How to Help a Hoarder

October 14, 2016

If you are wondering how to help a hoarder, whether a parent, friend, or loved one, you have come to the right place. A hoarder is someone with a psychological issue that results in the collecting of items and inability to want to dispose of them, to the point that his or her life is being consumed. Here are some ways you can help:


  1. Educate yourself and the individual on hoarding. Since hoarding is usually a symptom of a psychological disorder, you’ll want to give your hoarding parent, friend, or loved one the tools to identify and solve the root of the issue. This is an especially helpful approach for helping a hoarder in denial, because it gives that person the option to realize his or her condition individually, and will build trust.



  1. Be supportive of a hoarder in recovery. Have patience, it might take a long time to see results. Help foster problem solving skills like being able to decide what is a want vs. a need, or coming up with better coping mechanisms. Set boundaries to prevent the hoarding from affecting your own life, but remember to be respectful when expressing concerns. If the problem persists, encourage your loved one to explore professional help such as psychological treatment or a cleaning service.



  1. Create a strategy to get rid of things. Focus on one area at a time, and refrain from simply buying containers unless they’re absolutely necessary. Containers are a great way to organize, but acquiring more items may not be the healthiest choice for a hoarder. Never get rid of things without permission, and whenever possible let the hoarder decide what stays and what goes. Make decisions in fewer than 15 seconds, as the longer you think about something, the more likely you are to keep it. Learning to let go will take some practice, but asking questions on how to help a hoarder, will lead to the questions if the item will be used any time soon is a great place to start.


Once you’ve determined how to help a hoarder. be sure to remain consistent. The road to recovery is a long one, but with your help a hoarder’s life can transform. For more assistance on how to help a hoarder cleanup and become clutter free, call Hoarders 911.

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