Treasures Lost Amid the Clutter

Ron at work

Disaster Masters filter through the clutter, to ensure that valuables are safely located.

Recently deceased Wall Street mogul Lewis David Zagor, has been making the news today as his widow seeks to uncover the keys to his fortune, buried under over 30 years of clutter in his Park Avenue apartment.

Disaster Masters have been carrying out this type of service for over 35 years. We recently received a call from a social worker, at our New York office. She had a client that was housed in a rehabilitation center, but unable to return home, due to a “clutter condition”.

The clutter was much worse than the video depicted in the link above. It was so bad, that we could not even enter the dining room!

The client had neglected himself and the home for the previous 40 years. He had accumulated over 20,000 books, magazine collections going back to the 1950’s and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of un-cashed checks and buried assets.

We filtered through the clutter and uncovered the client’s cash, jewelery, stock certificates, un-cashed checks, and valuables. The assets located for the client were enough to pay for the whole project many times over!

Disaster Masters at Work

Disaster Masters are experts at examining paperwork, to ensure that the important documents are saved for the client.

Our specialized team of project managers rescued the home and enabled the client’s return. Moreover, our coaching and follow-up procedures will ensure that this client will be able to maintain their home in pristine condition for years to come.

The social worker that initially called us that day said that our Disposophobia team are “miracle workers”. Working miracles is what we do at Disaster Masters, with over 35 years experience and thousands of recovered cases. We have been there, done that and know what works and what does not work for people who are simply dysfunctional.

If you, a loved one, client or colleague need assistance with a hoarding or Disposophobia problem, please contact us at 1-800-ThePlan, or send us an email to, for immediate solutions.

Organizing books need to be organized

Organizing books

Click image to enlarge

The image on the right was taken at a recent Disaster Masters project in Manhattan. The client had amassed several dozen books about organizing and getting rid of clutter, but all were just part of the mess that started at the front door and continued throughout the apartment. She had not read a single chapter in any of the books.

Like many others that are classed by the media as hoarders, she had time management and multi-tasking issues. The books became the problem, rather than helping her to find a solution.

The real way to solve this mess comes from within. The first step to freeing yourself from the strangling effects of too much stuff is to make the decision to call the Disaster Masters.

Our coaching and Life Transition Management services are rungs on the ladder in freeing you from the cluttered life that you have created for yourself.

If you, a loved one, client or colleague need assistance with a hoarding or Disposophobia problem, please contact us at 1-800-ThePlan, or email me at for immediate solutions.


IAQ Radio Show

Several years back, Disaster Masters founder Ron Alford was featured on the IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Radio Show, where he discussed the finer points of Disposophobia and the people that the media terms as hoarders. Check out the radio interview here.

If you, a loved one, client or colleague need assistance with a hoarding or Disposophobia problem, please contact Disaster Masters at 1-800-ThePlan, or email us at for immediate solutions.

Disaster Masters® – The genesis of the Hoarding TV shows

Back in 2004, BBC contacted Disaster Masters® about making us a corner piece for an upcoming show they were planning to show the hidden side of life in New York City, A Life of Grime New York.

Disaster Masters® were featured on several episodes of the series, which was a huge ratings hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and were the genesis of the hoarding TV shows that subsequently aired on A&E and other networks. This episode aired on March 3rd 2005.

Disaster Masters® are still the country’s oldest and most reputable provider of Life Transition Management Services™ all across the US. If you, a family member, a loved one, or a client have a problem with hoarding, call The Disaster Masters® at 1-800-ThePlan (843-7526) for immediate solutions or contact us below.

Hoarding vs. Disposophobia (dis-pos-o-fo-bia)

Before Kids dm

Disposophobia (dis-pos-o-fo-bia) is the fear of getting rid of stuff. Disposophobia is a human condition and is present in all of us to a certain extent. For example, not many of us would toss out our money, keys or cell phone. We have rational fears and irrational fears of parting with certain items. On one side of the spectrum, there are those who are referred to as hoarders; on the opposite side of the spectrum there are the minimalists. The irrational fear prevents discarding in general or prevents saving in general. What is irrational and rational is purely subjective!

What is not subjective however, is that there is a mix of rational and irrational fears associated with a lack of motivation, interest, and/or time management issues, which will create a condition in which clutter will most definitely accumulate. The environment of someone who clutters may resemble the environment of a hoarder, but in fact they have few if any irrational fears parting with things. The term “Disposophobia” describes the entire spectrum of these rational and irrational fears pertaining as it pertains to our ability to get rid of stuff.

After Kids1 dm

To find out more, go to, or call us on 1-800-ThePlan (843-7526).

Help for Disposophobics & Hoarders starts here…

It is amazing how people on the Internet manage to hijack a good product or service and dilute it, ruining it for the people who really need these services. A great example is the recent interest in hoarding “reality shows” and their zeal in making mountains out of mole hills, spotlighting how certain people live. You have the “OH MY GOODNESS!” viewers, and you have the “At least…” viewers: the “OMG-ers” look at these shows and shriek, “OH MY GOODNESS, how can anyone live like this?!” and the “At least-ers” say, “Well, my house is a mess, but at least I’m not that bad off.”

The idea for these shows began back when MSNBC premiered a documentary about a New York company named DISASTER MASTERS®, founded in 1980. A crisis response company specializing in insurance repair for water, fire, and wind damage, they increasingly found themselves encountering people who lived with too much stuff. Normal people who just could not find a way to part with what they had, and many who felt compelled to have more. A good number of these people failed to realize that living in the same place for 10+ years while accumulating more and more simply doesn’t work.

Having managed over 13,000 insurance-related incidents from 1980-1989, Ron Alford, the founder of DISASTER MASTERS, took it upon himself to create a process that would reach out and help these people, whose lives became difficult for various reasons. Alford is inspired by Pacific Institute founder Lou Tice’s Broken Windows theory: when an area is perceived to be well taken care of, people will take better care of that area, According to Ron, “If the window goes on without being repaired, it will eventually become invisible to the person who lives there and sees it every day. The same applies to a garment tossed on top of the furniture, trash left on the floor, even groceries left in a bag that never finds its way to a kitchen, much less shelves on a pantry.”

Absent-minded shoppers go into store after store, day after day, not remembering what they came for and purchase duplicate items, from pasta to clothing, simply due to the fact that they don’t bother to make a shopping list before venturing out. People are also susceptible to seductive point of sale displays, reminding them to buy on-sale items, not thinking about whether or not they already have these items at home – or whether or not they even need them. People who live alone are even more likely to collect and store things, filling a hole in their lives.

Today, DISASTER MASTERS® is still helping these disposophobics – people with a fear of getting rid of their stuff – to take control, get rid of the clutter, and organize their lives. They don’t televise these stories, they don’t hold them up for public consumption and comment – the DISASTER MASTERS’ priority is to get people lives on track.

Do you know someone who could benefit from the DISASTER MASTERS’ help? Call 1-800-ThePlan (843-7526).