How to Help Someone Who Suffers From Hoarding Disorder

April 16 2021

Understanding and Helping a Loved One with Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding clean up and helping someone with a hoarding disorder can often be a sensitive and challenging task.

Hoarding disorder is a serious mental health condition where a person excessively saves items or has persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with their possessions. This behaviour leads to clutter that can significantly disrupt the living abilities of the person and their family. As well, it can cause strain and conflict for everyone involved. Lastly, it makes the home a breeding ground for dust and bacteria that can lead to physical health issues if it’s not dealt with. 

Hoarding leaves the home in a messy, and potentially dangerous, state that leaves loved ones longing for a clean and happy home again.

Read this article to learn more about hoarding disorder and the importance of hoarding clean up.

Things You Can Do To Help

If you’re looking for ways to help someone who is suffering from hoarding, the first step is to accept that they have a problem, and simultaneously accept that you can’t force them to get better

The best thing you can do for them is to provide a supportive and empathetic environment that encourages them to begin their journey to recovery. 

house of person with hoarding disorder

Assess Your Behaviour and it’s Impact

Before you can help someone with hoarding disorder, it’s crucial to assess your own behaviour. Reflect on anything that you might be doing to enable their behaviour

Determine if you are unintentionally enabling their hoarding tendencies by:

  • Saving newspapers or magazines for them.
  • Paying for subscriptions that add to their collection.
  • Assisting in finding storage space for their possessions.

Create a list of ways you might be accommodating the hoarding disorder behaviour. It’s also important that you adjust your behaviour in small and manageable steps

Changing your behaviour drastically might impact the person suffering from hoarding disorder negatively.  

cluttered drawer from hoarding

Educate Yourself on Hoarding Disorders

Offering support to someone with a hoarding disorder starts with an understanding of the condition. 

Hoarding disorder is more than just simple clutter and disorganization. Hoarding disorder is a recognized mental health issue characterized by an intense emotional attachment to possessions, regardless of their actual value. These items add up over time and produce a substantial amount of clutter, which can have an impact on the person’s well-being and living circumstances. 

Learning about the psychological aspects of hoarding is a good place to start if you want to offer effective hoarding help.

This includes:

Recognizing the Symptoms of Hoarding 

It’s critical to understand the warning signs of hoarding disorder. Some common indicators to look out for are the inability to discard things and an excessively cluttered living area, especially if they begin to significantly affect day-to-day living.

Understanding the Emotional Ties Associated with Hoarding Behaviour

Individuals who suffer from hoarding disorder frequently feel emotionally attached to the things they own, consider them to be irreplaceable, or believe they will need them in the future. It’s critical to recognise this element so that you can handle the circumstance delicately and with sensitivity.

Understand the Risks of Hoarding

Hoarding can lead to unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. Too much stuff in a home can cause fire and tripping hazards. Hoarding can also lead to unsanitary environments that could pose health risks. Understanding these risks to health and safety can highlight how urgent it is to get help with hoarding clean up.

Understanding the Causes of Hoarding

The exact cause of hoarding disorder is unknown. However, It has been suggested that factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, and stressful life events can contribute to its development. Educating yourself on these factors can help gain a deeper understanding of what your loved one is experiencing.

By educating yourself on hoarding disorders, you can be fully equipped with the knowledge needed to provide compassionate and empathetic support. Education enables you to be a source of encouragement and guidance as your loved one takes the steps toward reclaiming their space and their life. 

Improve Your Communication

Discussing hoarding disorder in an open and accepting way will benefit everyone involved. 

Respecting the person’s attachment to the items is an important step in being able to create a supportive environment.

Recovering from hoarding disorder is not a straight line; They may be improving one minute and then seem like they are getting worst the next. 

Being able to openly discuss how hoarding disorder impacts everyone involved will continue to help someone in their recovery. 

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Celebrate the Small Wins

Recovery from hoarding disorder can be a slow process. In order to keep the momentum going It’s important to recognize and celebrate small milestones. Some of these can be seen as significant achievements for someone struggling with hoarding behaviours.

Assist in Organization and Hoarding Cleanup

When it comes to addressing the physical aspect of hoarding disorder, organization and cleanup are crucial steps in creating a safer and more livable environment. However, it’s essential to approach this process with care and understanding, as it can be emotionally taxing for the individual struggling with hoarding.

Encourage your loved one to lead the hoarding cleanup process. Discarding their items without consent can be detrimental. Instead, offer your support and respect their readiness to part with their possessions.

Here are some tips for assisting a loved one with hoarding cleanup. 

Start with a Plan for Hoarding Clean up

Develop a step-by-step plan for sorting through items. This plan should prioritize safety and ease of movement within the home. Establish clear, achievable goals for each cleanup session.

Respect Their Decision-Making

It’s important to let the individual make decisions about their belongings. This empowers them and helps maintain their autonomy and dignity. Your role is to facilitate the cleanup and not to dictate it.

Use a Sorting System

Introduce a sorting system with categories such as ‘keep,’ ‘donate,’ ‘recycle,’ and ‘discard.’ This can help simplify decision-making and make the process less overwhelming.

Be Patient and Encouraging

The process can be slow, as each decision about an item might require time. Offer encouragement for each decision made and be patient, as this process can be emotionally challenging.

Ensure Emotional Support throughout

Be there to listen and provide emotional support. Cleanup sessions can stir up a range of emotions, from sadness to anxiety. Having someone to talk to can make a significant difference.

Maintain Focus on Health and Safety

Keep the conversation focused on the benefits of cleanup, such as improved safety, health, and comfort in the home. Continuously remind them that their well-being is the priority.


person in therapy for hoarding disorder

Finding Treatment for Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding is considered a mental health issue. Therefore, it can be treated in much the same way as other mental health conditions.

Helping someone seek treatment is important but can be intimidating for them. Again, forcing them into treatment is not the right course of action. 

Do your own research and provide them with the information, so they can make the decision for themselves. 

How Can Enviropure Help with Hoarding Cleanup?

Cleaning up the clutter created by someone who is suffering from hoarding disorder is almost always too much for one person to take care of. 

When they are ready to take this step in their journey to recovery, Enviropure Home Services is here to help with hoarding clean up services. With many years of experience and extensive training, our crews are ready to assist in any way they can with the hoarding cleanup process. After helping with hoarding cleanup, we always recommend doing a deep cleaning of the house as well since it hasn’t been done in years in many cases. 

From clearing out space to cleaning and sanitizing the rooms, let Enviropure take care of all the steps involved in returning your home back to a healthy living space. 

Contact us to begin the process of reclaiming your home! 

By |2023-11-15T20:48:38+00:00April 16th, 2021|Comments Off on How to Help Someone Who Suffers From Hoarding Disorder

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