Dealing With Hoarding – Houston Interview With Home Buyers

In this video, organizing specialist Marilynn Satter discusses dealing with hoarding, a Houston interview with Brian from Big state Home Buyers. Marilynn owns Organize Your World, a professional organizing service in Houston, and she belongs to NAPO, the National Association of Organizing Specialist.

Watch the video below to find out more about how to deal with hoarding and hoarded houses.

Interview Transcript: Dealing with Hoarded Houses

Brian:         Hi. I’m Brian Spitz, president of Big State Home Buyers. We are Houston’s leading company for buying houses fast.

And today, we’re talking with Marilyn Satter, who owns the company Organize My World. The website is And she is a specialist in helping people get organized, getting prepared for a move, after a move, just organizing their space and also has some experience with hoarding.

And so we wanted to welcome you to our podcast today and also talk a little bit about what you do and the first topic would be hoarding.

Definition of Hoarding (0:01:10.3)

Marilyn:      Thanks, Brian. Thanks for having me. As you said, I’m Marilyn from Organize My World. Hoarding is rather interesting. It’s a very small percentage of the population, but it does get a lot of publicity.

Brian:         Yeah.

Marilyn:      Hoarding basically is people that keep items that have no value, no intrinsic value. And also, when these items start taking over their home and the rooms are not being able to be used as they were meant to be, if you can no longer sleep in your bed because it’s so cluttered in there, for instance. And also, when it starts making your life very stressful and when it starts impacting your life in difference ways, that is when you can start thinking about a hoarding situation.

Brian:         So a lot of people, of course, the TV shows and all that get a lot of publicity and people get really interested in it. We buy properties from people who, one segment of the population would be the people who really can’t sell it on the open market because of the stuff or the condition or they’ve gotten to that point over time.

Who Asks for Help With Hoarding (0:02:29.6)

So are you usually, and we’re oftentimes contacted by a family member, not just a seller, and I think I asked you this once before, but do you have family members contact you or how does that work? Who makes the initial contact when somebody wants help with that?

Marilyn:      Yes, many times I will have the family members contact me and they’ll say, you know, mom’s in the home and she’s a hoarder and we need to get help for her. Can you come over and help us? And most of the time, when that happens, I have to speak to the person that is in the home first before I can do that. Because it’s too traumatic to just go in there and tell them that they have to get rid of all their stuff.

So I like to work with them first and find out how available they will be and how much they’ll be involved in the situation.

Hoarding – Psychological Condition (0:03:20.7)

Brian:         Right. What other character traits do you think usually, I mean, it’s a mental disorder, hoarding. At least, that’s what I understand. I could be wrong. An anxiety condition?

Marilyn:      Well, a lot of it is psychological, so you have to be very gentle with them in working with them and try to be very understanding. And if it’s a very bad hoarding situation, myself as a professional organizer, I would prefer to or sometimes even insist on working along with a therapist at the same time because it’s too difficult for them emotionally to go through the process. But I’m there physically to help them. And a therapist would be there to help them psychologically.

Brian:         And you have experience doing that?

Marilyn:      Occasionally, yes.

Types of Clients Percentages (0:04:17.8)

Brian:         That’s interesting. And so, on a scale of one to ten, ten being something on a TV show and one being I have a disorganized office, where do most of your clients fall?

Marilyn:      99% of my clients are just basically disorganized and need some help getting back on track. Yeah. It’s a very, very small percentage of the population that I would work with also that would be a hoarding situation. Most of the time, it’s just people that need help getting their lives back on track or getting their office more organized or their home more organized.

Brian:         Yeah. You ever watch the TV show? You ever seen that hoarding TV show?

Marilyn:      Yes, I have. Yes, I have. And it’s painful to watch it. It is.

Brian:         Yeah. One of the things that we do different than our competitors, you know, we buy property, but we really try to look at the problem that’s behind the reason someone is selling. And so the TV show scenarios, to that extent, we see it. I mean, I have seen it.

And then things that are close to that, where a child has lived in the family home after the parents moved out and they’ve destroyed, collected, and animals have destroyed the house and all of those things. And so it’s a very common reason for people to call us.

I think you’d be a great resource for some of our clients because a lot of them may not be in that scenario, but they have to move. Or they have stuff to go through and that’s a very daunting task for people.

Marilyn:      Yes, and it would be a better idea if somehow they could go through the items before they sold, rather than being forced out of the home.

Brian:         So do you work with a lot of people that are in the position where they’re ready to sell?

Marilyn:      Yes.

Why People Contact a Professional Organizer (0:06:06.2)

Brian:         Okay. I wonder what makes people think to contact you? What do you think?

Marilyn:      I think most of the time people contact me out of frustration. And they’re just frustrated and they say, “I just can’t do it by myself.”

So I get in there and it’s just, sometimes just having another person there makes a huge difference, but also, having my expertise along with being there physically and working with them.

And I also am there to teach them. I’ll set up systems for them so that when they get to their new home or when their office is or when their home is presentable again or organized again, that they can keep it that way. So I try to give them systems so that they can, and teach them along the way, so that they can keep their homes in order.

Brian:         So I think there’s something that you and I have in common there is that we are comfortable helping people or dealing with situations where people have that, too much stuff, regardless of what that stuff is.

Marilyn:      Absolutely. I love working with people. It’s so much fun and my job is amazing.

Brian:         And I think that my experience is a lot of times people think that they’re embarrassed by it or they don’t want people to come. They’ll hesitate even having us come see the house because they are embarrassed that the stuff is everywhere. There’s too much. And sometimes, usually, it’s not even nearly as bad as people think that it is. I don’t know if you find that in your experience as well.

Marilyn:      Oh, all the time. I’ll go in and they’ll say, oh, this is the worst thing you’ve ever seen and I’ll say, no, not by a long shot. Yeah.

Brian:         All right. Well, if you have a property that you have an interest in selling, is a company that we will provide you a free quote. We’ll come out, take a look at the property, and let you know what’s best for you. We offer different solutions and we’ll also tell you if selling to us is not your best option.

You can visit us any time at and receive a free quote on your house within 24 hours, any condition, regardless of what’s inside.

And you can visit with Marilyn about moving, organizing, staging or any of those needs, whether you’re going to work with us or whether you’re going to put your house on the market. And again, we can reach you at

Marilyn:      Yes.

Brian:         And your telephone number?

Marilyn:      Is 281-782-5555.

Brian:         Excellent. Thanks for being with us today.

Marilyn:      Thanks, Brian.

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