber Geek

  #2579549 5-Oct-2020 13:46
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This Wellington company seemed to be very high quality. Very sympathetic.

Specializing in helping elderly hoarders, and getting house ready for sale.

165 posts

Master Geek

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  #2579655 5-Oct-2020 15:31
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Let us know how it went.

St Vincent De Paul and Sallies are always looking for furniture in Wellington. They draw the line at borer and will sometimes take smaller stuff. If you call them first they will tell you what they are short of and bonus they do collect.

6053 posts

Uber Geek

  #2579665 5-Oct-2020 16:03
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While the clutter can be addressed, by various approaches ... compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder.  The person will just start hoarding unless the underlying mental health issues are addressed.  That's assuming they can be addressed and you aren't dealing with dementia or similar.


3408 posts

Uber Geek

  #2579974 6-Oct-2020 11:35
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Assuming that the photo in the first post is from the OPs friends house, and is indicative of the rest of the house, I'd say they are more than just "kind-of a hoarder".


It can be extremely distressing for someone with hoarding tendencies to throw things away - and even more distressing for them to have someone else come in and (in their mind) arbitrarily start throwing things away.


I wish I had the name of a service that could help, unfortunately I don't. But I worry that most decluttering services won't have the experience or training to provide the mental health support required to deal with a compulsive hoarder during any decluttering process (no matter how well intentioned they are).

9 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #2580102 6-Oct-2020 14:28
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Have not had any personal experiences, just heard of them only.  Might be worth a phone call at least.


1022 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2580116 6-Oct-2020 15:14
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Paul1977: Assuming that the photo in the first post is from the OPs friends house


It's not; that's a "stock" photo, or at least used on multiple websites.


Which is not any attempt to trivialise or downplay the situation in any way - OP has my respect for attempting to address this.  Well done.


5092 posts

Uber Geek

  #2580137 6-Oct-2020 15:34
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It is a stock photo, but actually a little bit cleaner than his home.

He's reluctant even to let me into his home.

He just told me he's ashamed things have gotten so bad, and wants to sell, which I guess are good signs.

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Uber Geek


  #2580168 6-Oct-2020 16:43
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We recently did a house clearance for a friend who was intending to leave the country with pretty much just the 1st class baggage allowance. It was much easier to sort out 2 suitcase loads and some extra that were going than to consider every item. Once the bags were full it was easier for him to accept that the rest was to be disposed of.

3408 posts

Uber Geek

  #2580218 6-Oct-2020 17:47
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**NOTE: I am not a mental health professional or expert.**


I'm not sure how you'd broach the subject, but would he be prepared to talk to his GP about getting a referral for some counselling if appropriate? I think there are free services available, and he may find them helpful.


Suggestions about dealing with mental health issues on an Internet forum (including the below) should be taken as uninformed and uneducated opinions only.


If seeking advice or counselling from a mental health professional isn't an option, then a first step (which you may have already done) might be to see what approach your friend is happy to take. He's recognized that things are out of control, and that's good, but actually doing something about it will likely be really difficult for him so I think he really needs to be on board with any strategy.


It might be difficult for him to talk about if he feels ashamed, but have you asked him why he finds it difficult to get rid of things? He probably recognises it's irrational, but talking to someone without feeling judged might help. Rather than suggesting a solution (unless he asks), just let him know you're happy to help if you can and ask how you can help him.


He might be able to sort out what's important and let the rest go like @bung said, but I don't know how likely that is with a hoarder. I would have thought more likely is he'd want to feel in control of the process, which might mean going through the house with someone he trusts one item at a time.


However difficult and daunting the process looks to you, it will be much harder for your friend. Unfortunately, recognising you have a problem often doesn't make it any easier to overcome it.


But as @MikeAqua said, he needs to learn methods and techniques to deal with the compulsive behavior (assuming that's the problem) or else he'll likely just start hoarding again.


**NOTE: I am not a mental health professional or expert.**

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