hoarding-disorder

Telltale Signs Your Loved One May be Suffering from Hoarding

Everyone has stuff. And between home offices, kids, hobbies and collections of favorite items, you know how stuff can build up. Is it normal or is it hoarding? What is the difference? Here are some of the telltale signs your loved one may be suffering from hoarding that may help you differentiate.

Accumulation of Clutter

One of the first signs of a hoarding disorder is a gradual buildup of clutter in living spaces of items for which there is no immediate need or space. Your loved one might think, “I could use this someday,” or “It’s on sale, so I had better grab several of them.”

They Can’t Throw Things Away

Another sign is their difficulty in discarding items. People suffering from hoarding may keep the packaging from items purchased, pile up newspapers, thinking they’ll read them later, or salvage found items that they can potentially fix—but never do. These problems develop gradually over time, and are often hidden until the buildup becomes significant.

What are some of the other telltale signs that your loved one may have hoarding tendencies or be suffering from hoarding?

Certain Parts of the Home are Off Limits

People with hoarding disorder may try to limit access to rooms in their home to hide the problem. Look for closed doors or excuses why you can’t enter a room. Your loved one might prevent you from entering the house altogether and may become uncomfortable having any visitors at all.

Decluttering is Stalled or Stopped

Your loved one may start decluttering a room, then get waylaid and never complete the task. Sometimes there are just too many decisions to be made and even the smallest organizational task can be overwhelming. They soon stop trying and the clutter builds up even more.

They Can’t Find Things

Is your loved one constantly misplacing their keys, their purse, or other needed items? When there is too much clutter and no organizational system, these items can easily get lost. The person may often be late because they can’t find what they need in order to get out the door.

They Don’t Want to Put Things Away

People with hoarding tendencies like to see their things, and may be resistant to putting them away in closets, cabinets or boxes. Their items are likely stacked everywhere, and cover most horizontal surfaces. If you try to help organize or put things away, or even move items in order to sit in a chair, you may be scolded. Your loved one does not like to have his or her things touched.

Read our post: The Fire Dangers of Hoarding

Storage Areas are Overflowing

Take a quick look at the closets and garage. Likely, they are filled to the brim. And often, your loved one may have one or more storage facilities outside of the home, like a shed, outbuilding or a paid storage unit.

They Continue to Buy

Your loved one may be in debt, even without your knowing it, because of their compulsive need to buy. They’ll have good reasons why they needed to make a purchase, like a need to buy gifts for upcoming birthday or holiday celebration. But look outside of these gift purchases. Are the pantry and refrigerator overflowing with out-of-date foods? Are there stacks of unread books? Or unopened packages? Debt can also accumulate from the fees paid to outside storage facilities.

Related: The ICD Clutter-Hoarding Scale

What is Hoarding?

“Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them,” reports the Mayo Clinic. “A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items and excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

Cases may range from mild to severe, and can have from little to huge impact on someone’s life, or even affect day-to-day functioning. If you suspect that your loved one may be a hoarder, there may not be much you can do personally. Since hoarding disorder may stem from a mental or physiological condition, it could be time to get a trained behavioral or medical professional involved.

See our post: Hoarding is a Bigger Problem than Clearing Out Junk

Let 123JUNK Help With Junk Removal

When it’s time to clear out a home or donate items, 123JUNK can help. We understand the difficulties you can have with loved ones suffering from a hoarding disorder and truly care about assisting you. Give us a call and let’s talk about how we can help create a healthy and happy home environment for your loved one. To schedule your junk removal or cleanout services in Maryland, Washington, DC or Northern Virginia, contact 123JUNK at 1-800-364-5778.

–photo from The Mayo Clinic

Meet Paul Brown, Customer Success Representative

“If you think you can do it, you can.”  — John Burroughs

We all love it when somebody new joins the 123JUNK team, and we are pleased to introduce you to Paul Brown, our Customer Success Representative.

What is your role at 123JUNK?

I am a CSR team member—a Customer Success Representative. I am a contact point for anyone who calls in—from inquiries, information or to schedule a pickup, to compliments after the service.

How long have you been with 123JUNK?

About two months.

How did you hear about 123JUNK and why did you choose to work here?

I was searching for a way to escape waiting tables. I wanted to use more of my head than my back.  I found 123JUNK on Indeed, and then went through the recruiting process. I liked Dave Echeverria (our Director of Talent Acquisition) and the culture surrounding the team, and then I was on the truck for a few days and got to see what it was like for and with them.

How did you know it was the right fit?

I knew it on my first time interacting with the team past the interview process—getting out there with the people doing this job every day. When I met them, I could see what they were like, and I knew I would enjoy working here.

What is your favorite thing about the company?

Probably the team. I haven’t met anyone I don’t like. They are all easy to talk to. It’s a pretty down-to-earth team.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

The devil is in the details—details do count for a lot. It can mean the difference between a smooth, happy day and being frustrated and only looking forward to going home at the end of the day. It’s important to ask the right questions and clarify the situation the team will be going into. It’s not easy working the truck, so the better picture I can create for them before they arrive on site, the more smoothly the job will go.

What three words best describe you?

Creative. Determined. Meticulous. I like to see how things work and function the way they do.

What did you do before you worked here?

I have had multiple jobs, but worked most recently as a server in a restaurant. I have an Associate’s Degree from Northern Virginia Community College and a number of certifications. I’ve been a licensed insurance agent, have Solar Energy, A+ and Network+ Tech Certifications, installed telecom PBS systems, and even worked as a locksmith for a while.

Where did you grow up?

My parents were in the Army, but I spent most of my years here in Virginia. My parents live in Manassas and I have a brother and his fiancé in Nokesville.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like spending time with my fiancé and we look forward to moving ahead in life together. I also write science fiction novels and have self-published two: “Search for Sol” and “Durenda’s Stand.” It was a lot of work and it felt like a big accomplishment when they were finally published. As a teen, I thought I would be a rock star and played with different bands around the area. I love to play guitar and like it when I have a captive karaoke audience.

One last question…do you have a personal motto or mantra?

“Fortune favors the bold.” That means to be bold in what you think you can achieve in and of yourself. Don’t count yourself out before there is a reason. Be bold and go after things.

123JUNK. The leading choice for junk removal in Northern VA, Washington DC and Maryland.

We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Paul Brown. If you’d like to work here at 123JUNK, check out our current job openings.

When you’re ready to schedule junk removal from your home or office, contact 123JUNK at 1-800-364-5778.

safety first

Safety First with Junk Removal

Around here, it’s always “safety first.” From the first moments on any appointment, safety is the number one priority for our clients, their property, and our team members.

Client Safety

Safety first always applies to the safety of our clients and their property. Our team members are trained in safety measures regarding lifting and transporting items to help our client avoid physical injury from doing it themselves. That’s why they call us here at 123JUNK! And although you may want to help us, there’s no need. It’s our job to clear away the junk you no longer want or need.  One of the reasons to call 123JUNK to help haul away a heavy load is to prevent injury to yourself, your family or friends. Since we’re trained in the proper procedures, let us do the heavy work for you.

We also pay attention to the safety of your home or office, and your belongings. We take great care to avoid damaging your walls and floors, paying especial attention to corners. We pad surfaces to avoid scratches and bumps. We also respect the items you are donating and take care to safely load and transport them to our donation partners where they can be re-introduced into the community

Team Safety from Physical Injury

The teams on our trucks are required to lift heavy objects, a task that could be hazardous to their physical safety if not done correctly. That’s where training in proper lifting techniques comes into play. We teach our team members to prepare for heavy loads, asking them to think about how best to lift and maneuver objects like pianos, sofas and refrigerators. We look ahead to the pathway to clear any obstacles, prepare for steps up or down, and talk about proper body position. Lifting, carrying, and even setting down a heavy load can tax the body in different ways. Working together with their teammates is the best way to avoid physical injury from heavy loads.

Safety First from Biohazards

Biohazards are any biological material that can cause a risk to human or animal health. Some of the biohazards we could potentially come into contact with at 123JUNK include blood and bodily fluids, human or animal waste, mold and fungus spores, and industrial chemicals. Biohazards can also include viruses, toxins or things like E.coli, HIV and tuberculosis.

If we encounter a biohazard that we are not equipped to deal with, we may refuse the job. The safety of our workers is too important to us to expose them. We may need to recommend another professional to handle the job of cleaning or clearing a home or items that present a biohazard.

Safety First from Infestations

Animal and insect infestations can post another safety threat for the 123JUNK team. In addition to the biohazards of animal waste and dead carcasses, insects like bedbugs can create an unsafe haul. We don’t want to carry insects back to our offices or team members’ homes, nor do we want to introduce them into client homes or our donation partners’ facilities. (Read our blog post on Bedbugs and Junk Hauling). There are proper ways to dispose of items exposed to infestations, and we may again refuse the pickup and recommend other professionals who can help with your particular issue.

Safety First from Hazardous Materials

There are certain items that we cannot take in a general junk haul; items that need to be handled individually to prevent biohazards. We don’t want these chemicals to spill into our trucks to contaminate other items, and potentially spill out onto roadways. Nor do we want to expose our team members to environmental hazards. Items like paint, kerosene, gasoline, fertilizer, pool chemicals, ammonia, bleach, antifreeze, mercury-containing fluorescent light bults, freon coolant and just some of the items we must avoid. 123JUNK is even prevented by law from hauling many hazardous materials. These items must be disposed of at appropriate waste collection stations. (Learn more in our blog post What’s on the Hazardous Materials List?)

Safety is something we’re not willing to take a risk with, and we apologize in advance to any customers for any inconvenience. It only happens rarely because we prepare our clients and our team members so well. We just want you to get the best service possible, with the safety of all in mind.

Ready to Schedule Junk Removal with 123JUNK?

When you’re ready to schedule your junk removal in Northern Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland, contact 123JUNK.

Goodwill-store

What Goodwill Won’t Take

When many people think of getting rid of junk or excess items, they think of donating it to Goodwill. But did you know that there are many items that can’t be accepted there? So what is it Goodwill won’t take? (But we will!)

Broken or Stained Items

Goodwill and other thrift stores count on selling your donated items to raise money for their causes. They cannot sell items that are broken, damaged, soiled or missing parts.

Mattresses and Bedding

Goodwill cannot accept bedding items such as mattresses, box springs, pillows, hospital beds and waterbeds due to sanitation and safety concerns.

Large Appliances

Small appliances like a working toaster or coffeemaker are accepted, but large appliances like a refrigerator, stove, freezer, trash compactor, washer, dryer, dishwasher or hot water heater cannot be taken to Goodwill.

CRT TVs

Want to get rid of your old CRT television? Goodwill won’t take that either. Only flat screen televisions (digital) are accepted for resale.

Items Covered With Animal Hair

When you own a dog or cat, you’re bound to have animal hair on your furniture. But according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Goodwill and other thrift stores can’t accept upholstered chairs, sofas or other items where animal hair is present.

Moldy or Mildewed Items

Moldy, mildewed, wet or damp items are a health hazard and cannot be accepted due to the fact that these mold spores may spread to other items.

Recalled Items

It is illegal for stores to sell any item that has been recalled, states the CPSC under Section 19 of the Consumer Product Safety Act. “If a product is hazardous, does not comply with standards, or has been recalled, the product should be destroyed and not sold or given away to others.” Some items used in nurseries, including cribs and bassinets, for example, have caused deaths and have numerous recalls. When it doubt, toss it out.

Related: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Resellers Guide to Selling Safer Products

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials that cannot be accepted include chemicals, solvents, fuels, oil or acids.

Overly Large Items

Do you want to get rid of a swingset, exercise equipment, large furniture, swimming pool or hot tub. Guess what…Goodwill won’t take those either. Their stores are limited in size and extra-large items just won’t fit!

Building Materials

We know you hate to throw out perfectly good building materials like windows, doors, sinks, tubs and window blinds. But there are charities like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores that would love those items.

Miscellaneous Items Goodwill Won’t Take

  • Bean bag chairs
  • Sleeper sofas
  • Firearms and fireworks
  • Food and beverages
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair products
  • Auto parts including tires, wheels, batteries, and chemicals
  • Cribs with dropdown sides

What Do You Do With Items Goodwill Won’t Take? Call 123JUNK.

The best course of action for items that Goodwill and other thrift stores cannot or will not take is to call 123JUNK. With plenty of trucks covering our local communities in Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC, we can take all of these items off your hands (except for hazardous materials…we’re not allowed either).

We’ll Donate

When you dispose of items that are accepted and perfectly usable, we’ll take them to donation sites we’ve arranged with our charitable partners. They, in turn, can supply them to needy families or sell them in their resale stores to raise money. We’ll provide you with a receipt for your tax deduction purposes!

We’ll Recycle

All items we pick up are sorted into Donate-Recycle-Dispose piles and disposed of accordingly. For electronics, metals and other recycle items, we’ll take them to the area recycling centers for proper processing.

We’ll Dispose

Any items that are not donate-able or recyclable are then disposed of at the area landfills.

Contact 123JUNK Today

When you need to get rid of items that Goodwill won’t take, contact 123JUNK.