hoarding help

Hoarding can be a very difficult behavior to understand ;It can stem from anxiety, depression, and OCD.  This article is for the person hoarding and for family members or friends involved with helping.  My goal is to give some helpful tips for everyone involved in the de-clutter process of the home.  It is very important to get inside of the mind of the person that is dealing with this disorder.   When there is clutter just piled up around you, it starts to consume your everyday life.  Those behaviors shut you out from reality and relationships.  You start to have an attachment to the clutter around you versus the human relationships that you need. There are different types of hoarders, so there are different ways to help each individual.

First we will start out by distinguishing which types of hoarders there are, so that we can best help each different case.


Collectors have an emotional attachment to the things that they find value in.  Some or most of the time the items that have been collected are to worn or trashed ,because of the way that they have been kept to be of any value. To break this news to people is devastating.  You are telling that person ,in their mind that what they see value or possibly their value in, is worthless like the item.  As someone looking into the situation, you may not fully understand, but this is that person’s reality.    

For collectors you want to make sure to start at that person’s pace, make sure that they are not frantic in anyway, but at a nice steady pace.  You want them to fully understand the declutter process, so that you can break any patterns and habits.  Try to down size the collection with the individual and put the things that they are not able to part with off to one side.  Any items that they have to think about for a long period of time place off to the side and ask the individual how often they use the item and possibly try to remove the clutter.  With the other items you have placed off to the side, go through them once more.  See if they are interested in placing any items for sale or in a consignment store.  That way you are also giving value to their items and the person.  Each person is different and goes at their own pace.  I would encourage if unable to finish this process within a day make sure you continue the process the next day.  Not neglecting or continuing to put the task off because this just encourages the hoarding behaviors to continue.