How Do You Help a Hoarder Clean Up?


Quick Answer

To help a hoarder clean up, start small. Throwing out everything at once may create feelings of anxiety or depression; instead, go through one small space or collection each week. Other ways to help a hoarder clean up are handling objects only once, scaling down collections and putting items in a box for six months.

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Full Answer

A hoarder can best break his habit by breaking the complex task of cleaning up into small, manageable parts, beginning, for example, with a kitchen or office drawer. Separating hoarded collections within a space is a logical next step For example, throw out outdated medicines or toiletries from the medicine cabinet one day, and the next, throw out clutter from underneath the sink or countertop. In the bedroom, declutter just the nightstand rather than attempting the entire room.

Handle an object only once; resist the tendency to put it someplace "for now." Make a permanent decision about each item, rather than re-evaluating each time the object is out of place. Paring down collections entails choosing one or two special pieces to save, then consigning, donating or tossing the rest. Suggest that the hoarder put items in a small box with a date on it; if the box hasn't been opened in six months, he should throw out the entire thing.

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