Home » How To Deal With Hoarding? Here Are 6 Tips To Help Overcome

How To Deal With Hoarding? Here Are 6 Tips To Help Overcome

How To Deal With Hoarding
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Hoarding disorder is a severe condition. It could gradually consume people, often without their realization, until it reaches a critical point.

The compulsive acquisition of objects could lead to clutter, unsanitary living conditions, and strained family relationships.

People with hoarding disorder may feel comforted by accumulating items and attaching irrational sentimental value to possessions. This behavior may result in distress, impairment in daily functioning, and social isolation.

Hoarders may experience shame, guilt, stress, and anxiety due to their living environment and their emotional attachment to possessions.

Addressing hoarding behavior is vital for improving mental well-being, requiring self-compassion, relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help.

Understanding how hoarding disorder could impact lives and implementing effective management strategies may help people better manage their hoarding symptoms and behavior.

What Is Hoarding Disorder?

According to NHS, a hoarding disorder is when a person stores many items or materials and chaotically keeps them. This might lead to a heap amount of clutter.

Hoarding disorder is not about the value of items but the emotional attachment to them. Hoarders accumulate possessions, causing a mess that could lead to health and safety hazards, strain relationships, and impact daily life significantly.

Identifying hoarding disorder involves understanding the irrational beliefs and behaviors surrounding possessions, including fear of scarcity and sentimental attachments.

Approaching hoarders with empathy and patience is essential in addressing their hoarding behavior effectively. Hoarding disorder could be linked to other mental health conditions, making professional help and support vital in managing and overcoming it.

Hoarding Disorder Symptoms
Excessive attachment to belongings Overestimating the importance of possessions
Feeling comforted by accumulating items Accumulated clutter blocking home access
Cluttered and unsanitary living environments Health implications like dust, mold, and infestations
Strained relationships Social isolation and loneliness
Difficulty discarding items causing distress Behavior beyond normal collecting tendencies

Best Ways To Deal With A Hoarder In The Family

Family members often have a stronger bond, making it vital to address hoarding issues promptly and collaboratively.

  • Acknowledge the hoarder’s right to make decisions and show affection.
  • Sit down with the hoarder of the family and engage in open conversations to understand their challenges.
  • Avoid being judgmental, as it may worsen the situation.
  • Remember never to discard any items without permission, regardless of their perceived value.

Working with the hoarder to find solutions could be more effective than imposing changes unilaterally. Respect their decisions and offer support throughout the process.

Encouraging harm reduction strategies, setting achievable decluttering goals, and providing patience and encouragement may motivate the hoarder in their recovery journey.

tips to overcome Hoarding

Tips To Help A Hoarder Who Don’t Want Help

  1. Be A Good Listener & Motivator

    Active listening could be significant in fostering a supportive environment when supporting people struggling with hoarding tendencies.

    Many hoarders could find it challenging to express the reasons behind their behavior and may feel embarrassed about their struggles.

    Being a good listener may help them open up about the issues troubling them for a long time. Instead of immediately offering solutions, taking the time to listen attentively and asking thoughtful questions may help them navigate the process of addressing their hoarding addiction.

    Motivation could also be vital in assisting hoarders on their journey to recovery. Celebrating small victories, setting achievable decluttering goals, and providing continuous encouragement may help in motivating them.

  2. Assist Them With Their Belongings

    When assisting a hoarder in sorting out their belongings, consider the following steps:

    1. Start Small: Focus on one area or category of items at a time to prevent overwhelming the hoarder.
    2. Use the Four-Box Method: Provide four boxes labeled as Keep, Donate, Sell, and Trash to categorize items systematically.
    3. Encourage Decision-Making: Support the hoarder in making decisions about each item by asking guiding questions about its usefulness and sentimental value.
    4. Set Achievable Goals: Establish realistic goals for decluttering sessions to maintain motivation and prevent burnout.
  3. Educate Oneself

    Educating and recognizing that hoarding is not about the material value of possessions is vital. Still, rather, the emotional attachment hoarders have to them. The persistent difficulty in discarding possessions might lead to excessive accumulation, which could result from a perceived need to save items.

    Educating oneself about hoarding disorder could help gain insight into the reasons behind hoarding behavior, such as the emotional comfort people derive from accumulating items and the distress caused by discarding them.

  4. Celebrate Small Changes & Victories

    Celebrating small victories may encourage and reinforce positive behaviors that lead to lasting changes. Here are three practical ways to praise a change and celebrate small wins in the process of hoarding recovery:

    1. Celebrate each goal: Celebrate each milestone reached, no matter how small, to reinforce the importance of consistent effort and progress.
    2. Create a Supportive Environment: Surround the person with positivity and encouragement. Engage in activities together that promote a sense of accomplishment and well-being, fostering a supportive atmosphere for their recovery journey.
    3. Reflect on Achievements: Encourage reflection on the positive changes that have occurred. Remind the person of their improvements, which might instill motivation and a sense of pride in working towards a clutter-free environment.
  5. Consider Seeking Professional Help

    It is essential to gently encourage the hoarder to seek professional help for their condition. It could be challenging to take the first step, but reaching out for assistance is a positive and empowering decision.

    Here are some ways to encourage a hoarder to seek professional help:

    1. Express Concern: Approach the hoarder compassionately and express your concern for their well-being. Let them know that seeking professional help can be a courageous step towards improving their quality of life.
    2. Provide Information: Offer resources and information about hoarding disorder and the benefits of therapy or counseling. Sharing knowledge may help people understand they are not alone in facing this challenge.
    3. Offer Support: Be supportive and reassure the hoarder that seeking help is a proactive way to address the underlying problems contributing to their hoarding behavior. Let them know that they do not have to face this journey alone.
    4. Encourage Small Steps: Suggest taking small, manageable steps towards seeking professional help, such as researching therapists or attending a support group. Emphasize that progress is made one step at a time, and each step towards seeking help is a significant achievement.
  6. Do Not Clean Up For Them

    The urge to clean up may come from a place of care and concern. Still, it is necessary to recognize that people struggling with hoarding disorder must actively participate in decluttering to foster lasting change.

    Cleaning up for them removes the opportunity for people with hoarding tendencies to confront their attachment to possessions, make decisions about their belongings, and develop crucial organizational skills.

    It is essential for their growth that they engage in the sorting and decision-making process themselves, even if it may seem overwhelming at first.

Adverse Effect Of Hoarding

  • Decline in Mental Health: Hoarding could coexist with conditions like OCD, depression, and anxiety, exacerbating mental health issues. The clutter and disorganization could increase stress, guilt, and shame, further deteriorating the hoarder’s mental well-being.
  • Physical Hazards: Hoarding may create unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, increasing the risk of fire hazards and health problems due to dust and pests. The clutter may obstruct pathways, making the living space hazardous for the hoarder and others.
  • Social Isolation: Hoarding behavior could lead to social withdrawal and strained relationships with family and friends. The shame and embarrassment associated with the clutter may cause people to isolate themselves, perpetuating feelings of loneliness and alienation.
  • Impaired Functioning: The excessive accumulation of possessions may impair daily functioning, making it difficult to perform essential tasks like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Hoarders may need help navigating their living space, leading to declining quality of life and overall functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Can Hoarding Impact a Hoarder’s Physical Health Beyond Clutter and Unsanitary Living Conditions?
    Hoarding could severely impact a hoarder’s physical health beyond clutter by increasing risks of falls and infestations. Accumulated items may harbor allergens, mold, and pathogens, contributing to respiratory problems, infections, and deterioration.
  • What Legal Rights Do Hoarders Have in Terms of Housing and Property Protection?
    Hoarders have rights under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Landlords must address hoarding issues responsibly to avoid legal consequences. Hoarding may lead to property damage, affecting relationships and lease agreements.
  • Are There Specific Challenges Faced by Landlords When Dealing With Hoarding3 Tenants?
    Landlords face unique challenges with hoarding tenants navigating legal complexities while ensuring tenant well-being. The hoarding could pose property damage risks, requiring sensitive communication and possibly professional intervention by the landlords.
  • What Are Some Effective Strategies for Resisting the Urge to Acquire Unnecessary Items in Managing Hoarding Tendencies?
    Some effective strategies for managing hoarding tendencies include setting clear decluttering goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, developing organizational skills, creating a cleaning routine, and implementing techniques to resist acquiring unnecessary items.


Understanding the impact of hoarding disorder on people and their families is essential in providing support and guidance towards healthier living environments and improved mental health.

Acknowledging the harmful effects of hoarding, encouraging people to seek professional help,

and offering motivation and listening could help them navigate the complexities of this condition.

Supporting and celebrating their progress, no matter how small, can also boost their confidence and determination to make positive changes.

It is important to support them throughout their rehabilitation process, emphasizing that recovery is a gradual journey that requires patience and understanding.

Remember to approach hoarding with sensitivity, empathy, and practical interventions to support hoarders in improving their emotional well-being and quality of life.

  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any tips or strategies.
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