If you’ve ever seen the show Hoarders, you probably have some idea why it’s important to be selective about allowing family members to help clean up your home.
Family members can intensify the pull of the root cause of the problem. Often, someone who’s collected more things than their home can safely hold has gone through a trauma. It’s likely that family members are in some way tied up with that trauma. Addressing trauma symptoms while the gravity of the trauma is made stronger by presence of other players in it is a tall order.
Power and control issues can come with family ties. Even if your relative wants the best for you, if they haven’t gone through the effort to learn about you and your problem, they may jump to the conclusion that they know what is best for you. This can lead to shenanigans like applying pressure instead of empathy—or even removing items “secretly.” Again, even if family members want the best for you, their uninformed approach may make it harder for you to feel secure and in control.
While addressing the physical realities of “too much stuff” can be really hard, it should also be empowering. Rarely, family members can be truly supportive—and then they are gold.
To be helpful, family members will need to:
- Respect your stated goals for the project.
- Use your own goals to re-ground you and as a basis for advice if you find yourself stressed or confused during the process.
- Give you a break when you need one; be willing to go on a walk with you or let you go for a walk alone for a few minutes.
- Allow you to be 100% in charge of what stays and what goes.
- Not judge you for doing the “cha-cha.” Cleaning your environment is often not a one-and-done event. This is a big lifestyle change and can be two steps forward, one step back. You’ll need their total support and non-judgment to move forward.
- Give you appropriate reality checks. Part of the reason your environment has gotten out of hand is a loss of perspective on what is workable and healthy. The occasional reality check, lovingly delivered, can be helpful as long as it remains grounded in your goals for the project and your life.
Have a question about cleaning up a clutter or hoard in the Chicagoland area? Give us a call at 872-225-5217.