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How To Declutter Your Hoarders

Creating a clutter-free environment in a home affected by hoarding can be a challenging but rewarding task. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to declutter a hoarder's home:

Hoarding affects between 5 and 14 million people in the United States according to Scientific American. This disorder has a hold on many people and is treatable. It's important to understand why you or a loved one does not want to organize and declutter their home.

Many moving crews are skilled at decluttering hoarders' nests. This can be a challenge for any individual, but decluttering items can be very freeing and liberating. With these types of downsizings, care has to be taken into account. A hoarder's nest can be a safety hazard, and with it comes specific criteria that need to be met when moving.

Related: Apex Honored by Move For Hunger

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding is the compulsive need to save items. These aren't necessarily items that have been in the family for generations. These are items that may have been bought a day ago or are simply trash. Hoarders however, have a compulsive need to keep those items. This compulsion can lead to things being stored for long periods in all areas of the house.

Many professional movers can help declutter items and help move them in a safe way. Everyone wants this to be a smooth transition so we would like to show you how to provide help for the hoarder.

Understanding Hoarding

  1. Recognize the Condition: Understand that hoarding is a recognized psychological condition. It often involves emotional attachment to possessions, making it hard to part with them.
  2. Empathy and Patience: Approach the situation with empathy. Remember that decluttering can be emotionally challenging for the hoarder.

Preparing for the Task

  1. Safety First: Assess the home for safety hazards such as blocked exits, piles that could collapse, or unsanitary conditions.
  2. Gather Supplies: You'll need garbage bags, boxes for sorting, cleaning supplies, and protective gear like gloves and masks.

Establishing a Plan

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Start with small, manageable goals. Tackling one room or a specific area at a time can prevent feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Involve the Hoarder: Ensure that the person whose items are being decluttered is involved in the decision-making process. This fosters cooperation and reduces anxiety.

Sorting and Organizing

  1. Create a Sorting System: Designate areas or boxes for items to keep, donate, recycle, and discard.
  2. Categorize Items: Go through items one by one. Help the hoarder decide what to keep by asking questions about the item's utility and emotional value.
  3. Limit What’s Kept: Encourage the hoarder to limit the number of items they keep, especially if they are similar or duplicates.

Cleaning and Rearranging

  1. Deep Clean: Once an area is decluttered, thoroughly clean it. This can include dusting, vacuuming, and sanitizing surfaces.
  2. Organize Remaining Items: Create an organizational system for the items that are kept. This could involve shelving, labels, and storage containers.

Emotional Support and Aftercare

  1. Ongoing Support: Recognize that decluttering is just the first step. The hoarder may need ongoing support to prevent relapse.
  2. Consider Professional Help: In some cases, therapy or professional organizing help may be beneficial.


  1. Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular visits to help maintain the decluttered state.
  2. Encourage New Habits: Encourage habits that prevent re-accumulation of clutter, like regular sorting of mail or a one-in-one-out policy for new items.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  1. Respect Privacy and Ownership: Always get permission before discarding someone else’s belongings.
  2. Legal Compliance: In extreme cases, hoarding can lead to violations of housing codes. Be aware of local laws and regulations.

Related: Tips for Creating Floor Plans

Tips to Improve Your Hoarders Nest Decluttering

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to moving a hoarder. They usually have so much clutter that it can be hard to secure, dangerous to carry and cumbersome. Here are a few tips for a hoarder's nest declutter:

  • Learn About The Condition: You begin to help them move by learning more about the condition they are facing. Learning about it will help you gauge the best way to approach the hoarder and provide the best service possible.
  • Plan Ahead: Planning will keep you prepared for any situation. Cleaning out a hoarder's nest can be fraught with dangers and pitfalls. For example, some items may be in hard-to-reach space or are overly cumbersome. This is where planning ahead comes in. Being prepared for outlying circumstances is the only way to protect yourself from injury.
  • Let The Hoarder Or Their Guardian Be The Ultimate Decision Maker: This is incredibly important to the success of the declutter. This is because they have a sense of ownership over these items and may not want them cleaned up or moved in the first place.
  • Talk Storage Options: Discussing how to declutter is an important talk to have with a hoarder, but equally important is a talk regarding what to do with their items once the decluttering is completed. It's good to let them know that their items can be stored and protected from the elements and damage until it is decided what to do with them.

Your hoarding experience will be filled with different challenges throughout your time decluttering. Therefore, it's essential to give them space and read this blog for more information on how best to declutter their home.

Related: Moving Checklist: What to Do After You Move

A Great Storage Option To Help You Declutter Your Hoarders Nest

There are a few great options when it comes to storing your items. Storing your items with a moving and storage company has benefits that allow the hoarder to feel comfortable in their choice. Here are some options available to store these items.

  • Warehouse Storage: Climate-controlled and monitored 24/7 by a team of skilled professionals. Warehouse Storage is an excellent option for hoarders to store their items. All sofas and oversized furniture items can be covered by Clear Guard shrink wrapping and placed on heavy-duty industrial warehouse racking.
  • Self Storage: Self-storage requires more effort on your part but is still a very viable option for storing items. With self-storage, you would have to move things yourself into the storage unit. They will be 24/7 monitored and may be climate-controlled, but without a professional's added security and care.

Related: How to Safely Pack Up Your Home Before You Move

Final Thoughts

With these ideas in mind, you can focus on the positives of the experience. Using the tips above can help you develop healthy habits in the hoarder.

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