Expert deals with the extremes of hoarding - New York News

Expert deals with the extremes of hoarding

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Hoarding -- living in clutter, creating unsanitary conditions.

We've seen extreme cases, but as we found out, the psychological problems associated with hoarding don't always manifest themselves into extreme situations.

Belongings, trash and in some cases, even animal carcasses piled from floor to ceiling.  You can barely walk in some of these rooms -- and the homeowners actually live in these conditions.

They are disturbing images on the A&E network show "Hoarders" which over the past few years, has shed light on a real life problem.

Nicole Ladner of Paradise Valley lives in what appears to be a model home now, but she says not too long ago, she was heading down the road of a hoarder.

"I'm somebody who struggles with anxiety and part of my anxiety comforts me to have things," she explained.  "So you accumulate something to ease the anxiety, then that goes away so you can accumulate more and have all this stuff."

And pretty soon, parts of her home were unlivable.

"I'm a stuffer, so I would find areas where I would stuff, stuff, stuff," she said.  "There were some areas where I'd say 'oh gosh' no one could go in that.. there's varying degrees of compulsive hoarders."

Danielle Wurth is a professional organizer.  She spends time with her clients, getting to the root of the problem because usually, she's dealing with more than just a "messy person."

"A grave loss, a tragic situation and multiple situations and healing didn't happen and so anxiety is there and so you have this whole.. this need," she said.  "And so you say this item brings me joy and gathering this brings me joy, so you overutilize this one thing."

And pinpointing the cause is the first step towards a clutter-free life.

"You can see their spirit change over every session," said Wurth.

"The freeing feeling has allowed me to focus more on my kids and other things that bring me joy," said Ladner.

Wurth says she often sees a change in her clients after only one session.

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