In recent months I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the shows Hoarders and Buried Alive. On one hand, many clients are relieved that they feel they are “not that bad”. On the other hand, many people who need assistance are not getting it because their challenges are not as severe as those portrayed on the show.
In order to shed a little more light on the topic, I wanted to share the Institute for Challenging Disorganization Scale. And for more information on the topic, visit their website at :
One problem found in any of these four categories may indicate the need for further investigation regarding the whole level.
Level I. Household is considered standard. No special knowledge in working with the Chronically Disorganized is necessary.
Level II. Household requires professional organizers or related professionals to have additional knowledge and understanding of Chronic Disorganization.
Level III. Household may require services in addition to those a professional organizer and related professional can provide. Professional organizers and related professionals working with Level III households should have significant training in Chronic Disorganization and have developed a helpful community network of resources, especially mental health providers.
Level IV. Household needs the help of a professional organizer and a coordinated team of service providers. Psychological, medical issues or financial hardships are generally involved. Resources will be necessary to bring a household to a functional level. These services may include pest control services, “crime scene cleaners,” financial counseling and licensed contractors and handypersons.
Level V. Household will require intervention from a wide range of agencies. Professional organizers should not venture directly into working solo with this type of household. The Level V household may be under the care of a conservator or be an inherited estate of a mentally ill individual. Assistance is needed from many sources. A team needs to be assembled. Members of the team should be identified before beginning additional work. These members may include social services and psychological/mental health representative (not applicable if inherited estate), conservator/trustee, building and zoning, fire and safety, landlord, legal aid and/or legal representatives. A written strategy needs to be outlined and contractual agreements made before proceeding.