How to Help a Hoarder Declutter Their Home
Hoarding is a serious mental health disorder. It represents a chronic problem that reflects in difficulty disposing or eliminating possessions. Even the idea or simple thought of having to part with belongings causes tremendous, even crippling, pain in a person suffering from a hoarding disorder. This problem is a mental ailment that should be dealt with care and professional assistance when necessary. Unfortunately, a hoarding disorder may have an effect not only on the hoarder's life but also on the lives of their friends and family. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about how to help a hoarder declutter their home. This process will be far from easy, so prepare yourself for the rollercoaster!
Approach them without judgment
Decluttering a hoarder's home is critical because so much stuff is a serious fire hazard. If you want to help a hoarder declutter their home, the first thing you need to understand is they won't cooperate if they sense the judgment from your side. So, approach that person and show your support and your eagerness to listen. You don't even need to bring up the hoarding disorder at the beginning of this process. The ultimate goal of this first step is to build a direct connection with someone who is struggling with hoarding and to demonstrate to them that you can be their trusted and loyal companion.
You can start asking questions about how they feel about their life and then bring up the number of items they've been accumulating. However, you must remain nonjudgmental and extremely patient. Even when you bring up the hoarding subject, show them you're here to listen and nothing else!
Don't suggest help but assistance
It is critical to communicate correctly with a hoarder. It cannot be overstated how important it is to be nonjudgmental during this process. Once you feel you've built a relationship with your hoarding loved one, and you believe the individual has at least a reasonable degree of confidence in you, propose that the individual could benefit from some forms of assistance.
In other words, a hoarder requires assistance in two areas. First, they need hoarding treatment, which includes professional counseling. Second, a person in this situation requires practical support in decluttering the hoard.
Keep in mind that many, if not most, hoarders don't recognize that they have a problem. A person suffering from a hoarding disorder is prone to believe that acquiring goods is necessary. Such a person may be inclined to take extraordinary measures to defend a hoard, even becoming confrontational. This is why it's crucial to avoid telling them they need help. Instead, you need to be tactical and suggest assistance.
The trick is to be patient and never press the hoarder to get rid of belongings right away. A good tactic would be to propose that getting rid of particular objects in the house will make it more comfortable for the hoarder. For example, if the kitchen is overflowing with stuff (as is frequently the case), minimizing the number of things might free up appliances and reveal mold issues that are a health hazard. By removing this stuff, a person suffering from hoarding disorder can begin to live a more comfortable and balanced life.
Make a plan of action for decluttering
Given the state of the hoarder's house and the enormous quantity of junk accumulated, you may be wondering, "How can I adopt any decluttering strategies quickly?" Unfortunately, this mindset will launch you back at square one.
Another crucial thing to remember when you want to help a hoarder declutter their home is to have them as involved in the process as possible. The goal is to craft a plan of action with the hoarder, a plan in which the hoarder has ownership. This will make them feel in control, which is extremely important.
The main goal of this step is to develop explicit criteria for what objects will be preserved and which will be removed. The action plan must also specify how the discarding procedure will be carried out.
For example, you can suggest a hoarder put certain items in the storage unit. They won't have this crippling pain of parting from these items forever. However, once they get them out of the house, they will see that they can live without them. This is the first step of actually getting rid of unnecessary belongings. So, help your hoarder loved one pack them the right way and prepare them for storing their stuff. Believe it or not, this is something that will give a hoarder peace of mind.
Let the hoarder make final decisions
The importance of the hoarder's sense of control over the decluttering process cannot be overstated.
When it comes to the tempo of the decluttering process and assisting a hoarder in eliminating unnecessary things, the hoarder makes the final decision - period. The only exception is when a person has been physically or mentally disabled to the point of being unable to comprehend what is going on around them.
Get professional assistance
Once you establish a trusted relationship with your loved one and they start to cooperate in the decluttering process, you can get professional assistance. Not all the pressure has to fall on your shoulders! Skilled and considerate specialists are available to help you and a hoarder clean up and declutter. An expert knows the tactics and strategies necessary to achieve the goal of decluttering a hoard. This will be a massive help to both you and the hoarder. Most importantly, it will come as a huge relief for you.
The final thoughts: Bin there, dump that
If you want to help a hoarder declutter their home, you need to understand how serious this condition is. One thing you can never do is judge them. They need to feel like they can trust you and rely on you through this process. Moreover, it would be best to let them feel in control of decluttering. Give them suggestions and alternatives. Don't ever be pushy, and always remain patient. Once they start realizing the seriousness of the situation, make sure you're there to show support and listen! Only this way will you be able to help them.