As humans, we usually attach feelings and valuable memories to objects. At some point, this leads to the piling of too many items that end up as clutter. Building too much clutter or the inability to part with it can be a source of concern in your life. This may eventually move you from being sentimental to a potential hoarder. Hoarders have an uncontrollable desire to acquire, purchase, or save items of little value, and decluttering for hoarders is particularly challenging.
When you find it tough to give away or dispose of your excess possessions, know that it could be due to:
- The fear of letting go of your past
- Not knowing where to start when organizing your belongings
- Worrying about being wasteful
Also, there can be connections to mental health. However, you can overcome such obstacles related to getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve you anymore.
Below are nine creative tips about decluttering for hoarders.
1. Begin With a Manageable Area
When you’re new to decluttering or if you find the process emotional or complex, you can simplify it by first admitting that decluttering for hoarders is a challenge and then starting the process from an accessible place.
Pick an area in your room or home and items that you can declutter easily to practice your skills. With time, it becomes an effortless task as you learn to sift through things. Over time, you become comfortable deciding what to keep or eliminate.
It’s best to always start from the bathroom as it lacks sentimental items that can hold you up. Moreover, it has less stuff, meaning you can complete it efficiently and quickly. However, avoid notoriously tricky areas like the garage or attic at the beginning.
2. Take Photos of Business Cards and Important Documents
When tidying, you may not know where to begin. To succeed, you can start systematically by going through your items. Place what you should keep in a separate place from what you want to get rid of.
Consider storing things like business cards, phone numbers, and addresses digitally; decluttering for hoarders doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. To achieve this, take a photo with your smartphone and keep it in a digital folder. Also, set categories like banking, bills, and contracts for easy access. After this, you can shred and recycle physical paperwork and free up storage space for other items.
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Decluttering for Hoarders Pro Tip:
Shredding, ripping, or waterlogging old paperwork are great strategies for disposing of it while minimizing security concerns.
3. Consider the “What If” Scenario
Many hoarders will often ask, “What if I’ll need that?” Answer this question honestly.
The worst-case scenario is usually that you may have to purchase another item if you let go of what you presently own. However, the benefits of decluttering for hoarders outweigh the rare occasions when you get rid of what you still need. When something is of high value and difficult to replace, deliberate on your needs before disposing of it.
Looking at freshly cleaned spaces can inspire you to clean other areas in your home. Maintain the momentum by decluttering deeply in smaller regions instead of doing so in small bits across your home. Trying to declutter everywhere will make you end up with a bag of donations but no fully decluttered space.
4. Get Rid of Duplicates
You might have duplicate items that you hope to use in the future. But what if that day is 15 years from now? Will you still keep them unused? If you’ve held onto duplicates over the years, begin by decluttering them. Although it isn’t easy, your home will look organized and will have more space. It will also motivate you to declutter the rest of your house.
Decluttering for Hoarders Pro Tip:
Once you put effort into decluttering, avoid reversing the hard work by leaving unwanted items around. They will still clutter the space, and you could be tempted to keep some of them again. Therefore, plan what to do with the unwanted stuff and consider it part of the process. Don’t stop until you take the items to the rubbish tip or charity shop.
5. Take Out the Trash
Eliminating obvious trash from the clutter is easy, swift, and significantly impacts the overall mess. To achieve this, carry an empty trash bag as you stroll through your rooms. Pull out the trash that can be old packaging, used food containers, wrappers, old to-do lists, or past catalogs.
If you prefer recycling, take another bag around as you move into each room. You’ll be amazed at the difference this makes and the amount of clutter you have eliminated when you dispose of the trash. The most critical places to declutter include the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. Equally important is clearing safe pathways needed for better accessibility.
As you declutter, remember that the ultimate goal of decluttering for hoarders is not disposing of all your items. It’s to make the home safer and more peaceful. As such, the kitchen should be uncluttered and clean to prepare meals, the bathroom functional for hygienic purposes, and the bedroom safe and clean for comfort and relaxation.
6. Stay Motivated
Decluttering for hoarders takes a lot of willpower. To stay motivated, you can limit the time you spend on decluttering sessions. For example, work in 15-minute increments, and then have a single marathon session that will make you exhausted for some days.
Also, you can take photos before and after decluttering to track your progress visually. Uplifting music, taking breaks, and treating yourself to a favorite beverage can keep you motivated. Challenge yourself to declutter several items in a given period.
Before decluttering, define your goals. If you lack clear goals, you won’t be motivated during the decluttering process. Determine how your home should look, function, and feel. In case you have problems setting up your goals, talk with your family or close friends. If you are struggling to change as the clutter in your home continues to impair your life considerably, consider seeking therapy.
7. Stay Focused
Many people with clutter problems suffer from attention deficiency, which makes it more difficult for them to stay focused than ordinary people. You can turn off your phone notifications and avoid watching TV while decluttering as a way to deal with distractions.
Likewise, make quick decisions when sorting. Follow this up by discarding and donating items after completing a session of decluttering for hoarders. You’ll immediately get more space. If you find items that you can sell, place them in a separate box to be listed and priced later. Remember to seal the box when you end a session to avoid reclaiming its contents.
8. Save Sentimental Items and Papers for Last
Among the last items you can declutter are waste papers, followed by sentimental pieces. Decluttering papers takes time and may slow your progress. Therefore, wait until you near the end of the process to work on them.
Sentimental items should be last since they are difficult to dispose of for people with hoarding disorders or tendencies. Also, saving them for last means you have time to work on your decision-making skills before making up your mind on sentimental items.
9. Make a Reorganization and Declutter Plan
To complete your decluttering journey, set measurable, specific, realistic, attainable, and time-oriented decluttering goals. Decluttering for hoarders requires actionable plans that you break down into simple steps. Similarly, reorganize your life and home while you complete the process, and replace the spaces with other valuable items to improve the quality of your life and home.
To make a decluttering for hoarders plan, reflect on:
- When you will declutter, either each day or weekly
- The order of cleaning the rooms
- The areas of the rooms and the order in which you will declutter
- What you will do with the clutter
If hoarding has existed for many years, the stuff in your home can be overwhelming. Hiring a professional eases family tension and makes the process much easier. It keeps you from an emotional history and gives you the satisfaction of completing the task. In case the condition of your home is poor, it can be risky to handle it on your own. Call a professional cleaning service or a junk removal company when you notice rotting food, mold, blocked windows, or animal droppings.
Final Thoughts on Decluttering for Hoarders
While it takes some work and time to declutter the home, you’ll be surprised at how much you can enjoy your space if you follow the above tips on decluttering for hoarders. Thankfully, if you need to store your items and create space in your home, Neighbor has a workable solution. We also offer a convenient, safe, and close space for your car, boat, trailer, or business inventory. Find storage space today to enjoy a spacious and organized home.