If you are trying to find out how to help a hoarder clean, you probably know someone who has a lot of stuff. And it is important that you know that that person you know might have a hoarding disorder.
Now, we are no psychologists or psychiatrists. However, what we can say is that the hoarding disorder might be a disorder on its own or co-exist with some other disorders.
Whatever the case is, though, the first step to helping a hoarder clean is actually to help them get professional help.
It mightn’t be easy, especially considering that they might not have acknowledged that there is an issue. However, this must be done if you will achieve any form of success.
You might need to get yourself educated on the issue just so that you have ammunition to help that person you know get all the help they need.
Now, about the actual cleaning….
Do Not Just Take Their Stuff!
While you might think it is a good idea to take a hoarder’s stuff in order to teach them that they do not need said stuff, it is actually a terrible idea.
Hoarders have a reason for hoarding even though it might not sound logical to you. And a good number of them have developed some form of emotional attachment to all that stuff.
This is why they need the help of a professional in the first place because the problem is not that they are collecting all that stuff but that they believe they need all that stuff.
Discuss With Them
What you want to do first is to have a discussion. Be careful not to come across as highhanded or judgemental. You ought to be and sound supportive like a loved one and not questioning like a healthcare inspector.
One important thing to discuss is what and what your loved one is willing to let go off.
Remember not to pressure them into anything; just gently persuade them to let go of stuff. If they are not willing, the whole thing could fall flat.
Because of how much stuff they definitely have, it will be more effective if you categorize their stuff. So, you’ll be discussing what can and cannot be gotten rid of by categories.
Something else to discuss is whether or not they are willing to allow strangers to mess with their stuff.
However, there is a level of clutter that you might not be able to deal with yourself. And if you know that some things in the house are toxic, you’ll be needing professional cleaners for that.
Generally, discussing with them makes it so that they are part of the whole decluttering process.
And this is very important because having them be a part of the process and see the clutter leave makes it so that they are not shocked by the end result.
Don’t Overburden Yourself
We know that you really love that loved one but you most probably cannot deal with a hoarder’s hoard all on your own.
And if you try to do it all by yourself, you might be setting yourself up to be overwhelmed and frustrated. So, seek help when and where you need it.
Also, work in batches or stages. Don’t just pick and drop anything from anywhere as you go. Consider working from room to room; either from the most cluttered to the least cluttered or vice versa.
This will actually help you guys feel like something is happening because when you are done with one room, you’ll have a visual validation of all the work you’ve been doing.
Bear in mind that you’ll be getting rid of a lot of stuff. So, it is important that you make a provision for waste disposal.
Truth be told, though, you might not actually be throwing everything away. You’ll find out that some of the stuff that you’ll be bringing out of your loved one’s home still have their uses.
So, some of those stuff will be going to goodwill and you could even have some fun and make some money in the process by throwing a yard sale. Then, of course, some of those stuff will be heading to a dumpsite.
Whatever the case is, just make sure that you know what you want to do with the stuff before you even get started so that stuff isn’t just lying around everywhere.
And if possible, ensure that what comes out find its place as quickly as possible.
This is because leaving them lying around could be too much of a temptation for your hoarder friend who might still be having difficulties parting with their stuff.
It isn’t enough to just pull out all the stuff from your loved one’s place. You need to arrange what’s left in such a way that the space is functional.
After getting rid of some stuff, you might come to find that there is a need to purchase extra stuff. This is where the proceeds from your yard sale could come in handy, especially if you both are pressed for cash.
It is important that your loved one be really involved in this process. They ought to know what you want to buy (if any) and what you want to do with their space.
Finally, it is important that you stay patient with your loved one throughout this process, especially considering that a hoarding disorder isn’t what they would have chosen for themselves.
Remember that they are not being stubborn, they just have a hard time letting go of stuff. The process might be slow but if you stay true to it, both you and your loved one will be happy with the results.