5 Decisions Away PodcastPer everyone’s request, I have posted links to my podcast 5 Decisions Away, so that you don’t have to download it on iTunes. If you do like it, PLEASE subscribe free on iTunes.
Let me stress, this is not for everyone. It’s crass, rude, funny and hopefully entertaining and informative. It’s been described as gross and inspirational, which is our goal. My Clutter Cleaner partner in crime, Cabell Hatchett, and myself talk about how we ended up cleaning hoarded homes and about the interesting things we encounter on the road.  Sometimes we’ll be joined by guests and hope that you’ll send in suggestions for topics and guests. We need your help, please send in your requests.

Understanding Hoarding

Paxton Hoarding Scale:

After working with a traditional hoarding scale used by the organizing community, Matt Paxton became frustrated that the scale focused mainly on the physical attributes of a house. He understood that the house is only half of the problem and the mental needs of a hoarder are just as important in recognizing how to help a hoarder.
So, Matt created a 2-part hoarding scale that equally identifies the physical state of a home and the mental state of a hoarder. It shows equal importance to each side and accounts for the flexibility of a hoarder’s home being completely full, but mentally not being as bad off as other hoarders or vice versa. For example, a hoarder could be living in complete squalor, but the person is mentally doing well and progressing. And on the other hand, a person could be living in a fairly clean home, but mentally they are 100% cluttered. Matt created a new scale to better understand hoarders and effectively identify the tools to help.
Paxton Hoarding Scale
By using the simple chart above, Matt Paxton identifies homes differently according to the mental state of the hoarder and the physical state of the home. A traditional home that is cluttered and the family simply needs rules to keep the home clean is a 1.1 or a 1.2 on the Paxton Hoarding Scale. Alternatively, an extreme Stage 5 hoarder that is dangerously full of physical items and the hoarder has anxiety, depression and many other needs may be a 5.4 or a 5.5 on the scale. A full explanation of all 5 stages is available in The Secret Lives of Hoarders and in the online Hoarding Education Classes presented by Clutter Cleaner.
Paxton Hoarder Scale showing Extreme Hoarder
Paxton Hoarding Scale showing cluttered home
Paxton Hoarding Scale is posted by permission from The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise, Perigee Books/Penquin Group USA Inc. Copyright ©Matt Paxton.

Hoarder Life Cycle

The Hoarder Life Cycle shows the emotional roller coaster that a hoarder will experience multiple times in their life. After cleaning a few extreme hoarding houses, Matt Paxton started to see that the hoarder became very happy during the clean-up and would have a relapse 3 days after the clean-up was completed. He saw that hoarders usually went into a deeper depression he now calls the “Hoarder Hangover.” The good news is that the depression only lasted a few days, but Matt needed to find a way to show the hoarders that it would get better. The Hoarder Life Cycle is an important tool to show hoarders that it probably will get worse before it gets better. The graph will hopefully help everyone involved understand that mood swings are part of the disease.
Hoarder Life Cycle Graph
The Hoarder Life Cycle is posted by permission from The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise, Perigee Books/Penquin Group USA Inc. Copyright ©Matt Paxton.
Feel free to download a copy of the Hoarder Life Cycle and share it with a friend if needed.