What to do if a friend or family member is an extreme hoarder

Attempts by family and friends to help eliminate clutter may be unwelcome by the compulsive hoarder.

It is useful to note that:

  • Until the person is internally motivated to change, he/she may not accept help.
  • Motivation cannot be forced.
  • Everyone, including people who hoard, has the right to make decisions about their objects and how they want to live.
  • Hoarders are often hesitant about accepting help and getting rid of things.


Can we help a compulsive hoarder just by cleaning their house?

The short answer is no. Attempts to ‘deep clean’ the home of a hoarder without addressing the underlying problem often fail. Families and social workers can spend hours and thousands of dollars cleaning a home only to find that the problem recurs, often within a few months.

Hoarders whose homes are cleaned without their consent often experience extreme distress and may become even more attached to their possessions. This can lead to a refusal of help in the future.

Our advice is to make the hoarder “participate” in the decision to declutter their home to avoid recurring hoarding experiences.

1st Hoarding Clean Up has been helping people overcome the burden and stress that hoarding places on individuals and families. If you require assistance, please contact us at 1-855-GOT-CLUTTER or click here

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