Recently, we heard of an intervention where a woman asked her friends to step in and help her with some of the things she has hoarded over the years.
They included a box of receipts—the food she’d bought from a now closed supermarket in Glasgow near where she lived as a student more than twenty years ago. Yes, to some of us the idea will sound preposterous but to those inclined to hoarding, hanging onto receipts isn’t that daft.
Perhaps the receipts were for food for special meals—a dinner cooked for friends in shared flats, or a romantic breakfast created the first time she invited a partner to stay the night.
But what else turns up when people hoard? They can be divided roughly into five categories—memories, information, clothing, animals and rubbish.
Our supermarket receipts lady might have hung onto what seems like worthless scraps of paper to remind herself of the carefree fun of student life. Hoarders are often frightened they will forget things, so they hold on to what is physical proof something happened. Typical examples include birthday cards, photographs, children’s drawings and school jotters, toys, old address books and videos.
Again, the supermarket receipts could be filed under this category. Doubtless they provide fascinating social history information. The prices would make most of us gasp. Gosh, were meat and cheese that cheap? And they’ll reflect the food fashions of the time. In the late 1990s, we didn’t have half as much food available as we do now. Hoarders often cite many interests and they’ll collect things to reflect this—newspapers, magazines, books, piles of articles, recipes cut out of leaflets and magazines. A lot of this information ends up on a to-be-read pile, an action that never happens.
Because hoarders hold onto everything, unexpected gems often turn up—everything from artefacts to cars, motorbikes and antiques. To outsiders, a hoarder’s home can seem piled with junk, but you never know when something could turn out to be valuable.
Clothes hoarders fit roughly two types—the shopper and the scavenger. A shopper might have drawers, wardrobes and even rooms full of clothing that hasn’t been worn, is still in its box or bag and has the tags on it. The scavenger gets a rush from finding bargains—sales, second-hand shops, car boot sales, auctions or even bins.
This tends to be more common in the United States than over here, but some people can’t help themselves and love to take in animals. Unfortunately, this often results in unintended neglect as the hoarder ends up with too many pets to provide decent care for. If the animals aren’t neutered or spayed either, their numbers keep growing. Animal charities are often called to houses where people hoarded animals and they need to rehabilitate and re-home the animals within.
Hoarders can value stuff many of us throw away. They collect packaging, tin foil, cardboard boxes, plastic bags and more because they see it. But as the amount of waste grows, it begins to take over the house and it might not be sanitary.
People will hoard anything and everything as we have found through the years when we carry out our specialist hoarder clearance service. It’s as individual as the person. If you would like help from our professional services, please phone us on 0345 319 8000.
Looking for support in the UK? No problem. Just Clear provide house clearance in Glasgow, Northampton, Exeter and further afield. Get in touch today.