AUSTIN — Many people struggle to keep their home clean, but for some, it’s a much more serious problem. Two Austin businesses are helping a local family deal with an issue that’s about a lot more than just clutter.

Hoarding is a mental health disorder that can lead to substantial distress and problems functioning. The American Psychiatric Association describes this as persistent difficulty to get rid of or part with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts someone’s ability to use their living or work spaces.

Hoarding isn’t simply collecting of specific items. People with this disorder are usually holding onto random items that often times connects to them on an emotional level or they think they will need in the future. Some also feel safer with these things around them.

Latrice Anderson moved to Austin at an early age and has lived here beyond her stint serving in the military. She now lives in Austin with her two adult children, Camilla and Perry III. However, when she moved into her first ever owned house in Austin, a problem Anderson has dealt with for quite some time came back into her life.

“I started really hard trying to keep everything up because I was so excited to have my own house,” said Anderson. “This was the first house I’ve ever had.”

Anderson is a hoarder. It’s something she even remembers being an issue when she was serving in the military.

“They would inspect our rooms, and I would have clutter everywhere,” said Anderson. “I would just take all the clutter out and put it in my car, so everything looked pristine when they came in and did the inspection. I got good at hiding it.”

As much as Anderson would try to fight the issue at different points in her life, it always seemed to be a losing battle. When her now adult son and daughter were young, bed bugs started building up in the house. At one point, Anderson found herself hospitalized. During this time, the state even took away her children and put them into foster care because of the mess.

“Once it overtakes you, you feel like you’re drowning,” said Anderson. “I’m unable to be organized on my own. I try so hard, but I’m not a very organized person.”