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).