Teaming up to help hoarders - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Teaming up to help hoarders

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Photo courtesy Matt Paxton Photo courtesy Matt Paxton
Photo courtesy Matt Paxton Photo courtesy Matt Paxton
Photo courtesy Matt Paxton Photo courtesy Matt Paxton
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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Hoarding.  A disorder hidden for many years. But thanks to the nationally televised show "Hoarders" on A&E, the condition has received national attention. While the show itself may be considered entertainment, hoarding is a serious problem for the 8 to 10 million Americans who are affected. According to Matt Paxton, one of the stars of "Hoarders," there is much hope.

Paxton started his company, Clutter Cleaner, seven years ago to help families that are afflicted by hoarding.  He calls himself "an entrepreneur by birth," and this was the first job he found where he could go in, get his hands dirty, and help someone at the same time. And boy has he gotten his hands dirty. He's seen the worst of the worst, including homes cluttered with eighteen to twenty thousand pounds of trash.

With more and more people being diagnosed as hoarders, Paxton decided to collaborate with ServiceMaster, one of the world's largest residential service networks on a national level. "I was getting thousands of requests and only able to help one or two at a time. So I started looking 2 years ago for the right partners. ServiceMaster gave me the best chance to help the most people; their workers are by far the most compassionate people," said Paxton.

Paxton trained franchise owners and employees from across the country at the ServiceMaster headquarters in Memphis, about how to understand hoarding and learn how to communicate with hoarders and their families, creating a situation that will lead to a long term clean house. Paxton says, "It takes more than just being able to clean houses, to work with the hoarding families, it's not about the trash, hoarding is about a mental situation and you have to totally understand the hoarder and their family before you can go in that house."

Hoarding is a mental illness. In fact, just this year, the American Psychiatric Association designated hoarding as its own disorder. The disorder is triggered by a traumatic life event such as a divorce, a death, or some other kind grief. People become depressed and as time lapses, hoarders fill their homes to fill the empty emotional spaces left behind. "As we're going through the class I'm going back in my mind and a lot of what was going on with certain customers is making a lot more sense," says Michael Mack President of Service Master Seattle. "I think we can service a lot better because we have a better understanding of the process."

The hope is that ServiceMaster's national franchise network and Matt Paxton's experience, expertise, and training, this partnership will help touch the lives of those who suffer from this serious mental disorder.

For more information on hoarding and Matt Paxton's company please visit: http://cluttercleaner.com/

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