Reddit reviews Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Treatments That Work)
We found 3 Reddit comments about Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Treatments That Work). Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
Oxford University Press USA
2013 I think
When packing, keep all the items you personally would deem important/necessary/"good" into boxes separate from the junk/unnecessary, and in a third category, trash. Have her unpack the first category when she moves in, and see if you can save the rest for until she's in a better place mentally and will have a better chance of recognizing that not all of that trash and junk is actually useful or necessary for her life. Try to unpack together IF and only if you personally have the mental energy. Do not do anything that stresses you our or makes you depressed/unhappy/anxious, etc. You need to take care of your own well-being first - helping a hoarder is exhausting, frustrating, and depressing, and you have no obligation to subject yourself to that if you don't want. You can help your sister with some things and then quit any time if you feel like it's negative impacting you and your happiness.
I think that therapy could be very, very helpful for your sister. Try to find a psychologist who specializes in or has experience working with people wth hoarding disorder. My mom (a hoarder) finally got a skilled therapist, and is already making good progress after two sessions. That said, my mom 100% acknowledges that she has a major problem and has hoarding disorder, so she is very open to treatment and wants to change (even if she doesn't know how and can't fully control her hoarding behavior).
As I'm sure you know, hoarding often goes along with other mental illnesses, which create a negative spiral and make the hoarding worse. For my mom, it's schizoaffective disorder (a kind of schizophrenia with both manic and depressive episodes). In my experience, getting effective treatment for her other mental disorder(s) made the hoarding much better. Now when she's manic, she isn't AS manic and doesn't go out and buy hundreds of items at a time to add to the hoard. When she's depressed, she isn't as depressed or for as long, so can get back to cleaning/daily life sooner. And her attachment to useless possessions and trash also seems to be lessening.
With comorbid mental issues, it's really hard to stop the spiral. It may not even be possible - most often you have to aim for "harm reduction" or "harm minimalization" rather than them being cured, because hoarding disorder is virtually incurable in traditional senses of the word. It will almost certainly always be there in some form, and you and your sister need to learn how to work around it, live with it, and minimize the damage it causes. You're lucky that you realized the problem now and can take steps to change the course of it. I didn't realize how horrible my mom's disease was until she was almost 70, and now I'm afraid that it's too late because her whole house and basement are stuffed with trash and there are only goatpaths. She won't have repair people into the house, so there is no electricity to half the sockets, only one stove burner out of four works, half of the sinks and toilets are broken, none of the drains work properly, and there is a massive mouse infestation. It's horrible what hoarding can do. It starts slowly, but given a couple of decades untreated can absolutely ruin your house, your mind, and your life. I am so, so glad that your sister is getting help now rather than later.
Before you can worry about how the place looks, you have to prioritize safety, and make sure that your sister's living situation is liveable and not dangerous. So, make sure that things function (her bed, sofa and bathtub are not too covered in trash to be used; there are no flammables near the stove; no tall piles that could tip over and hurt her or her animals, no rodent or bug infestations, etc.)
Not all hoarding is a form of OCD, as previously thought. Current research suggests that there can be many different causes including OCD, past trauma, genetics, difficulty with decision-making/making value judgements (pre-frontal cortex), past poverty, etc. I recommend getting some books on hoarding and reading them if you have time. I like Digging Out, a book for relatives of hoarders, and Buried in Treasures. I hope you can find copies in Germany.
Best of luck with your sister and the move. She is fortunate to have you there to help her, and I hope that you can work together to help her get to a better place mentally.
EDIT: Also, if you run out of time while packing, prioritize the important things. Worse comes to worst, you can take all the necessary items and pay someone else to help you bag/box up the trash and/or throw it out. I recommend not getting rid of anything that could be perceived as vaguely useful, but literal trash... I would personally throw it out. Your sister may be mad at you, but your mom shouldn't have to deal with it in her house. If sorting the good items from everything else is overwhelming, maybe you can ask your sister if it's alright for you to bring in outside help, like a friend. She may not want to agree, but if it's that or lose a lot of her possessions (in the event of a severe time crunch), it may be necessary. Just do the best you can - it's a really hard situation.