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How Much Is Too Much?

General information

For most people, the junk mail and belongings that clog the mailbox and pile up around the house are simply annoying – something to go through and throw away when there’s time. But for others, excessive clutter and hoarding can harm a person’s health, family, and social life. Help is available.

Hoarding is a complicated disorder that happens when a person collects too many things, has trouble getting rid of things, and struggles to get things organized. Hoarding takes many forms. Sometimes people hoard things like clothes, papers, and souvenirs, while others hoard food or keep too many pets. These problems can severely limit the use of your home, create serious health and safety risks, and lead to emotional, financial, and day to day living problems.

Did you know that 6 to 15 million people in this country have significant hoarding problems?

A person’s struggle with hoarding typically begins as a teenager and without early intervention can last through adulthood. People who hoard usually have no sense of how serious their situation is until it becomes so dangerous that public agencies get involved. Family members may try to help though often it is a landlord or local government agency requiring the person to clean their home.

If you have large amounts of books, paper, or clothes piled up blocking exists to your home like doors or windows you may have a serious issue. If you are unable to use your sinks, stove or refrigerator, unable to sleep in your bed because of buildup of possessions, or have safety concerns from storage or clutter, contact us by calling 1-800-675-8437 or emailing info@smhealth.org.

There is help for people who struggle with hoarding and many resources are available in our community. To learn more, visit hoarders.org, download this brochure, contact us, or one of the agencies below.

Related Content

Contact

24-Hour Emergency & Advice Line
for Aging Adults & Seniors

The TIES line is San Mateo County’s 24-hour information and emergency response line. It helps seniors, people with disabilities, dependent adults, and caregivers access the services they need to keep them safe. The TIES line is staffed by knowledgeable and experienced social workers and public health nurses.

Information and Referral

TIES line staff answer questions about the wide variety of services available through the County and in the community. The TIES line is the main entry point for services provided by the Aging and Adult Services Division.

1-800-675-8437 (TIES)
1-650-573-3900 (From outside CA)
711 for California Relay Services (TDD)
Contact

Code Enforcement by City

Each City’s Code Enforcement enforces regulations related to private property issues, such as weeds, garbage containers, storage, and trash in public view. Contact your City’s planning department for more information.

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