A person with hoarding behavior as well as an individual diagnosed with clinical hoarding disorder will have major issues parting with hoarded items. When an individual in either category – hoarding behavior and hoarding disorder – makes the decision to let go of items in their hoard, that really is a momentous decision.
As a consequence, it becomes vital to develop a meaningful strategy by which items can be eliminated from such an individual’s home. One strategy that works as an important component for addressing hoarder property cleanup is what is known by many as the OHIO Rule.
In this article, we discuss five topics associated with the OHIO Rule:
- What is the OHIO Rule?
- Only one item at a time
- Establish item categories
- Don’t overdue
- Seek help and support
What Is the OHIO Rule?
The OHIO Rule is actually a very simple directive:
Only handle it once.
The process associated with the OHIO Rule is simple. You pick up an item, examine it, decide where it goes, put it where it goes – and you’re done with it. As will be discussed in a moment, you establish three categories into which items are to go when using the OHIO Rule.
There is a caveat to the OHIO Rule that should not be used regularly. There may be instances in which practicality or some other reason indicates a second handling might be acceptable. However, it is important to stress that this is a rarely used exception to the OHIO Rule.
Only One Item at a Time
The OHIO Rule not only calls for you to handle an item only once it also recommends – and strongly so – holding only one item at a time. In other words, do not have an item in each hand. Do not even take the course of holding an item in one hand while examining another. The bottom line with the OHIO Rule is that you give one particular item your full attention and then you dispense with it for good.
Establish Item Categories
According to adherents to the OHIO Rule, you should establish three distinct categories into which items are to be placed after you hold and examine it one time. These categories are keep, donate, discard.
Keep: Historically in a hoarder’s past, keep would be the primary if not the only category if a person with hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder decided to examine and consider items he or she had in his or her possession. When a serious decision has been made to address a hoard and hoarding, the keep category should contain the fewest number of items by far.
Donate: The second category is that of donate. Items placed in the donate category should have some real use. Bear in mind that in many instances in which hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder is an issue, items in the possession of a hoarder might not actually be of any use to anyone.
Discard: The final category is discard. This should be the largest category when it comes to applying the OHIO Rule and getting rid of items that have been hoarded. Bear in mind that when items are placed in the discard category, they should be disposed of immediately. Items and objects in the discard category should not be left sitting around for any length of time.
When it comes to disposing of items that have been hoarded using the OHIO Rule, do not overdue. For example, set a specific schedule as to when you will be working on dealing with items that have been hoarded. Consider an hour or two in each session.
On a related note, take care not to spread yourself too thin “geographically” either. Consider focusing on one room in your home until you have managed to get that space free and clear of items that have been hoarded over time.
Seek Help and Support
A final point well worth remembering is that a hoarder as well as that person or those persons providing more immediate support are not alone. There are resources available that can assist with hoarding behavior as well as with hoarder property cleanup.
In this day and age there are mental health professionals who specialize in working with people with hoarding behavior or with a diagnosis of actual hoarding disorder. These types of professionals can be invaluable in addressing the underlying causes of hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder. They can also assist in mapping out a pathway into the future that doesn’t include hoarding.
In addition, there are professional hoarder property cleanup companies like Eco Bear that can provide invaluable assistance in restoring a home back to a fully livable condition. The professionals at Eco Bear have extensive experience working with people with hoarding behavior and hoarding disorder as well as their families.