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How to Help a Hoarder Downsize Their Home with Compassion

How to Help a Hoarder Downsize Their Home with Compassion - Bio-One of Pittsburgh

If you have a loved one who is a hoarder, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to help them clean and tidy up their home. You might be wondering where to start or how to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to help a hoarder downsize their home with compassion.

Create a Plan

Make a list of essential items that the hoarder cannot part with and include them in the plan. The plan should be realistic, achievable, and adaptable, given that hoarders may get emotionally attached to their possessions. Moreover, organizing the plan of attack also helps the hoarder visualize the achievable target and gives a structured idea of how the downsizing process will be.

Take a look at this hoarding clean-up plan, developed by our friends at Bio-One of Oceanside:

1. Educate Yourself about Hoarding Disorder: Reach Out to a Mental Health Specialist

2. Contact a Professional Hoarding Cleaning Service to Get Started

3. Decide What to Keep, What to Donate, and What to Throw Away

4. Create a Plan to Keep Your House Clean and Organized in the future

Read the full article here: 4-Step Plan For a Successful Hoarding Cleaning with Bio-One

Be Patient and Understanding

The first step in helping a hoarder downsize their home is to be patient and understanding. Keep in mind that hoarding is a mental health disorder, and it can take years for a hoarder to accumulate their possessions. You have to approach this situation with empathy, without judgment or criticism. Understand that hoarders may not be able to part with their belongings immediately, and getting angry or frustrated may only worsen the situation.

Offer Help and Support

Hoarders usually struggle with anxiety, unsure of where to begin. You can offer to assist in sorting items into piles, labeling boxes, or even transporting items to donation centers or recyclers. Additionally, you can offer emotional support by listening to their concerns, providing encouragement, and celebrating small successes. A few ways to help clean up every room include:

helping a hoarder downsize and declutter bedroom
  • Sort items into categories: Keep, donate, recycle, or throw away.
  • Create a timeline: Set deadlines for when certain tasks should be completed.
  • Start with less emotional rooms: Begin in areas that are not as emotionally charged, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Respect their decisions: Hoarders may have a sentimental attachment to items, so respect their choices and do not force them to get rid of anything they are not ready to part with.
woman helping friend in kitchen
Image by Freepik

Keep in mind that downsizing a hoarder's home is a big project, so be willing to help in the long run rather than a one-off event.

Encourage and Approach Professional Help

Seeking professional help is a vital step in helping a hoarder downsize their home. In many cases, hoarding is accompanied by additional mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression. It may be necessary to seek the guidance of a mental health professional who can help diagnose and treat these underlying issues.

Learn more: Tips for Helping a Loved One Dealing With Hoarding Disorder

professional help for hoarding example

Additionally, hoarding cleanup companies, like our team at Bio-One of Pittsburgh, can help remove large amounts of clutter, dismantle waste, and sanitize homes. We are the leading hoarding cleanup company in Western Pennsylvania and can take on any hoarding situation with care, compassion, and discretion.