February 24, 2023
Reading Time 4 min.

Easy Decluttering Tips for Hoarders for a Clutter-Free Home

Are you looking for easy decluttering tips for hoarders?

Is your loved one struggling with keeping their homes clutter-free?

Are they struggling to find the stuff they need because of all the trinkets and junk?

If so, take heart — help is available. 

In this blog post, we'll provide practical decluttering tips for hoarders so those affected by hoarding can feel supported throughout their journey.

Let's get this started. 

The dangers of hoarding behaviors in seniors 

decluttering tips for hoarders - pets

Hoarding behaviors are more common than you think, especially with seniors aging in place. 

Statistics show that one in every 50 people shows signs of hoarding behaviors. And up to 5% of the world's population display clinically-diagnosable hoarding symptoms. 

Unlike other mental disorders, hoarding is pretty visible. 

People who are obese, live alone, or tend to be perfectionists are more vulnerable to hoarding. 

Adults aged 55 to 94 are also more prone to hoarding disorder than younger adults. 

People with a history of obsessive-compulsive disorderdepressionanxietyschizophrenia, and dementia are more likely to become hoarders.

Hoarding usually starts innocently enough, with just a little clutter here and there. 

What we need to know is that it can also come in different forms. 

We often think of cluttered homes when we hear about hoarding. Some people hoard paper, books, clothing, containers, and animals. 

People with a family history of hoarding can also adopt this disorder unconsciously. 

This unhealthy practice can deeply affect a person's ability to function well. It can also cause friction in a person's social and work relationships. 

But most of all, it can cause safety concerns like fire and fall hazards in seniors. 

How to identify hoarding disorders 

decluttering tips for hoarders - home

Here comes the next important question: how do I know if my mom is starting to have a hoarding disorder?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recently launched diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorders. 

Here are some of the symptoms you need to look out for according to DSM-5: 

  • Has a difficult time letting go and getting rid of possessions 
  • Thinks items need to be saved, which leads to feeling distressed when parting with them 
  • Congested living areas and other spaces within their homes 
  • Has dysfunctional relationships because of clutter 

If you see any of these symptoms in your loved ones, it's best to consult with health specialists for help. 

Read more about hoarding behaviors here.

Practical decluttering tips for hoarders and seniors

Now that we know what behaviors to look out for in our seniors living alone, here are the next steps to help them avoid hoarding problems. 

Suggest sorting items to keep and discard

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Remember that potential hoarders find it difficult to separate from their valuables.

So it's important to be as understanding and supportive of this process. 

Go through each item and help them process which items must be discarded. 

Be ready, though. This can trigger a lot of memories, both happy and painful ones. 

So make sure you also set healthy boundaries for yourself too. 

Remove clutter from common areas

Hoarders often struggle to keep common areas clean and free from clutter. 

However, it is possible to maintain a clutter-free home with some simple habits and routines. 

Start by organizing and decluttering a small area of your home, such as a pantry or closet. 

This will help you get into a more routine mindset for tackling larger projects. Have a designated place for regularly used items, such as remote controls, magazines, and books. 

Clear everything from one surface at a time and focus on vigilantly protecting it from becoming another clutter problem area. 

Ask for help removing excess furniture or larger items. The Junkluggers of north Atlanta can help with this in our area.

Finally, use baskets and storage containers to group like items together in areas where storage is the main purpose. 

With these tips, you can easily keep common areas in the house clean and free from clutter.

Make sure there's enough lighting in storage spaces

One of the most important steps is ensuring that storage spaces are well-lit. 

This can help seniors identify items they may have forgotten about and reduce the urge to hoard them. 

Additionally, having enough lighting in storage areas can help seniors feel more comfortable and less anxious when organizing their belongings.

Increases lighting also improves safety in a potentially hazardous area.

Celebrate small wins

decluttering tips for hoarders - celebrate wins

Praise and encouragement can reinforce good behaviors in seniors. 

So celebrating their wins is important for them. 

Small wins can include cleaning a drawer or clearing the table or floor.

The validation empowers our elders and provides the confidence to do more as they feel valued for their efforts.

Final thoughts 

Overall, hoarding is an issue we all should be mindful of when it comes to our loved ones aging in place. 

We must remember that care and understanding go beyond judgment or criticism. 

These decluttering tips for hoarders and seniors may not give complete relief right away. But it's the first step to building self-control in someone else's life. 

No senior should struggle alone with hoarding-related stress. So let's work together to make conversations about clutter easier for those around us. 

If you've found this helpful, please share it with a friend.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe at home and have a great day!


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