Pro Tips on How to Declutter a Hoarders House

Hoarding disorder can cause a substantial amount of clutter and disorganization in a home, making it difficult for the individual to manage their environment.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my personal tips and experiences on how to clean a hoarder’s house effectively.

By the end of this post, you should gain insight into the challenges that come with decluttering and feel inspired to start the process.

Let’s dive right in.

Understanding Hoarding Disorder

If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you’ve heard of hoarding disorder.

But what exactly is it?

Hoarding disorder is a psychological condition that affects a person’s ability to discard or part with possessions, regardless of their actual value. It’s important to note that hoarding disorder is not the same thing as simply being messy or disorganized.

Instead, hoarding disorder is a complex and deep-seated issue that can be incredibly difficult to overcome.

Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder is marked by a number of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty letting go of possessions, regardless of their usefulness or value
  • Feeling a strong need to save items or acquire more possessions
  • Cluttered living spaces that prevent normal use of the home or workplace
  • Health and safety hazards, such as tripping or falling, fire hazards, or poor sanitation
  • Difficulty organizing possessions
  • Emotional distress, such as anxiety, indecisiveness or depression

How Hoarding Disorder Develops

Hoarding disorder can develop for a number of reasons, but one common factor is a history of trauma. This could include the loss of a loved one, an abusive or neglectful childhood, or a traumatic incident such as a fire or flood. Additionally, hoarding disorder may be linked to other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorder and depression.

Understanding the symptoms and the possible causes of hoarding disorder is crucial to approaching the task of decluttering a hoarder’s home. The disorder is complex and for the person with hoarding disorder, parting with possessions can be a deeply emotional and painful process. Therefore, it’s important to approach the task of decluttering with sensitivity and compassion.

Assess Hoarding Disorder and Safety Risks

In order to declutter a hoarder’s house, it is crucial to assess the situation beforehand. The hoarder disorder varies in severity, and the level of mess and chaos can greatly affect the method and the equipment you will need to declutter efficiently.

Determining the Level of Hoarding

Before deciding on a course of action, you should gauge the severity of the situation. If the hoarding is at a low level, with only minor clutter, you may be able to manage it with minimal assistance. However, if the hoarding is severe, and the hoarder is unable or unwilling to dispose of items, it may be necessary to call in a professional.

Assessing Safety Risks

With the level of hoarding in mind, you should also consider safety risks. Hoarding can pose a significant safety hazard, especially if there is a large amount of clutter. The hoarded objects can attract pests, block exits, and create tripping hazards.

If the hoarder’s home is hoarding food or waste, there is a risk of unsanitary conditions and foul odours that can lead to health concerns. In extreme cases, hoarding can increase the risk of fire or turn the home into a biohazard zone.

To ensure safety, you should consult with a professional who can evaluate the situation and recommend the necessary precautions. Bear in mind that the safety of the individuals involved is of top priority and decluttering the home safely is essential.

Gathering the Supplies Needed to Declutter

Before you embark on the process of decluttering a hoarder’s house, it’s essential to have the necessary supplies on hand. Being unprepared can quickly lead to frustration and make the process much more challenging than it needs to be. Here are the supplies needed for an efficient decluttering process:

1. Cleaning Supplies

It’s necessary to have a variety of cleaning supplies on hand when tackling a hoarder’s home. These include trash bags, gloves, disinfectant, cleaning rags, brooms, dustpans, and mops. In particularly dirty areas of the house, a shop vac may also come in handy.

2. Sorting Tools

Organization is one of the keys to decluttering a hoarder’s home efficiently. Being able to sort items into categories like keep, donate, or toss will simplify the process. Some sorting tools include cardboard boxes, color-coded bins, and portable shelving units.

3. Storage Containers

Once items have been sorted into categories, it’s essential to have storage solutions that work for the space. Clear, stackable storage containers are perfect for decluttering because they allow you to easily see what is inside them. They are also easy to label with contents or category.

4. Moving Aids

In the case of large items, such as furniture or appliances, it’s important to have the necessary moving aids on hand. A dolly or hand truck can significantly reduce the physical strain of decluttering larger items.

5. Safety Equipment

It’s crucial to ensure safety while decluttering a hoarder’s home. Having safety equipment on hand will limit the potential for accidents during the process. Equipment such as safety glasses or masks provides protection from harmful substances like dust, mold, or other allergens.

Having these items readily available will make the decluttering process more seamless, stress-free, and efficient. By being prepared and having the necessary supplies on hand, you are ready to tackle any mess that comes your way.

Creating a Plan

Before starting the decluttering process, it is important to establish a plan of action. This will help ensure that the process is completed in an efficient and organized manner. Here are some things to consider when creating a plan for decluttering a hoarder’s house.

Establishing a Plan of Action

The first step in creating a plan of action is to determine what needs to be done. Make a list of all the areas in the house that need to be decluttered, and prioritize them based on their level of clutter. This will help you break the process down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

When deciding on a plan of action, it’s important to be realistic about what can be accomplished in a given timeframe. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once; instead, break the process down into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be completed over time.

Determining a Timeline

Once you have a plan of action in place, it’s important to determine a timeline for completing the process. Again, be realistic about what can be accomplished in a given timeframe. Depending on the level of clutter, it may take several weeks or even months to complete the decluttering process.

Setting a timeline will also help you stay motivated and on track. It can be helpful to break the process down into smaller goals, such as decluttering one room per week. This will help you see progress over time and stay focused on the end goal.

Staying Flexible

It’s important to remember that things may not always go according to plan. Unexpected obstacles may arise, or the process may take longer than anticipated. That’s why it’s important to stay flexible and be willing to adjust your plan as needed.

If you find that a particular approach isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something different. The goal is to create a plan that works for you and helps you stay on track towards your end goal.

Sorting Through Items

Hoarding disorder can leave a significant amount of clutter in a person’s home. Sorting through that clutter can be a daunting task but it’s not impossible. In this section, I’ll give you some practical tips for sorting through items in a hoarder’s house.

Guidelines for Sorting

When you’re ready to start sorting through the clutter, it’s important to establish some guidelines to help you stay focused. One helpful guideline is the “one year rule.” If an item has not been used or worn in the last year, it’s probably safe to donate or throw away. Another guideline is to consider the item’s practicality. If the item is broken or unusable, it should be thrown away.

It’s also important to have a sorting system in place. You may find it helpful to create categories like “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away.” This will help you stay organized and keep track of your progress.

Determining What to Keep, Donate, or Throw Away

Determining what to keep, donate, or throw away can be a difficult decision. It’s important to remember that any progress is good progress. Start with small items and work your way up to larger things.

When deciding what to keep, it’s important to consider the item’s sentimental value. If an item has a personal connection, it should be kept. If you’re unsure, it’s helpful to ask yourself if the item brings you joy or serves a practical purpose.

Donating items can be a great way to give back to the community. Clothes, books, and furniture can be donated to a variety of organizations. Check with your local community center or charity organization to find out what items they need.

Throwing away items should be a last resort. It’s important to dispose of items correctly. Some items, like hazardous materials, require special disposal. Check local regulations to make sure you dispose of items in the proper way.

Sorting through a hoarder’s house can be overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. Establishing guidelines for sorting and a sorting system can help keep you organized. Remember to focus on the progress you’ve made and to ask for help if you need it.

Letting go of Items

As we discussed earlier, hoarding disorder is often linked with an emotional attachment to items, making it difficult for people to let go of them. However, holding on to too many items could pose a risk to your safety and health. Here are some tips to help you let go of items in a hoarder’s house.

Tackle one area at a time

It may be overwhelming to declutter an entire house in one go, especially when dealing with a hoarder’s house. Start by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Tackle one room at a time or even one area of a room at a time. Set small, achievable goals, and celebrate your progress.

Follow the one-year rule

When deciding what items to keep and what to discard, consider the one-year rule. If you haven’t used something in over a year, it’s probably safe to say that you don’t need it. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but it is an excellent starting point to help you let go of things that you don’t need.

Consider the sentimental value

As stated earlier, hoarding disorder is often linked with an emotional attachment to items. Therefore, when going through items, consider the sentimental value they hold for you. If you don’t need or use an item, but it holds sentimental value, you could consider taking a picture of it before letting it go.

Seek help if needed

Decluttering a hoarder’s house can be a challenging and emotional process. If you are struggling to let go of items or feel overwhelmed, seeking help from a mental health professional could be beneficial. They can help you cope with the emotions that arise and provide support throughout the decluttering process.

Avoid making hasty decisions

When decluttering, it can be tempting to make hasty decisions and discard items that you may later realize you needed. Take your time when going through items and be mindful of what you are discarding. A good idea is to pile everything that you are considering throwing away and reviewing it again after some time.

After selecting the items to discard, it’s essential to dispose of them correctly. Consider donating items to charities or selling them to make some extra cash. If items are beyond repair or function, dispose of them responsibly. Be aware that certain items, such as electronics and chemicals, require specialized disposal methods.

By following these tips, you will be able to let go of the items you don’t need and declutter your living space. Remember to be kind to yourself and not to rush the process.

Managing Hoarder’s Clutter

As a hoarder, letting go of items you’ve acquired over time can be challenging. Even when clutter is removed, adding new items and maintaining organization can be difficult. Here are some tips for managing clutter and maintaining organization after the decluttering process.

Create a Cleaning Schedule

Set a cleaning schedule for the entire house, including the areas that are often overlooked or not used as often. Write down a checklist of tasks, and mark them off as they are completed. You can also establish a routine of cleaning up after yourself as you go, such as putting dishes away immediately after use.

One in, One out

Aim to maintain the space you’ve created after decluttering by instituting a one-in, one-out rule. For every new item you bring in, an old item has to go out. This helps prevent new clutter from accumulating and helps you maintain organization.

Don’t Let Things Pile Up

It’s easy to let things pile up when you’re not actively paying attention. Small things quickly turn into big things, so make an effort to put things where they belong as soon as practical. Utilize containers and storage solutions to keep things organized and prevent piles.

Reflect and Reassess

Periodically reflect on your progress and reevaluate your goals. Celebrate your successes, invigorate yourself with new goals, and adjust your approach if it’s not working. This will help keep the process of managing clutter manageable.

Avoid Going Back to Old Habits

Stay disciplined with yourself to maintain organization and resist the temptation to hoard. Ask yourself whether an item brings real value to your life or is just something taking up space. By having clarity on what is important to you, you can prevent yourself from returning to old habits.

By following these tips, you can maintain your newly-decluttered space, prevent new clutter from accumulating, and live a more organized and stress-free life.

Seeking Professional Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding disorder, seeking professional help can make a significant difference. In fact, for many people with hoarding disorder, professional intervention is often necessary to overcome the disorder. In this section, we’ll explore when to seek professional help and steps to take when seeking it.

When to Seek Professional Help

It can be challenging to determine when hoarding behaviors have become problematic enough to require professional help. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional intervention:

  • The clutter in the home poses a safety risk
  • The individual is isolated due to the clutter in their home
  • The individual is experiencing severe emotional distress as a result of the clutter
  • The clutter is preventing the individual from performing daily tasks or living a functional life

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above, it may be time to start looking for professional help.

Steps to Take When Seeking Help

When seeking professional help, start by contacting a licensed therapist that specializes in hoarding disorder. These professionals will have experience in treating the disorder and can help the individual develop an individualized treatment plan.

If the hoarding behavior has become dangerous, seeking help from a professional organizing or cleaning service may be necessary. Professional organizing and cleaning services are experienced in dealing with hoarding situations and can help create a customized plan for tackling the clutter in the home.

It is key to remember that overcoming hoarding behavior is a process and often requires the help of professionals. Seeking help is a positive step towards reclaiming a safe and functional living space.

Moving Forward

Now that you have decluttered a hoarder’s house, it is important to create new habits and put coping strategies in place to prevent hoarding behaviors from resurfacing in the future.

Creating New Habits

One of the best ways to prevent hoarding from starting again is to establish new habits that encourage a clutter-free environment. For example, you can start by developing a daily cleaning routine that includes putting items away after use and regularly getting rid of items that are no longer necessary. Additionally, you can start to incorporate organizational tools, such as storage containers, into your daily routine to make it easier to keep your home organized.

Coping Strategies to Prevent Hoarding Behaviors

Another important aspect of moving forward is to develop coping strategies that can help you resist the urge to hoard. This can include developing a support system of family or friends who can provide encouragement and accountability, as well as finding healthier outlets for your emotions, such as exercise or creative hobbies. It’s also essential to remain vigilant and recognize the warning signs of hoarding behavior so that you can seek help if necessary.

Professional Help

If you find yourself struggling to maintain a clutter-free environment or experiencing signs of hoarding behavior, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you to understand the underlying factors driving your hoarding behavior and provide you with specific strategies tailored to your individual situation.

By implementing these strategies and seeking professional help when necessary, you can successfully move forward and maintain a clutter-free environment in your home. Remember, developing new habits and coping strategies takes time and effort, but the benefits of a clutter-free home are well worth it.

Final Thoughts

Decluttering a hoarder’s house can be a difficult and emotional experience, but it is vital for improving the safety and quality of life for those living in the home.

Remember to assess the situation, gather supplies, create a plan, and let go of unnecessary items.

By taking these steps, you can manage clutter and prevent hoarding behaviors in the future.

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

Let me know by sending me a message.

And if you found this post helpful, please share it on social media to help others who may be struggling with hoarding disorder.

Author: Scott Sanders


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