Decluttering Tips for Hoarders

September 24, 2021

Do you have a hoarding disorder or suspect that you might? Do you want to declutter your home? Then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about this mental health issue and get some helpful decluttering tips for hoarder cleanouts, too.

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding is defined as a persistent difficulty in parting with personal possessions, food, clothing, newspapers, or really any object. People who have hoarding disorder can show their symptoms in other ways, as well. Never being able to pass up a sale, obsessively buying things that are of no apparent use to them.

Hoarding can affect a person emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and even legally. This disorder can also alienate the person and cause strain on friendships and relationships with family members.

This disorder is not to be confused with someone who simply has too much stuff and should probably do a sweep through the house and drop off their extra clothes at a thrift store. It is also quite different than, say, a baseball card collector. There are serious ramifications to hoarding disorders, and it’s best to see a professional counselor for help.

That being said, there are some tips for hoarders that can be used to cut down on the clutter and get back to a normal, clutter-free life.

Hoarding vs Collecting

Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors tend to take pride in their efforts to obtain and possess items. They also have a tendency to organize, preserve, and showcase their items. Think of an art collector loaning her pieces to galleries knowing that at the end of the day they still belong to her. Or a stamp collector who tenderly handles rare stamps and puts them safely in a collector’s album.

Hoarders, on the other hand, oftentimes feel a sense of shame about their collecting habits. And much of what they collect looks like trash to outsiders, but holds a sense of nostalgia or sentimentality to the hoarder. This shame can present itself in many ways. One of the most common ways is that hoarders may not invite loved ones into their homes for fear that they will be judged or “caught” in the act of collecting seemingly useless items.

Know Yourself and Understand Your Tendencies

The first step of solving any problem is understanding it. Take an objective look your tendencies. Maybe you’ve just been really busy and the mail piled up until it just seemed easier to throw another letter on the pile than to take it to the dumpster. Maybe you had a bout of depression and let things around the house go fallow. Or, perhaps, there’s something deeper emotionally that is affecting you.

Whatever the problem is, find it. It is also helpful to have a second opinion. Have a trusted loved one visit your home and have them give their honest opinion and thoughts on how to proceed. Or, you could consider working with a counselor or therapist or join a support group. Remember, there’s always someone there to help.

Make an Plan of Action

After you know what the problem is, now you can start an action plan to take care of your hoarding tendencies. Think carefully about how to proceed. And start by making small steps in the right direction.

Start Slowly

You didn’t collect all this “junk” in one day, so you should settle in on the fact that it won’t take one day to clean it up. As long as you do a little everyday, you’re making progress. Don’t lose hope!

Have a Physical Checklist

This is one item you should NOT throw away! Make a list of actionable steps you will take to take care of the heap of whatever it may be that you’re trying to rid your home of.

Ditch the Paper

Many hoarders have stacks and stacks of papers, letters, cards from loved ones, newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. Remember that it’s called junk mail for a reason. Go through and open mail that looks like it is important, and then decide whether you should put it in a file cabinet or throw it in the trash.

Make a promise to yourself not to keep anything you don’t actually need. Those expired coupons aren’t going to do you any good!

Declutter for 10 Minutes Everyday

Ease into this process by making small actionable steps. One way to do this is make it a habit to spend at least 10 minutes everyday decluttering and organizing your belongings. Once you get into the swing of it, 10 minutes could turn into an hour on some days when you’re in the groove of it. Don’t beat yourself up, but do make it your goal to do one thing everyday that helps the problem.

Put a Time Limit on Unused Items

If you haven’t worn that dress in 10 years, you’re probably not going to. One problem hoarders have is that they see the “potential” usefulness of an item. They say to themselves, “What if I NEED this someday?” We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of throwing something away and then realizing you need it a few days later. Resist the urge to keep items you haven’t used within a period of time. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it.

Get a Storage Unit

If you think some of your items may have actual monetary value, do a quick eBay search, and see what the going rate is on it. If you have multiple items that you need to get rid of that you could sell, rent a storage unit, and keep the items there. Then you can put out sale ads and make some money off of your decluttering effort!

Make a Proactive Decluttering Plan for the Future

Once you’ve got everything cleaned up and organized, you want to keep it that way, right? That’s why you should create a plan to change the habits that got you all that clutter in the first place. Evaluate your problem, and make a plan to change it for the future so you’ll never have to deal with the issue again

Get Professional Assistance with Your Decluttering

Don’t be afraid to get a professional service, like Junk-a-Haulics, involved with your hoarder cleanup efforts in New Jersey. Especially if it’s gotten too big for you to handle. This is especially true if you’re not the hoarder in question and are cleaning the property on behalf of someone else, be it a loved one who has been placed into a care facility or after a death in the family. Whatever the case may be, it’s never a bad idea to get an outside service to help you get things back in order again. Book an appointment today to get started.

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