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Hoarding Help Message Boards : How to Help a Hoarder : Steps Needed for a Hoarder to Change
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Steps Needed for a Hoarder to Change

Posted: 11 April 2022 - 07:49 PM
I am working with a family where mom has significant hoarding issues. The children also have significant mental health needs but the hoarding in the home is a barrier to getting them the services they need. Hiring a company to help is not an option as they have financial struggles. Everyone in the home is overwhelmed and as a family child advocate I am at a loss how to help. Are there any free resources available?
Posted: 28 May 2019 - 11:57 PM
Yeah, That's the problem with hoarding disorders.
They have too much stuff and want to keep it all.

To them, letting go of things is severe grief just as if there was a death.
That is where their anger comes from, not wanting the grief of loss.

Over the years, as they have acquired items, they never think of letting go of anything because they are afraid.
Afraid of being deprived, afraid of missing out, afraid of so much regret that they did not keep it.
So they keep everything.
For them that is the easiest solution, just keep it for "Just In Case".

Hoarding is their way to deal with life's stresses.
Even though it causes them a lot of stress to hoard and try to live in a hoard.

What she wants is someone on her side. Someone to tell her she is right in keeping it all.

Maybe you two can come to some sort of middle ground.
Find something non hoarding related that you both can agree on.
This is just to try to establish some trust with her.
Show her that you are on her side on something.
Even as simple as which pickles or jam is the best.
Agree with her if she says bread & butter pickles and raspberry jam are best.
Posted: 28 May 2019 - 03:16 PM
The biggest thing I see and am dealing with now is the hoarder has to realize they have to get rid and reduce the amount of stuff. Not just shift or move it somewhere else.

I guess it would be like an alcoholic admitting they drink too much/are an alcoholic.

I haven't seen or been able to accomplish that yet. The hoarder is more worried about where they're going to put their stuff than actually getting rid of it. The most common excuse is they could make money off it or use it(maybe in the far distant future). She is under pressure to get stuff out of some people's houses and other areas but they are more worried about where they are going to put it all. You would think they were just evicted/made homeless or their pet died anytime moving their stuff comes up. You get an emotional tirade, rant, diatribe followed by tears. And they initiated the topic/conversation. They says they are overwhelmed but REFUSE to take advice and insist on finding a way to make their ideas and plans work with in the given time(no way).

And they blame everything on current health issues. One doesn't accumulate a full house and multiple storage units and locations of her stuff in less than two years. Even her family knew/admitted she had too much stuff.
Posted: 27 June 2017 - 04:04 PM
Hi Sheri :)
Think about contacting your local shelter for abused women and children.
They have resources and may be able to assist you in finding a better place to live.
Posted: 27 June 2017 - 11:55 AM
Fed up and cannot and will not do this anymore even if I have to live on the streets to get away I will I have no one to turn to and he refuses to accept the fact that it has taken everything away from us including our nothing left but to live on the streets since he denies that he has a problem and I will not even be able to take my medications and continue medical care because of being homeless
Posted: 30 April 2017 - 11:19 AM
I'm with you. Hubs is a hoarder....Almost no room to walk in his room. That was the designated space for him to do with it whatever he wanted. Now it's growing out into the hall, and in the downstairs office. I am not willing to go on like this forever. One reason is because I harbor resentment. I know hoarding is an anxiety disorder, but I think he was deceptive in not letting me know about this before we married. I think he deliberately kept this from me until we were married. They know it's not going to be OK with most people, so they keep the secret hidden. He moved into a home I had bought and paid for before I met him. I feel trapped.
Posted: 18 January 2017 - 03:56 PM
Hello :)

Have you visited the website
"children of hoarders" ?
They may be helpful for you.
If nothing else, they have also been through what you have.

I live with a hoarder and the book
"Digging Out" has been very helpful for me.
Biggest lesson though is that if a hoarder does not want to change, they won't.

Best wishes, Tillie
Child of Hoarders
Posted: 18 January 2017 - 01:24 PM
I'm the Adult Child of a hoarder. A mother who gave up so we grew up in chaos. When my boyfriend came along, he wanted to help. So there he was, in the garage tossing everything out while my stepfather was in the truck throwing it all back out of the truck. I didn't know it was a real problem for him. I now know. I worry about them today. I'm married and in my own home, their house is worse then ever and their 70ish. We've gone in and helped numerous times, I can't do it anymore. It always goes back to the same way. It's a concern of mine for health reasons as well as safety reasons. Yet, nobody else says anything......It's just not talked about.
Posted: 11 September 2016 - 03:11 PM
Hi Susan
I have the exact situation here. :(
His bedroom stinks to high heaven, the garage is stuffed to the gills along with the carport and driveway and yard.
I use the large rat snap traps to get rid of the rats and the smaller mouse traps to get some mice.
I like the snakes because they help me keep the rodent population down, except in the Winter when snakes hibernate.

What I have learned in twenty years of trying to get him to stop...
they will never stop unless/until they want to or the city/county come down hard on them.
All we can do is make clear clean areas for ourselves and defend them, or leave.

Good luck and best wishes
Posted: 11 September 2016 - 11:49 AM
My husband has his bedroom and garage filled with junk. His room has not been cleaned since 2008. Smells of mold and I am at my wits end trying to deal with it. Our garage has had rats, because of the clutter. Has anyone ever made any progress in cleaning up the clutter? My husband fights me tooth and nail every step I try to take. HELP.
Posted: 01 February 2016 - 10:56 AM
Hello :)

I too live with a very severe hoarding significant other.
He had the WHOLE house so cluttered it was impossible to clean anywhere.
After many years living this way I finally made "no clutter zones" in the house and property that I defend and keep clear and clean.
It was a battle for a long time but he has now accepted that there are areas where he can not drop his stuff.
The huge two story garage is packed floor to ceiling, the three car carport is a solid mass of clutter, his bedroom is a biohazard, all but one small section of the outside property is filled too.
He refuses to get therapy or to actively work on this hoarding issue.
I try to post here daily in "The Daily Chat"
come on by if you would like.
This message board is for hoarders AND people who live with or otherwise have a hoarder in their lives. :)
Posted: 31 January 2016 - 07:15 PM
My husband is also a hoarder. He can not through things away. Our 2 car garage is packed, the basement is packed, the shed is packed, 2 of our 4 bedrooms are also packed. It is very frustrating. I can't through anything out without him getting upset.i know what is like when you try to clean up and junk is brought back in.
He knows he has a problem but he doesn't want help at this point. We argue all the time about his hoarding.
I would like to be able to talk to someone that has a spouse that has the same problem.
Posted: 24 January 2016 - 09:51 PM
My husband is a hoarder and no matter how much I clean, he always fills any open spaces back up with "walls" of stuff. I understand he has a problem, it is just so difficult to constantly have to clean up and it just gets messed up again. I know he's not doing it to be a jerk he has some real problems and I hope he will one day address those or he'll never get better. It is nice that I found this board as I know nobody else understands unless they have to deal with this disorder. Thanks for this Corey!
Posted: 21 June 2015 - 11:45 AM
Hi :)

I got that link here by clicking on the "National Resources" at the top of the page.

National Resources

You click on "national Resources" then click on your state or a neighboring state to find help nearest you.

There is also a lot of very informative information on this website when you point and click around on all the various boxes/titles.

Posted: 21 June 2015 - 10:50 AM
Thanks tillie,but she live upstate New York the Saratoga are.
Posted: 21 June 2015 - 10:39 AM
Hi Gary :)

She can change but only with the help of a therapist trained in techniques that have been shown to help people who hoard.

Here is a link to a list...

New York

Good luck and best wishes.
Posted: 21 June 2015 - 09:56 AM
I have a girlfriend in New York .i live in Florida.and she a hoarder,but said she cleaning up the house,but every time I ask her she said she it going slow.i'm going up next month.and I said we would throw everything's out.but she hesitate when I say that.but I can not live like that.the question is can she change?she is 69 and I'm it so late?
Posted: 11 December 2014 - 09:34 AM
Tress, you are amazing!! Your father has given you the greatest gifts, faith, hope, enduring spirit and love of your fellow man.

I wish you all the best!! Please keep us updated. I for one, certainly need to read of the goodness in life that you are showing. May God continue to bless you!!
Posted: 11 December 2014 - 01:05 AM
The other daughter lives with a abusive boyfriend in another state, and the brother just got outta jail and lives in california. The dad has disappeared and grandfather also has history of abuse and sexual abuse with his daughter.Thanks for your kind words, but I am not one to give up easily on someone, as my dad always said as long as there is life there is hope,and every new day is new beginning, a new chance for miracle to break forth in, a change in mind,a change in heart. So as long as there is even but a alittle light left I will continue to try and fan it into fire until the light is completely gone. God Bless!
Posted: 10 December 2014 - 08:20 AM
God bless you Tress for doing what you can. But it sounds like the situation is at a point where the most reasonable solution will be for social services to step in.

Even if you and the adult daughter had the time and physical strength to "trash everything" there is still the problem of sanitation. Getting rid of mice and roaches may involve a professional exterminator. A dog who isn't housebroken will continue to soil several times a day. If the family is unable to take care of themselves on a daily basis whatever you are able to do is quickly undone as you have found out.

Maybe a way you could help them is to be the contact person for social services. You could make sure that whatever is done is well documented and that there is follow thru for the best placement for the mother and granddaughter. You could be emotional support for the mother and encourage her to do what is necessary to get a small, decent home so she can get her daughter back ASAP. Do they have family members who can step in to help? Maybe someone who would be a good guardian for the little girl?

You are an exceptionally kind neighbor Tress. I hope everything works out for the best. Take care.
Posted: 10 December 2014 - 01:40 AM
Looking for tips to help a handicap neighbor who is a hoarder. Her youngest daughter lives with her with her 6 year old daughter. My neighbor is Handicapped walks with a walker/cane, has dementia. Daughter fighting depression over loss of baby in miscarriage,but trying to help the mother. State been called in and have limited time to clean the place up before they put mother in home and child in foster care. Daughter wants to trash everything. Mother going into depression and sleeps most time cant face fear of losings her treasures.House over run by mice, roaches, and dog stink from doing business inside house. Mother wont allow any training. I try to help daily for a few hours in morn since both are on welfare cant afford to pay no one to do so.But it seems to be a circle of recleaning what was cleaned the day before. Never getting no where.Trying to keep the faith and keep pressing but getting harder each day.
Posted: 05 June 2013 - 06:47 PM
Hi Ellen :)

One thing we do is to try to find out what they would really love to have in their life that they could have if they gave up the hoarding.
For some it is to have people visit. To be able to host a dinner or a party in their own homes.
Older people often want to be able to have their grandchildren visit them in their homes, maybe even spend the night or weekend.
Some people dream of a beautiful craft room or reading room. A place to meditate or exercise in.
Many parents want a safe and healthy home to raise their children. A place where the kids can have friends in, birthday parties & sleep overs.
A home where many happy memories can be made.
Some people just want an easier less stressful life.

If you can find out their heart's desire then maybe you can help them to achieve it.
If it seems they have no desires, dreams or life goals then try to inspire them with photos and stories of a life well lived.
Tell them that this is what they CAN have. ;)

Good luck and best wishes and welcome to the message board. :)
Ellen Cooper
Posted: 05 June 2013 - 05:07 PM
As parents of a hoarder we are now very worried about the health of everyone especially the grandchildren. There are NO support groups in our area. Many psychologists say NOT to bring up the subject of hoarding to the person as they will become more withdrawn. I was on the International Org. of Hoarding & they had many good videos of a Ph.D. talking about the steps, what to do and NOT to do, but how does one motivate a hoarder to reach out to therapists and then organizers if they never do. This is so very sad and is a real family problem. Thanks for any suggestions when no support groups are in our state. Ellen
Lynn S
Posted: 10 May 2013 - 01:37 PM
I kind of found out why she might be hoarding.
Back when she was 16 her little brother was born. From that point on something in her switched to normal to being always negative and a wet blanket to everyone. Her little brother got away with everything, from what clothes he wanted to wear to what toys he wanted to have. As he got older it seemed that he had control over the parents as to when he wanted is clothes washed to when a shirt had to be cleaned as if "it needs to be cleaned Now!" That is I believe when everything changed for my mother. She's been keeping in so much hate and depression for so long, it just seems natural to her. My brother was born in 69' but he was a drinker. My mom met him at a bar. That marriage didn't last long. 10yrs later me and my sister were born. Again that marriage didn't last long either because she claims that he was verbally abusive to her. Always telling her that she's no good at something or that she can't do this or that.

The main line is that her over controlling brother made her the way she is today. She says because of him she wasn't allowed to have us visit her mother more often when she was out of a job and we had no where to go. (her mother was also a hoarder as her grandmother)
My uncle even hated his other sister that was also forced to get her own apt which was very hard for her to do. They got along like gasoline on fire. there was never a room big enough for both of them. Even when my aunt passed he couldn't remember why he hated her so much.

When I told my mom that maybe in a couple of years Cory would have a couple of franchises out in Indiana, and that I might be able to work for him, she started to get in defensive or battle/protective mode and asked what type of work, I simply stated working for him.
She's not ready to listen about what the message boards are all about nor anything else that I could get help for me. She is terrified about me getting help for me because she fears that I've told someone outside the house. She greatly fears me being out on my own or leaving the house. She'll do whatever it takes to keep me in this dreaded prison of clutter. She already cost me my boyfriend which I was with for 13 months with stupid phone calls about having her car back in the driveway forcing him to drive me everywhere which is totally unfair to him. I so can't wait until I can get a stable job and save enough to get out and hopefully stay out for my safety.
Posted: 20 January 2013 - 01:25 PM
Sorry ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP is a red box >

Really hope to see you there :D
Posted: 20 January 2013 - 01:24 PM
Hello BeverlyL

Welcome :D

Wish there was a magic wand but there are only two ways to get uncluttered.
Hire a company to do the decluttering or do it all yourself.

The best way to change the way you collect and keep things is to have therapy.

A good place to start is by reading "Buried In Treasures".
This book will help you see how you feel about your items and help you let go of things you really don't need.

Tell us a little bit more about your situation and we can give you advice as how to start.

Tonight at 5:00pm PST we will be having online support group. Just click on the blue box to the right >
and join us.

Sincerely, Tillie :)
Posted: 20 January 2013 - 09:25 AM
Hi is anybody out there? I am confessing to be a hoarder. and I do need help. I didn't even know there was a name for this problem. But yes I am, and I don't even know how it happened and why? I wish I could wave a magic Wand and everything would be taken care of. I want to understand why this is happening to me? How do I heal myself of this terrible secret. It must be up to me but I just don't know what to do. I have tried and failed and now I see you there is a support group here.... that would be nice. Thank you for answering.
Posted: 02 November 2012 - 04:27 PM
it a flubberbuster day thank you tillie for your note. hope things are as good for you.
i get one place clean then have to go back over it, just about tired of my sons pigginess and waiting is not my best suit this week
Posted: 30 October 2012 - 06:16 PM
Hi Gaby :D
Wonderful to hear from you again!

Sorry you got so sick. :(
Please take care and we really should be wearing face masks when we stir up a lot of dust.

Sounds like you have been making some GREAT progress there.

Please stay well.

Sincerely, Tillie
Posted: 30 October 2012 - 05:38 PM
just seen last nights ep of hoarders wow that is just like my family always fighting. i got heck the other dayfrom my brother for disposing some of my moms old stuff. he said i should have let him look at it first. that wa a scarry thought. I told him if he wanting anything then just go upstairs and take it humm he took not much of anything iwa about to chuck it out any way he saved me a trip lol then I told him he has had nearly two years to come over an pick what he wanted. i had already sent him things i knew he'd like stuff i know that has been in this house for years. i have informed every one in the family i am cleaning house to get here while it is here or forget it. I have nearly the down stairs completed as well as the yard. the garage is gone building an all. now to get my kid up and going upstairs, and stopping him from going through things as i put in the throughout piles. i want to be able to steam clean all the carpets before the holidays at lest once. everything came to a hualt when my cook stove gave up i am down to one burner that works, checking on replacement.
thanks every one for all your support in this
with love Gaby

just spent two days in hospital for breathing problems doc think it from my house
Posted: 12 October 2012 - 11:53 AM
well ithink ihave found the right spot to be for once anyway. i wnt to thank you gain for your email response. yes i had to admit i was hording a lot of things i did not need before i could really look up help a i spend most of my time on the computer i find nothing gets done. tody i took the time after reading your post to think and plan a stratagy of attack to my home i have little to no funds for any help in this huge chore. i did discover in living in caos i am in caos in my self i begun to clear off the counters one by one pushing everything to the floor first thing taking out my aggressions on the kitchen. now to clean it up i brought in a big trash can in the room filling it up with broken items and trash. for some reason things taken out of the cupbard is never put back so cabnit were empty already after wiping them out i started placing items back in if it did not fit and out dated i chucked it in the trash. i have done this countless times before to make a point to my nine boys when they were home that they do not want me to clean. this has been my way for way too long it only makes a mes i have to clean up. when my husband was living he would clean up after me most of the time. bless his heart then be so darn mad at me for cleaning the shelves off. we never could find a happy medium in there. he was gone most of the moth as a truck driver. he provided anthing i wanted or needed. part of the problem was too many kids and thier friends in my house. i could never learn to say no to my boys if they wanted to eat they did. and so did their friends i am not sure how it would be now if i had a house full of kids again maybe it is why i limit my pets to two at any time i can barly feed them and me at that how people can have a ton of pets is beyond me. nine teen age boys fixed me for good. i hve one son still living with me. he is a grown man now fter my server injuries i needed someone in my home to help me, one of the worst things i did was to bring him home. of the nine boys he is sticking to me like glue but does not hel out he only brings in more junk and pets i do not dare to travast the stairway to his area less i get bitin or worst knocked down the stairway again. this house has become my nightmare. i have in so many ways asked him to leave. the worst of it all he finds girlfriends that are as bad as he is. i have refuse to the point of restraining orders on these girls to keep them out. i am guessing i going to have to break down and have hi restained from being her also. i do not recomend this for any one it makes for more problems in the long run. my other kids will not help me as long as my sone stays her nor will any of my friends i have left. i have been disowened by nearly everyone in my life. and i do know i am an enabler also. so there is another problem i need to say no, no more. sory for this multi mega size letter. i do know i need out side help and it is not the law. the city has threatend me and my son with condeming of my house. funny no one asked to see the inside conditions they only going by out side. so fari have asked during my hospital stays for a social worker to come to y home an asses this mess i am in. but i to dte havenot seen one come out to work with me. i am near 60 and have very little energy left. today was a big joilt to my depression problem it only inflired it to a dangerious point, stress kills and stress can cause you to kill. not hat i have concidered it yet. but has been a flash of thoughts. and that is what depression can do for us if help is not found.
Lady Breena
Posted: 10 September 2012 - 02:54 PM
As a sister of a hoarder, I have to continue to watch my sister live in filth and raise her son in this 'mess' because she can't (or won't) come to grips with her problem!!!
Posted: 07 August 2012 - 07:46 PM
It's a waiting game. When you have some one who hoards you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. i'm in a situation where the hoarder in my family was removed from her home. Even though she is family and I want to help her I can't. She is not accepting any help and is not making any real effort. What do you do if they can't see it?
Cory Chalmers (Message Board Moderator)
Posted: 03 April 2012 - 08:40 AM
As the developer of this website and being a professional cleaner and speaker on the hoarding disorder, the most common question and phone call I get is how to make someone stop hoarding. First, realize you can't. The hoarder in your life is going to have to come to terms with this disorder by themselve. They will have to first admit they have a problem, ask for help, then give 100% effort to manage this disorder...for life. The hoarder must be uncomfortable and unhappy with their lifestyle for this to happen, which is often the case no matter what they tell you. It is a very difficult lifestyle to live. The secrecy, isoloation, and physical limitations this disorder places on them is a huge burdon to carry. If they do want help, the best thing they can do is get into therapy. Therapy needs to address all of the underlying causes of hoarding, and there are many. The most common by far is depression. Often times when a hoarder seeks treatment for severe depression, the hoarding improves on its own. Remember, a cluttered mind equals a cluttered home. If decision making skills are difficult or a little off I would highly recommend looking for a CBT Therapist (Cognitive Behavioral Therapist). This particular type of therapy works on the cognitive thinking processes of a persons brain and helps them basicall to re-learn how they think about items and people and decisions. This is impertivie for the hoarder to be able to manage this disorder. After they are in therapy, they need a cleaning plan. This can be making a plan with a hoarding professional that they can do on their own, or with the help of a trained hoarding cleanup company. Do not hire a company or person that is not trained in hoarding. One wrong thing said or done can destroy the entire process, causing them to shut down and cancel the entire cleanup. My One On One Program can help develop this plan that is customized for each person with their strenths, weaknesses, limitations, struggles, and triggers in mind. I will post another thread soon on more necessary components of this proces in my next few message board posts.
Hoarding Help Message Boards : How to Help a Hoarder : Steps Needed for a Hoarder to Change

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