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April 26, 2020

Decreasing Shame for Youth Living in Hoarded Homes During The COVID-19 Crisis

Children and youth living in hoarded homes generally are able to escape those homes on a regular basis. 

They are able to connect with others away from the chaos and clutter  by attending school, church events, youth centers, maybe providing childcare for friends or neighbors or pet sitting for others. 

It can be especially difficult to be home knowing that they cannot leave or escape the chaos.  Even worse, now they may have to be online, on camera and may not have a clutter free space to do this activity.

They may also have limited space to work on their homework or complete school projects. 

Often in hoarding a person is unable to move things around or clear up a space without an emotional eruption from the person that hoards.  

Although the child or youth may desperately want to have a clear space, fighting for it becomes a battle that belittles their self-worth and results in verbal abuse.  So they choose not to fight the battle. 

For youth living in these situations, here are three tips that may help you survive this time of being even *more* isolated during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. If you have a space that you claim as your own, keep it organized & easy for you to use. If possible, don’t let other people put their things in your space.
  2. If you are not allowed to “move anything” but still need to be on camera or visible online, hang a curtain or blanket to block out the clutter. 
  3. Connect with other people and stay in touch with your friends & people you care about through social media, text, phone. 

Please know that you are not alone and that there are people who have survived a hoarded home & moved on to live lives away from that environment. 

Here are a couple of resources that might also be helpful:

Online support forMinor and Youth Children of Hoarding Parents (MYCOHP)

Tips for Youth to Survive a Hoarded Home

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Tammi Moses  |  Contribution: 145