Pin Me

Top Tips to Help a Hoarder

written by: Roohi Khan • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/10/2010

If you think you can never overcome compulsive hoarding behavior, you need to try these basic tips for hoarders and see the difference they make to your life.

  • slide 1 of 7

    Accumulating things that are often worthless and not being able to discard them even though they endanger the safety of the residents of the house is what compulsive hoarding is all about. Considered to be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, this behavior is often difficult to treat since most hoarders do not accept that they have a problem. However, the right treatment can really make a world of a difference in the behaviors and life of these people. Here we take a look at some basic tips for hoarders that can help you overcome hoarding.

  • slide 2 of 7

    Assess your needs

    Ask yourself, "Do you really need this item?" You can come up with a hundred uses for a particular item, but the question that you should ask yourself is whether you actually use it or will you use it in the future. If you haven't used it for years, you will probably not use it ever. The best thing to do here is to throw the item into the trash can or sell it in a garage sale. You also don't need to keep extras of anything. So, if you have one, you don't need another.

  • slide 3 of 7

    Be prepared to face your fears

    Overcoming hoarding is not always an easy task. You have to face your fears and stick to your plan of getting treatment and getting rid of the unnecessary things. You may end up making a wrong decision by selling off a thing that you realize you needed. However, you can always buy a new and probably a better one. So, stop thinking what if you make a mistake and throw away something valuable. Remember, nothing bad will happen if you do throw away a thing.

  • slide 4 of 7

    Stop allowing junk to pile up

    You are not going to overcome compulsive hoarding within a few hours or few days. This has to be a continuous process. Once you have removed the existing clutter in your house, you also need to take steps to ensure that the junk does not pile up again. So, be patient with this problem. Don't allow the things to become overwhelming problems again. Clean them as they come along.

  • slide 5 of 7

    Get help and treatment

    You may be able to overcome compulsive hoarding on your own. However, getting into some sort of treatment with a mental health provider who specializes in this behavior will help you go a long way. A psychotherapist specializing in cognitive behavior therapy can help you understand why you feel compelled to hoard, help you get rid of the clutter in your home, and help improve your decision-making and relaxation skills. A therapist will especially be supportive if you have any setbacks on the way.

  • slide 6 of 7

    Reach out to other people

    Loneliness is one of the major factors that can cause you to hoard more. This is why confining yourself to your home will not help you overcome hoarding. If you feel uncomfortable inviting guests to your house because of the clutter, make it a point to visit the houses of your friends and relatives.

    These basic tips for hoarders can really help you overcome hoarding that can isolate you from your loved ones. However, if you have a loved one who is a compulsive hoarder, don't argue with them since they will only become more stubborn in their behavior. Instead be prepared to listen to them and discuss with them how these behaviors are interfering in their lives and how the removing the clutter can bring about a positive change in their lives.

  • slide 7 of 7

    References

    Hartford Hospital: Anxiety Disorders Center: Compulsive Hoarding

    http://www.harthosp.org/InstituteOfLiving/AnxietyDisordersCenter/CompulsiveHoarding/default.aspx#QA

    MayoClinic.com: Hoarding

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hoarding/DS00966