Hoarders are individuals who struggle with the compulsion to accumulate and keep an excessive number of items, often to the point where their living spaces become cluttered and unsafe. This condition can have a significant impact on their physical and emotional well-being, as well as their relationships with loved ones. We will briefly explore why hoarders exist and what drives them to become hoarders. We’ll also outline the steps necessary to supporting hoarders on the path to recovery, along with some important do’s and don’ts in the process.

Understanding Hoarding

Hoarders often have complex reasons behind their behavior, which may include:

Emotional Attachment:

Many hoarders form strong emotional attachments to their possessions, making it difficult for them to let go of even seemingly insignificant items.

Fear of Loss:

Some hoarders fear that if they get rid of something, they will need it later and won’t have access to it, leading to anxiety and distress.


Hoarders may struggle with perfectionism, feeling that they need to keep everything in order to maintain control over their lives.


Past traumatic experiences can sometimes trigger hoarding tendencies as individuals attempt to fill emotional voids with possessions.

Genetics and Brain Chemistry:

There is evidence to suggest that genetics and brain chemistry may play a role in hoarding behaviours.

Steps to Help a Hoarder Recover

Empathetic Approach:

The first step in helping a hoarder is to approach them with empathy and understanding. Recognize that hoarding is a complex issue and that they may feel ashamed or defensive about their situation.

Seek Professional Help:

Encourage the hoarder to seek professional assistance from therapists, counselors, or support groups specializing in hoarding disorder. These professionals can provide essential insights and guidance.

Safety First:

Ensure the hoarder’s immediate safety. Assess their living conditions and identify any potential hazards, such as blocked exits or fire risks. Address these safety concerns promptly.

Set Realistic Goals:

Together with the hoarder, set realistic and achievable goals for decluttering and organizing their living space. Break the process into manageable steps to avoid overwhelming them.

Respect Autonomy:

While it’s crucial to support the hoarder, it’s equally important to respect their autonomy and decisions. Don’t force them to discard items; instead, work collaboratively to prioritize what can be kept and what needs to go.

Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Be patient and understanding.
  2. Encourage therapy or counselling.
  3. Prioritize safety.
  4. Involve the hoarder in decision-making.
  5. Provide emotional support throughout the process.


  1. Criticize or judge the hoarder.
  2. Attempt a cleanup without their consent.
  3. Rush the process; recovery takes time.
  4. Discard items without the hoarder’s knowledge.
  5. Give up on them; continue offering support.


Helping an individual with a hoarding disorder is a delicate process that requires patience, understanding, and professional guidance. By approaching the situation with empathy, encouraging therapy, ensuring safety, and respecting the hoarder’s autonomy, you can make a significant difference in their journey toward recovery.

If you or someone you know is dealing with hoarding and requires professional cleanup services, consider contacting 1st Hoarding Cleanup. Our experienced team understands the complexities of hoarding disorder and can provide the support needed to restore a safe and organized living environment. Supporting hoarders on the path to recovery is our pleasure!

For a no cost, no obligation quote, contact the experts at 1st Hoarding Cleanup

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