Hoarding can be a real health issue both mentally and physically for those affected. Not only can the mental toll of not being able to let things go become an issue, but hoarding can also cause a home to become unsafe and in some instances, unhealthy.
If you think you may have a hoarding disorder then you can seek professional help. Talking to a therapist may help you understand your hoarding behaviour and enable you to overcome the root cause. Just know, it’s not uncommon and you aren’t alone. Apparently 2-6% of people have hoarding disorder.
You will also need will power and self-motivation to overcome your hoarding tendencies. Read on for five decluttering tips for hoarders to get started on a clutter free lifestyle.
#1 Five a day
Even those without an official hoarding disorder diagnosis can find the process of de-cluttering overwhelming, so start small. Don’t put pressure on yourself to immediately clear out and organise your entire home in a weekend, but do bite size chunks that are manageable. For example, if your wardrobes are overflowing and you wish to declutter your clothes, then set a challenge of five items per day to either sell, donate or recycle. By the end of one month you will have decluttered 150+ items of clothing! The same process can be applied to whatever object is cluttering up your home, be it books, games, ornaments, tools, etc. Once you’re able to choose five items a day with ease, then up to seven or even ten per day.
#2 Consider using self-storage
If your home is becoming unsafe because of hoarding, then consider using a self-storage facility such as Magenta self storage as an interim measure. You don’t have to part immediately with your belongings if it’s too mentally distressing, but you can move them into a storage facility for the time being to make your living space safe again. Then you can work through your belongings in the self-storage to decide what you really need to keep and allow back in your home, as well as what you can pass on. A self-storage unit shouldn’t be used for gathering and hoarding more belongings, but as a separate space for you to make your home safe and give you the time needed to work through the hoard and come to terms with letting the objects go.
#3 Tackle one room at a time
Much like the advice in #1, don’t attempt to take on the entire house at once, but instead choose a room to start with. Take it one room at a time. Once you have made progress in one room and decluttered it may motivate you to do the rest once you see how much living space, time and life you can regain. If your home is becoming quite unsanitary due to the hoard then start with your kitchen and move onto the bathroom, then your living spaces. Otherwise pick the room you would most like to declutter first.
#4 Ask for help
Don’t be ashamed in asking for help. Choose your most organised, ruthless (when it comes to decluttering), but understanding, friend to help guide you and encourage you.
#5 Donate or recycle items immediately
Once you have piles of items to give away, donate or recycle, do it. Don’t let these piles or boxes of goods sit around in your house tempting you to recover them. Ideally, as soon as a box or bag is full, then take it to the charity shop or recycling centre. Once your home is sufficiently decluttered then continue with the same rule. Keep a bag or box in a cupboard to put future unwanted or outgrown items as time goes on, then once full, donate/recycle. This will ensure you stay on top of your household clutter and prevent the task becoming unmanageable.