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Tips to help Hoarders

Is that clutter in your home getting you down? Do you feel as if you are holding on to things for too long? Are your things taking up valuable living space? Hoarding is an anxiety disorder and at the end of this article I have included information on services that may be able to help. Having real experience with helping hoarders to sort through their possessions, I really wanted to include some tips to help hoarders for my readers.

• Firstly, you need to accept and identify that there is a problem. Experts say that “chronic hoarding” is when rooms in a home become “unusable for their intended purpose”. The Clutter Image Rating is helpful to evaluate whether the image you have of your home is realistic.

• Talk to people and ask for help. I know this will be hard as you may feel ashamed or scared that you will be made to let go of your precious possessions. There are people and organisations that can support you and you can speak to your doctor. (see services below)

• Start by identifying an area of your home that you can clear. The area doesn’t have to be a whole room, it can be a box, a drawer or a cupboard. Before you begin, ake a photo of the task and do a little at a time. Take a photo when you’ve had enough so that you can see the progress that you’ve made so far.

• Try to work on that same area at, at least once every day for about 15 minutes. Do a little longer each day and more often. Once you’ve made a start, you’ll hopefully feel more motivated to continue and complete the job.

• Look at an item for no more than 15-20 seconds, then make a decision about whether or not to keep it. If you spend too long looking at and touching an item is likely to make you want to keep it when otherwise you would have let it go.

• It is better to let things go, than simply move things around a room.

• Avoid keeping things for others or for when you clear the house as it can be an excuse not to let things go. If you think someone may want the item, ask them rather than keep it ‘just in case’.

• Make a timetable and schedule your clearing sessions for when you won’t be interrupted. Set concrete goals such as inviting a friend over once the kitchen/lounge is cleared.

• Refer to your before and after photos so that you can see what you’ve achieved and treat yourself when you have finished the task, not with more possessions! Go out to lunch or the theatre.

• You need to be responsible for your progress. Others can help but you must be the driving force behind the project.

• If anyone offers to help, you can set the rules before you start. The final decision about your possessions is yours. You can give them guidelines to help them work with you more effectively. Share with them the things you are happy and not to let go of. Give yourself a rule too. Maybe you could agree that you discard of 50% of everything in your home.

• Feeling upset is part of the healing process when you let things go, but those feelings will pass fairly quickly. You can record on a scale of 0-10 how you feel when you discard something, then again how you feel after an hour, a day etc.

• The process of letting go of your possessions allows you to feel free.

• Those who support you in this process can take things away immediately, which stops you keeping things. Throw things away the day the dustmen arrive, to avoid changing your mind.

• You need to take control and stop more items coming in your home. Consciously stay away from sales and shops that tempt you.

When reducing your possessions, ask yourself:

• Have I used it recently?
• Have I needed it recently?
• Is it likely that I will use it in the future?
• Will keeping an item help or hinder my progress?

If you are looking for resources to help support your organising and decluttering visit our shops pages. You may find what you are looking for or indeed get ideas on what can help. We have three shops – an office shop, a wardrobe shop and a kitchen shop.

I hope that you have found my tips to help hoarders article useful. There are many organisation that you can contact if you feel you have a hoarding problem . Help for Hoarders and the NHS both have useful information which may help.  I can work with you in a patient, understanding and a practical way to help you to organise your house. Visit my ‘hoarding clearance page‘ for more information. Please contact me at Clear Out Clutter by emailing: or text/call: 07962 275956.