When throwing things away becomes hard

When throwing things away becomes hard

 

 

Say “hoarder” and images of stacked newspapers and boxes, little space to move, and in some cases, scurrying cockroaches come to mind.
 
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These are the kinds of homes that Habitat for Humanity Singapore has entered and tried to turn around. Decluttering them, however, does not mean entirely ridding them of unwanted items.
 
“When you use the word declutter, we are always assuming that we are able to get the hoarder to fully declutter but in our experience, we have not seen too many cases of that happening for those who severely hoard things,” said Mr Yong Teck Meng, the housing charity’s national director.
 
It is a “huge challenge”, he told CNA938.
 
“Every item you want to discard, you need to get the permission of the hoarder. Maybe about one hour, two hours down into the activity of decluttering, the hoarder will tell you that he or she is not able to go on because it's very traumatic to him, so then you have to stop,” he said.
 
What is more common is reducing the severity of hoarding to some extent, said Mr Yong.
 
Among the homes his organisation has tried to improve is one in Jurong that was so blocked that its occupier had to climb over a small mountain of items just to get inside. At another home, 33 visits over one-and-a-half years led to the clearing of just one-third of its contents.
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