Work Hands On to Eliminate Health and Safety Hazards
Risks that we see in hoarded homes typically include blocked exits, tripping hazards, rodent and insect infestations, and poor air quality due to dust, mould and pet dander. In Victoria 25% of preventable deaths in house fires are in hoarding houses. A professional organiser (PO) will identify specific risks and help the client fast track projects to make the home safe. This might include installing working smoke alarms, clearing a path to key exits, or removing clutter from cooking areas.
Support a Client to Declutter
Experienced POs have a range of strategies and techniques to help people let go of objects. These do not include cajoling, giving ultimatums or shaming the client! Nor does it include using time worn idioms like “If you haven’t used it in a year get rid of it!” Depending on the client’s underlying beliefs, mental health status and willingness to engage, a PO will draw on a range of non-traditional organising techniques and work-arounds to help the client make good decisions.
Teach Skills and Routines
Many clients who hoard experience deficits in their ability to sort and categorise, prioritise, set goals, and make decisions. A PO will not only help a client to transform their environment, they will help them to learn the skills and routines necessary to maintain it.
With the client’s permission, a PO will consult with other stakeholders who have an interest in the project and coordinate additional services. Frequently this may involve an NDIS plan manager, a case manager, a frustrated relative, an angry landlord, specialist cleaners and trades people. An experienced PO will take the initiative to brief all players appropriately so that careless comments or shocked looks do not halt progress.
Collaborate with Mental Health Professionals
A PO can act as the eyes and ears for therapists and participate in the treatment plan. This type of collaboration is well suited for creating long term change. The mental health professional can support the person to examine beliefs and set goals while the PO offers hands on practical support to assist in making those goals a reality.
Provide Accountability and Motivation
Good POs are calm, patient, non-judgemental and skilled at connecting clients with their goals. POs can provide accountability, structure, support and tailored strategies for people who are very fragile. They act as cheerleaders and help a client to celebrate all the little successes along the way.
If you’re a professional organiser who’s ready to help people who hoard, take a look at our training here.
If you’re someone who needs a good professional organiser to help you eliminate safety hazards, support you to declutter, teach skills, coordinate services, collaborate with your team for the best outcome and provide accountability and motivation, take a look at our Find a Provider page. All those listed have been trained by us.