Too Much Stuff Helping Hoarders Clean Up

 “Sue“ is a retired professional who is well-to-do, rarely eats at home and has lived  in her condo for decades. While everything seems perfect from the outside, Sue  is the keeper of a dirty little secret.  

 When the unit above hers suffers a plumbing leak and the property manager has to  gain access to Sue's unit to assess the scope of the problem, the manager not  only can't get into Sue's bathroom to look for leak damage, he can't even get  past her foyer. There are shopping bags, piles of clothing (some with the tags  still on them), collectibles, hundreds of plastic recyclables, stacks and  stacks of books, flea-market finds, and piles of newspapers dating back decades  blocking every doorway, climbing up the walls, leaning crazily against  half-buried furniture, and reducing hallways to narrow, dimly-lit footpaths  only a foot or so wide. Much to her mortification and her neighbors' shock,  Sue's secret is out: she is a hoarder.  

 According to the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Foundation, a  hoarder is someone who obsessively acquires too many possessions and/or has  enormous difficulty discarding or getting rid of them when they are no longer  useful or needed. Of course, lots of people battle clutter, and lots of people  collect things – but when this behavior spirals out of control and threatens a person’s health or safety or leads to distress it becomes a ‘disorder.’  

 In Sue’s unit, the piles of shopping bags, newspapers, and other detritus blocked  exits, and the inaccessible bathroom made it impossible to repair the plumbing,  which in turn lead to mold problems. Sue's situation was so bad that had there  been an emergency, it would be impossible for first responders to get to Sue in  time to help her.  

 Hoarding Signs

 Unless—as in Sue's case—you’re granted access to a person's home, it's often hard to tell if someone in your  association is struggling with hoarding.  


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  • Thanks for this site. I live in a 44 unit condo. One of our owners is a hoarder. We share a common area in an enclosed parking garage and this person has so much junk spilling over into her parking space. Our by-laws states "unit owners are to maintain the storage space behind their vehicles in an orderly manner. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in a fine as determined by the Board." We as a Board have fined her over and over and she pays no attention to the fines or to cleaning up the mess in our common garage. Is there anyway that we, as a Board, can clean out the junk? Her unit is even worse but that's her unit and if she wants to live like that, that's up tp her. Thanks.