Matt Paxton, who owns Clutter Cleaner, a Virginia service to aid those with too much stuff–and wrote The Secret Lives of Hoarders–manned a booth at San Diego's recent International OCD Foundation conference.
He appeared with Ceci Garrett, the daughter of Judi Garrett, who was the focus of a segment on the A&E show Hoarders. Paxton worked with the show to try and help Garrett's mom with her problem, which included keeping loads of dirty diapers.
The positive-negative feedback from conference attendees was about 50-50, Paxton said, adding he is used to getting a mixed response. A woman once blamed him for her divorce, he said.
Paxton said the key for adult children whose parents may be hoarders is to be present and patient. Most of the time, it’s family and friends who first realize the hoarder needs help, Paxton said, and they will need to tread carefully.
In his book, Paxton also discusses how loved ones with certain personality types—the negative child or sibling—may need to stay away from cleanups to avoid hindering the project.
Rancho Bernardo Patch editor Shauntel Lowe recently looked at the issue of hoarding in popular culture, how it affects loved ones and how one local expert, from UC San Diego, is trying to help.