We humans love to collect stuff. From the days when we wandered the savannah foraging and collecting food supplies to today when we engage in a little ‘retail therapy’, the objects in our lives give us a sense of stability, safety, and status. Stuff makes us feel good.
But when does our love of stuff get to be too much? Collectors often take pride in their collections. They enjoy curating and displaying their items. ‘Packrats’ ‘Clutter bugs’ or simply people with ‘too much stuff’ are more likely to have piles of items: out of control and in the way. Shame and guilt mean these ‘collections’ are hidden away.
People can hoard animals as well as inanimate objects.
It is estimated that 12,000 to 25,000 adults in San Francisco have hoarding behaviors. Hoarding is often isolating and hidden. Typically only the most severe cases are reported to police or public health departments.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see IF you MAY have a problem:
- Do you find it challenging to discard or let go of your possessions?
- Do you have difficulty passing up on a bargain, “freebie,” yard sale or reading materials?
- Are your rooms and/or furniture unusable for their intended purpose?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed or distressed by the amount of stuff in your living space?
- Are you embarrassed to allow visitors inside?
- Are you in financial or housing trouble because of collecting and storing your possessions?
- Could your collected things pose a potential health, safety, or fire hazard?
What if I need help?
We offer support groups, treatment groups, and 1-to-1 support for people who have too much stuff. All our groups are led by peers who model recovery and resilience.
Weekly Drop-In Support Group
- A safe, gentle non-judgmental space to share your experiences with ‘too much stuff’
- Peer-facilitated – some-one who know first-hand the struggle with too much clutter
- Learn tools and techniques to help declutter
- You’re not alone
- Free and no long-term commitment
- A great introduction to the services that MHASF offers
1st and 3rd Mondays: 5:30 – 7:00 PM
2nd and 4th Wednesdays: 3:00 – 4:30 PM
870 Market St, Suite 781 (Market and Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94102
For the current schedule click here.
- Provides a non-judgmental and culturally supportive space for LGBTQ seniors 55+ where they can share stories of their struggles, strategies, and successes
- Peer-facilitated with their own lived expertise and systems for working through the challenges of living with clutter
1st & 3rd Wednesdays: 12:30 - 2:00 pm
Open House: 65 Laguna St. SF CA.
If an individual is at risk of losing their home due to too much clutter we can provide individual peer support.
We know how it feels to be overwhelmed. And we know recovery – and change – is possible. We are a diverse team of Peer Coaches and we want to help.
WHAT WE DO:
- We listen to your situation without judgment.
- We follow your lead, process, and goals.
- We respect your confidentiality.
- We can suggest tips, strategies, and resources.
- We can make 1-3 home visits to establish a relationship and offer support.
- We may accompany you to hearings, inspections, and storage spaces.
- We can help you connect to support groups and a larger peer community.
- We encourage your action and self-empowerment.
- We model recovery and hope.
WHAT WE DON’T DO:
- Judge or criticize you.
- Touch, move or remove your possessions.
- Set goals for you or force you.
- Work weekends or after 5 pm.
Here are some tools that you may find useful:
MHASF Resource List for Minimizing Clutter – a printable brochure providing a summary of resources, including cleaning services, hauling services and more.
MHASF Drop-In Support Group Schedule – Find a community with this free peer-led support group.
MHASF List of Services – See the range of groups that MHASF offers.
Clutter Image Rating Scale - a series of photographs showing progressive degrees of clutter in various rooms. Pick the picture that most matches your situation.
OCD Foundation Hoarding Fact Sheet – contains tips on helping family and friends
San Francisco Task Force on Compulsive Hoarding – recommendations from a collective of public and private human services agencies, landlords, and individuals struggling with collecting behaviors.
4 Consequences of Having Too Much Clutter – cluttering hazards to be aware of.
ClutterLess (CL) Self-Help Group – an all volunteer, non-profit weekly in person support group meeting in Pleasanton for people with difficulty discarding unwanted items.