How to Help A Hoarder

Medical definition of hoarding (Mayo Clinic): “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs” – Mayo Clinic.

How to Help a Hoarder

Hoarding is a medical disorder and must be treated as such. As a company that provides cleaning and professional organization services to hoarders we like to give constructive advice on how to help hoarders through their journey to recovery.

Topics of this Article (click on the topic link to go to that topic):

1. How to Talk to the Hoarder:

When talking to a hoarder one must take into consideration the emotions, state of mind, and goals of the individual to help them ultimately succeed.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of talking to a hoarder (click here: for an in depth article on do’s and don’ts of talking to hoarders):


  1. Connect with the Individual
  2. Seek Professional Help
  3. Continue to Talk with the Hoarder About the Situation
  4. Talk About Safety
  5. Agree That the Items Are Important
  6. Talk About Keeping Everything Confidential
  7. Ask the question of Why – In a Respectful Tone
  8. Promote Donation
  9. Be Patient
  10. Hire a Professional Hoarding Cleanup & Organization Service (remind the hoarder of the ultimate goal, being able to see family and friends and host events at home again!)


  1. Make Fun of the Hoarder's Situation
  2. Say Let's Get Rid of All This "Stuff"
  3. Get Angry
  4. Try to Reason with the Hoarder Right Away
  5. Touch the Hoarder's Items In the Beginning
  6. Treat the Hoarder Like a Child
  7. Treat Hoarders Like Criminals
  8. Make a List of All of the Tasks to do At Once for the Hoarder
  9. Ask Why They Hoard – In a Disrespectful Tone
  10. Let this Hoarding Situation Stress You Out

2. Helping the Hoarder Find a Licensed Mental Health Professional:

Address Our Mess, as part of our service, are capable of suggesting licensed mental health professionals that specialize in hoarding. See our updated list of mental health professionals to find Address Our Mess approved mental health professionals in your area! We service all 50 States and Washington D.C.

Therapy and the therapist you choose is not a one size fits all scenario, that is why we suggest reading Choosing Therapy's article on How to Choose a Therapist. The article, written and reviewed by mental health professionals goes in depth on the process of choosing a therapist, what a therapist is and what makes them successful, where to find therapists, deciding what is important to you in a therapist, how licenses and certifications as well as education can be used to identify the right therapist, specialty therapists, cost and insurance coverage, scheduling, personality fit, how to review a profile or website, what questions to ask during a first call, what to consider during the first appointment, what to consider after 3 to 4 weeks, and additional resources on finding a mental health professional from mental health organizations.

3. Helping the Hoarder Find a Cleanup and Professional Organization Service:

This is where the hoarding cleanup service and professional organizing & sorting service comes in!

How We Work:

1. Inquiring:

The hardest part is seeking help. This is why we make sure to respond quickly and effectively. There will be no judgment and everything will be kept completely confidential. Our customer service rep will gather information needed and answer any basic questions. Your information will be passed to the estimator in your area who will better serve you.

2. Assessment:

Each situation is completely unique and we will treat it as so. The estimator will call and set up the date and time to meet at the property for an onsite free estimate. This is when they set up your customized plan of action with you and schedule any services.

3. Sorting:

This is the step that really sets us apart from other companies. Our team of specialist will help you sort through your clutter one area at a time. We take care of the disposal and the delivery of your donations to your favorite charity.

4. Organizing:

Let us help you achieve your goal! Our dedicated staff will work with you to return your home to a healthy functional environment once again.

5. Cleaning:

Whether it’s broom swept or full service cleaning we can make sure your home is sanitized and cleaned to your satisfaction! We are here to help.

4. Identifying Hoarders Through Symptoms:

From Choosing Therapy's Article Hoarding Disorder: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatments, Here are 6 Symptoms of Hoarding Everyone Should Look Out For:

  • Acquiring too many belongings, and
  • Incapacity to organize the items in a neat and logical manner, and
  • Assigning emotional importance to their possessions, and
  • Experiencing intense emotional pain and difficulty related to letting go of their belongings, and
  • These behaviors seriously interfere with the quality of the person’s life, including and not limited to, relationships, physical safety, and secure housing, and
  • Despite the threat to the quality of their life, the individual feels unable to change the destructive behaviors."

Please note that these symptoms are meant only to give you a better idea of whether or not yourself or a loved one is hoarding. You will have to go to a qualified mental health professional in order to get a formal diagnosis. 

Call 410-589-2747 for more information. We are here to help!

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 17:42 by Raymond Featherman