How to Help a Hoarder Stop Hoarding


Hoarding is a disorder that involves the obsessive collection of unnecessary objects, inability to get rid of them and resulting distress. It usually starts small with the hoarder keeping items because of sentimental value or because they will have importance in the future.  If left to continue for long, hoarding can create a lot of problems, not only for the hoarders but also for their loved ones. Fortunately, there are a number of ways on how to help a hoarder.

  • Learn More about Hoarding

Before you do anything, it is important that you find out more about hoarding so that you can handle the situation better. The good thing is that there are quite a number of resources with such information that will help you understand the disorder and the things you are supposed and not supposed to do as you help your loved one.  These resources range from books to websites, and you will find all the details you need.

  • If you live with a hoarder

Hoarding affects both you and the hoarder. He/she will feel the anxiety of getting rid of items and you will be anxious about living in a house that is cluttered. It is therefore important that you are patient with them. One way of doing this is by setting up house rules, but ensure that the hoarder is also made part of setting up the rules or else the rules will be ineffective.

  • Helping a hoarder that is not ready to declutter

One of the best ways on how to help a hoarder who is not ready to declutter is to offer them your support. There is no need to force them because they will only feel victimised and violated, making the situation even worse. Assure them that you will support them through the whole process.

The other process is to get them professional help.  There are different therapists who are capable of dealing with hoarding. Most of them use the cognitive behavioural therapy, which will focus on the main aspects of hoarding.

  • Helping a hoarder that is ready to declutter

Once a hoarder is ready to get rid of the items, be patient with them as the process is usually slow. One of the ways to help them is to reward their progress. Each time they manage to discard a considerable amount of stuff, you should give them verbal praise as this will motivate them to discard even more. Avoid negative comments and remark as they will only slow the process and make the hoarder feel more victimised.

However, do not be tempted to take the responsibility of discarding items on your own: doing this will only make it difficult for the hoarder to learn. Besides if they are not involved in the process, the home will soon be cluttered again.

While learning how to help a hoarder, it is important that you always keep in mind the good things you enjoy with him/her.  Always try to build a strong relationship with them as this will help with the decluttering process.



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