Ketamine, first edition books published in the 19th century, handguns, a bus map for the 1964 World’s Fair, stock certificates, bedbugs, millions of dollars in un-cashed checks, and thousands of pounds of human/ cat/ dog/ roach/ and possum poop…
Ron Alford and his Disaster Masters team have come across quite a lot of things that are somehow invisible to most of us, yet very much an everyday factor of New York City living for many.
Ron is the director of Disaster Masters, a crisis-management firm that have been decluttering what the media term as hoarders for over 35 years. Alford refers to his clients as disposophobics. Disposophobia, a term coined by Alford, is as he describes it, “the fear of getting rid of stuff”. He and Disaster Masters have been featured on a host of media outlets, including BBC and MSNBC.
“Disposophobia is a self-taught behavior that can be rectified,” says Alford. “It is not something that can be cured by mental health professionals, TV shows, organizers or relatives.”
Alford does not hold out much hope of a cure from the prescription drug companies either. “Drugs will not solve the problem either,” he adds. “These efforts do not work, and more often than not, therapy can make the situation worse”. Just like any person that over consumes, an alcoholic, an over-eater, or a smoker, a disposophobic cannot be cured by therapy, but can be cured if they ask for coaching, says Alford.“Coaching is about tomorrow. Therapy is about yesterday.”
The specifics for each individual job are as varied as the contents. Some jobs involve saving an elderly inhabitant from being turfed out by an apartment board that has had enough of their cluttered way of life. Many are jobs that have been assigned by social workers and hospital discharge planners, so that their patient can return to their home. Others are just people that realized by whatever means, that they have too much stuff and couldn’t keep living the way they have chosen.
The clients don’t fall into a specific category either. To name but a few, I have witnessed the overstuffed homes of librarians, social workers, doctors, nurses, district attorneys, police officers, fire fighters, psychiatrists, teachers and business executives. One noticeable similarity between clients however, is that they all appear to be of a higher than average intelligence level. Many of them hold multiple degrees, MAs and PhDs.
One of the problems, says Ron Alford, is multitasking. “If you are unable to manage multitasking effectively, it is not long before you have generated chronic amounts of clutter in your home,” he contends. “The only way to effectively cure this is to change your thinking.”
Discovering the trigger behind a client’s accumulating tendencies, while the Disaster Masters crew peels back the years of garbage, that can date the mess like rings on a tree stump, gives a rare insight into many of the cities most brilliant minds. Statics show that there are almost 6 hoarders on each of New York’s 72,000 city blocks. Ron Alford and his Disaster Masters crew have a lot of work to do.
If you have a problem with hoarding or clutter, call Ron today at 1-800-ThePlan.