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Helping a child affected by hoarding

We helped friends help a teenager; they restored our faith in humanity

by Christopher Lancette

Tragedy is involved at every level of cleaning up hoarder houses. It’s tragic that any human being has to suffer from what is officially recognized as a mental disorder. Tragedy can also trigger people to start hoarding. Worse, a lot of people suffering from hoarding aren’t able to get the professional therapy they need. Many also lack a support network of loved ones willing to help.

Every time we think we’ve encountered the most horrendous hoarding situation we’ll ever encounter, we’re wrong. Tragedy and misery mix with the junk and decay in a hoarder’s house, seeping into the souls of all who enter. We know our work liquidating estates and cleaning hoarding houses makes a difference in the life of an afflicted individual. It also removes a burden from surviving family members.

But knowing that doesn’t make the work any easier.

Friends’ compassion for a child affected by hoarding brings tears to our eyes

One project, though, did as much to transform our lives for the better as it did the person we were hired to help.

We witnessed a group of friends and neighbors selflessly give their time, energy and money to help a child of a friend of theirs. The child’s last remaining relative, a hoarder, died — leaving the teenager in a filthy house.

But it gets worse: the teenager had also developed hoarding behavior.

The group of friends took the child to care for as their own. They worked with a team of professionals to help the child confront a barrage of problems. This included estate attorneys, psychologists, social service workers and, ultimately, us. The friends group hired us to clear and clean the house so that they could sell it. They also tasked us with finding a select few items in good enough shape for the child to keep as memories. (A psychologist specializing in hoarding advised the friends not to let the child in the home during our work.)

Finding items not in great disrepair was no easy task. We suggested that we photograph as many items as we could so that the teenager at least had those instead of deteriorating objects. We also offered to make a video for the child of us telling the story of the extraordinary work everyone took to help treat all items in the home with respect.

Watching the extraordinary love, compassion, and unselfishness of the group of friends made me cry. I’ve never lost it on a hoarding job but I had to lean on them for hugs instead of the other way around. They were just that beautiful to watch.

The end result of the project for a teenager suffering from loss and hoarding?

We accomplished a great deal for the group of friends and the teenager. Among other things, we:

  • Managed to find at least a number of mementos to save for the child.
  • Rescued a large number of items that could be donated so that the child knew things she had no ability to keep went to good use.
  • Emptied the house so that it could be sold for the child.

The end result for the hoarding house cleanout company?

On behalf of our entire Orion’s Attic team, I thanked the group of friends for restoring our faith in humanity.

Learn more about the work we do to help solve the burdens hoarding houses cause in our Hoarding section.

Explore how we liquidate traditional homes in our Estate Liquidation Guide.

Contact us today to find out how we can be of service to you.

About Us: Orion’s Attic is a full-service estate liquidation, downsizing, and home cleanout company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. We also buy antiques and collectibles.  We serve Montgomery County and the entire metro Washington D.C. area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia).


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