When someone you care about struggles with hoarding, it can take a lot of time and effort to help them retake control of their lives. Hoarding disorder is a complex mental disorder, and while it can be treated, there are steps you can take to help your loved one before their hoarding gets out of control.
Below are some resources for hoarders, and the people caring for them, to explore for guidance and support.
Talking to others dealing with the same issues can be invaluable for hoarders, so it’s a good idea to seek out support groups as they declutter their living spaces. Hoarders’ support groups can be found online and offline, including through the organizations listed below; groups might meet in-person, in Facebook groups, on forums, or through video call software like Skype and Zoom.
Similar groups exist for friends and family members, which can help them deal with the stress and relationship strains hoarding might cause.
Even when you recognize that someone’s a hoarder, that’s only part of the equation. Hoarding disorder can develop from a number of issues and past experiences; not every case will look the same. Find professional resources and support programs from informational websites and organizations dedicated to hoarding disorder, such as:
Clutterers Anonymous (CA) follows the classic 12-step recovery program that focuses on the individual's physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. They offer a questionnaire to help hoarders identify and acknowledge that they have a problem before trying to tackle it.
Help your loved one find their nearby CA chapter, or if they'd rather meet remotely, Zoom and phone meeting options are also available.
This site is dedicated to providing resources to hoarding and other disorders stemming from OCD. The International OCD Foundation Hoarding Center boasts a rich resource directory to connect hoarders and those affected by hoarding to therapists, treatment programs, clinics, support groups, and organizations nationwide.
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization® consists of professional organizers, productivity specialists, and other professionals who offer training and organizational resources influenced by research from the medical, educational, and neuroscience communities.
Download their free Clutter-Hoarding Scale® tool to help assess your loved one's home environment's safety, and use it as a starting point to address their hoarding.
While Messies Anonymous focuses less on hoarding disorder and more on general organizing and housekeeping principles, this online group founded by the author of Winning the Clutter War still contains valuable resources for decluttering, cleaning, and organizing and follows a 12-step program.
Whether you’re actively helping a hoarder clean up their home or simply recognize they’re having trouble, it might be time to ask them if they’ve considered seeking professional help for their condition. Hoarding disorder is treatable, and there are therapy programs specifically tailored to address the underlying concerns.
Though a hoarder might be feeling defeated or at a loss about their situation, you can help them find providers and programs if they’re ready. Ultimately the choice to get help is theirs, but it won’t hurt to let them know doctors and therapists are available to help them address the issue.
Depending on how long the hoarding’s gone unchecked, you and your loved one might not be enough to clear the present clutter. Along with enlisting other friends or relatives, you can contact professional waste removal, dumpster rental, and cleaning companies to extract the hoarding mess.
These professionals can help you set up an elimination plan while still allowing hoarders to face the clutter at their own pace.
Dealing with hoarding disorder is no small task, from tackling the hoarding to addressing the underlying influences. That doesn’t mean you and the hoarder in your life have to figure it out by yourselves. Whether you’re just looking for more information or want to talk to others dealing with hoarding, the resources above can help hoarders and their loved ones take on the illness and make positive changes in their lives. Check out the Bin There Dump That Corporate blog for even more tips on living a clutter-free lifestyle.