Explains what hoarding is, possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping someone who is hoarding, as well as helping yourself.
Living with hoarding problems can be difficult. But there are things you can do to help yourself cope. This page has some suggestions for you to consider.
Not all of these suggestions might work for you – it's OK if you need to try a few things before you find what works best.
This page covers:
It's not unusual to feel overwhelmed if you're trying to cope with a hoarding problem. You might feel like helping yourself will be too hard or take too long. And if you don't know where to start, taking small steps can help you make good progress. For example:
“I started to try to declutter, and it really wasn't easy. I spent days crying, trying to find something that I could part with to get the ball rolling. Eventually I managed to make a start, and it felt great. The more floor I could see the better I felt.”
You might have been trying to manage your hoarding problem for a while, but sometimes feel like you're getting nowhere. Because of this, you may find it difficult to stay motivated.
Some of these tips might help you keep motivated and notice how far you've come:
“In the last four years I have kept my snail's pace progress going by getting motivation from YouTube, listening to lectures on hoarding psychology and decluttering, and seeking help on self-help forums.”
Trying to manage your hoarding can make you feel emotionally drained. It might bring up lots of difficult feelings, which can make handling practical tasks harder. There are ways you can support yourself and get help for these feelings. For example:
It's a big step to recognise that you might have a hoarding problem and need some help. Even if you're finding it hard, knowing you're working towards change is something to be proud of.
“Sometimes I'll just write on an online forum to vent how angry I am at myself... Yes anger and depression are closely enmeshed in my clutter, and squalor. I can be furious at myself for being in such an awful mess, and can end up telling myself that I don't even deserve to have a decent home.”
Hoarding can sometimes make the place you live less safe. You might have a higher risk of fire spreading, or it may be hard for you to leave in an emergency.
You might not feel ready to start dealing with other parts of your hoarding problem. But it can be beneficial to make sure the place you live in is safe. For example:
You might disagree with people around you when it comes to hoarding. This could be friends, family, your partner, or official bodies like the council. It might be because they:
It can feel very upsetting to hear these things from people close to you. To help them understand your situation a bit better, try showing them our pages for friends and family and talking about a mental health problem.
This information was published in February 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
References and bibliography available on request.
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