Hoarding, if left alone, can very negatively impact a person‘s life. We are here to aid you with our guide on how to help a hoarding family member use self-storage units. Hoarder’s can become obsessed with getting and keeping more things to the point of letting their jobs, everyday life, and even relationships with their loved ones suffer. Thankfully, the condition can be improved with time and patience, even if it does require a lot of work and dedication.
However, it is often the case that the hoarder refuses to look for professional help. They might not be ready to accept that they have a problem or be ashamed of their condition and not want to let anyone outside their family know. However, there is still plenty you can do to help your family member!
Designate a self-storage unit for their hoarding habits
The first step is getting a self-store unit! You will, of course, have to carefully consider how big the unit should be. Since the goal is a gradual improvement of their condition, you do not want it to be too big, but you do not want it to be intimidatingly small for their sensibilities either. You might want to include them in the decision-making process, but it is crucial to step in if they start eying space that is obviously too big.
Once you have chosen the perfectly sized unit for your needs, you will want to get them to promise to use it, and only it, for their hoarding habits. This might be difficult, especially at first. However, it helps that you are not asking them to stop collecting stuff altogether. Instead, you are only asking that they confine it to the space available.
Organize the storage unit
The second step is to properly pack and organize everything so it can be stored long-term. Try to make a list of everything that has gone into the storage. While doing so, you will also want to guide them into separating the items into several different types: the things that have actual sentimental value, items they personally like, and things they got and kept simply due to their hoarding habits.
How to help a hoarding family member use self-storage units really starts with helping them to organize and the better this process is completed; it will make the next several steps easier for you since you will know precisely how invested they are in which items. Of course, it might be difficult for them to properly differentiate between the three types, so you should make up a list of questions to help them along. Questions such as ‘who gave this to you?’ if the item was a gift, or ‘what do you like about it?’ if they bought it themselves.
Check the storage unit periodically
If you are going to use long-term storage solutions, it means that the items will be away from your hoarding family member for a while. So, when looking to rent for a longer period of time, it is crucial to find storage providers close enough to be able to check on the condition of your items every once in a while. If they get spoiled or damaged, your family member might want to move them back into their home, which would be counterproductive to your intentions. Similarly, you want to keep an eye on how many items they have stored away and whether they are keeping them organized.
If you do not pay attention, they might start slipping into their old habits again. Seeing as you will have probably made progress and maybe even gotten them to acknowledge they have a problem; you do not want that! In the best-case scenario, you will have no issues. Still, you must be ready to stay firm and stop them if it looks like they might be regressing and take every chance you get to further downsize the storage unit!
Assist them with decluttering
Once you have everything properly sorted and they have gotten used to living away from their items, you will want to slowly start in on the process of trimming down their hoard. Of course, they will probably be resistant to the notion first, so here are a few steps to slowly get them to accept it.
- Gift items to family members. It will probably be easier for your family member to accept giving away parts of their hoard if they will be with people, they know and visit often. You might convince them to hand off family heirlooms to their kids, for example, or use some of the knick-knacks as gifs.
- Organize a giveaway or a neighborhood sale. Once they’ve gotten used to gifting items to family, you will want to bring up a giveaway, a neighborhood sale, or even a mini storage auction to get rid of the things they don’t like. They could always use the money to gets something they’d actually like, you could argue.
- Donate items to charity. Finally, having gotten them used to the idea of letting their things go where they cannot access them anymore, you could suggest gifting certain items to charity! This might appeal to them as a way of doing something good for others and ease the difficulty of giving up pieces of their hoard.
Downsize the storage unit
Now that you have successfully made them get rid of at least a portion of their items, it is time for the next part of the plan! We want to use the fact that their storage now has unused space as an excuse to switch to a smaller one. And that is the best time to rent a storage unit again. You could use cheaper renting prices as an excuse, or even start with renting a storage unit further away from your home and switch to a closer one while taking the chance to make it smaller.
Just don’t forget that while good timing is also important for when you are renting the storage in the first place, it is even more important for when you are executing this part of the plan. If you, do it too early, your family member might lash out or even regress!
We hope you have found our guide on how to help a hoarding family member use self-storage units helpful. It might be a difficult and exhausting task, but if you persevere, you will eventually succeed! Just remember to give them enough time to come to terms with each step before pushing them to do more.