House & Home

5 Simple Declutter Tips for Hoarders: How to Get Started Now

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Do you want to stop hoarding and change your life? This post contains simple declutter tips for hoarders to help you get started NOW. You will also learn why do people keep junk, the difference between pack rat and hoarder and a little about the psychology and emotions behind clutter and shame.

Related: Purging House Clutter – What you need to know

If you’re truly a hoarder, you being here is about more than just getting organized.

It’s about working through the emotions and thought process that has gotten you to this point.

The point where you’ve accumulated so much STUFF that you can barely function in your surroundings.

It’s a great thing that you’ve realized there is a need for you to do some letting go of the THINGS that are taking over your life.

Because honestly, it’s nearly impossible to convince a hoarder to get rid of their stuff. And you know it.

So you’ve taken the first two steps:

  1. You’ve realized there is a problem.
  2. You are searching for a solution.

Now, it’s time to dig in a little and try to understand the psychology and emotions behind why some people hoard things that are unnecessary.

Once, you have a better understanding of why, you’ll be ready to get started with the simple declutter tips for hoarders below.

Why do People Keep Junk?

So, what causes a person to become a hoarder?

Ever heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?”

A hoarder feels a NEED to keep things. Sometimes it’s a sentimental attachment. Sometimes it’s about fear of discarding and needing it some day. But some researchers say it could be part of an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

So, what’s the difference between a pack rat and a true hoarder?

Difference Between Pack Rat and Hoarder

What’s a pack rat?

I consider a pack rat to be someone who likes to have ALL THE THINGS. This person knows it’s not necessary to keep these things but has an idea for using them one day.

The keywords here being “ONE DAY.”

So, they hold on to them in hopes of doing something wonderful with them -when time allows. These things are typically put away or organized in a way that doesn’t affect their daily living.

Let’s take magazines for instance. Say you enjoy looking at magazines in your leisurely time. However, with all your work and family responsibilities, you haven’t had the time to actually sit down and scour through them. So they just keep piling up until you find time.

This is a pack rat. They are there stacking up, but they aren’t interfering with your daily living. Except for the fact they’re adding to your anxiety a little every time you walk past them and realize there are just so many.

So, what’s being a hoarder really like?

As mentioned before, for hoarders, collecting unnecessary stuff is nearly uncontrollable. Someone who hoards might experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of functional living space from having too much stuff
  • Anxiety when thinking about or trying to discard items
  • Distance from family and friends due to embarrassment
  • Feeling of overwhelm from having too much stuff
  • Inability to decide what to do with things
  • Emotional attachment to specific items

Clutter and Shame

Shame is another emotion often experienced by hoarders. Once it has gotten so bad that it’s difficult to function in your own home, isolation becomes an issue.

Prevent the isolation and try these simple tips below.

Simple Declutter Tips for Hoarders

Whether you’re a hoarder, pack rat or just have an excess amount of clutter, these tips for decluttering will help you get started now.

Get your house back in order sooner rather than later by following these steps for decluttering.

Choose a Local Donation

Knowing that your things are going to be useful to someone else can ease the anxiety associated with letting things go.

Find a local donation or charity of your choice to give your things to. Choose one that will benefit the most and that you feel will use your items.

Enlist the Help of a Friend

Don’t do it alone! Call a close friend or family member that you know is sympathetic and understanding.

They can help talk you through your anxiety and help relieve the stress of doing it alone.

One Room at a Time

Don’t try to conquer he whole house at one time. This will be too overwhelming. And you will most likely give up before getting started good.

Grab some boxes, containers, etc., so you can separate things out as you go. And take items to the room they belong in.

Clear Surfaces First

Starting with surfaces will help you feel accomplished sooner and will give you the encouragement and motivation to keep going.

Try your best to make a decision on what to do with the item as soon as you pick it up. If it’s trash, throw it away.

Start with counter tops, end tables, night stands, open shelves. You will start to see the clutter disappear. And the open space will help you breathe easier.

Ask Yourself These Questions

As you are working through your items, trying to determine whether to keep, discard or give away, ask yourself these questions.

Is this something I need?

When was the last time I wore or used this?

Will I ever use this? If so, when?

Are duplicates of this item necessary?

Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose?

Could I use this space for something more important?

If this item suddenly went missing, would I even know it was gone?

Just Get Started Decluttering

I know it’s hard. You can feel the anxiety building up in your chest just thinking about going thought it all and getting rid of your things. But if you truly want to get organized and be able to use your home like you should, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Take your time, plan ahead and use these simple declutter tips for hoarders to help you get your house back in order.

box of clutter caused by hoarding
box of clutter

2 Comments

    • Jillian

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