How to Address Hoarding Behavior

a messy place

Hoarding is a complex behavior that can be difficult to understand. Those who do not suffer or are unfamiliar with hoarding disorder may be prone to view it as a personality flaw or bad habit. However, hoarding is a serious problem that can hugely negatively impact the individual’s life and the lives of those around them. If you suspect someone you know is suffering from hoarding disorder, here are six tips for addressing the issue.

1. Educate yourself about hoarding disorder.

The first step in being able to help someone with a hoarding disorder is to educate yourself about the condition. There is a lot of misinformation out there about hoarding, so it is important to make sure you are getting your information from reliable sources. The International OCD Foundation is a great place to start.

It’s important to seek trustworthy sources of information while trying to educate yourself on hoarding disorder. One reputable source of information on hoarding disorder is the National Institute of Mental Health. The NIMH website offers a wealth of resources on the topic, including articles, fact sheets, and videos. Other reputable sources of information include the International OCD Foundation and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. These organizations provide accurate and up-to-date information on hoarding disorder and offer support and resources for those affected by the condition. By seeking out reliable sources of information, you can ensure that you are getting accurate and up-to-date information on hoarding disorder.

2. Talk to the person about your concerns.

If you suspect that someone close to you is suffering from hoarding disorder, the best thing you can do is talk to them about your concerns. It is important to approach the topic objectively and avoid coming out as negative or argumentative. Simply express your concern and let the person know that you are there to assist them if they need it.

It can be difficult to approach someone you think may have a hoarding disorder. You may feel taboo discussing mental health or be worried about offending the person. However, it is important to reach out if you are concerned, as hoarding can have a significant negative impact on a person’s life. The first step is to educate yourself about the condition. Hoarding is characterized by an excessive accumulation of items, even if they are of no value. The hoarder may have difficulty parting with these items and may suffer from anxiety or distress at the thought of doing so. If you think someone you know may be hoarding, try to have an open and honest conversation with them. Avoid judgment or criticism, and focus on listening and offering support. The person may not be ready to seek help, but your conversation could be the first step in getting them the treatment they need.

3. Help them find professional help.

Hoarding disorder is a complex condition that requires professional help to address effectively. If the person you are talking to is open to the idea of seeking treatment, offer to help them find a qualified therapist or counselor who specializes in treating hoarding disorder. Here are some tips for helping a hoarder find professional help without offending them:

  1. Talk to the hoarder about your concerns in a non-judgmental way. Tell them that you are worried about their well-being and want to help them get the assistance they need.
  2. Offer to help the hoarder declutter their home. This can be a slow and difficult process, but it will ultimately make their living space more livable and safe.
  3. Help the hoarder research different types of professional help, such as therapy or counseling. It is important to find a hoarding treatment program that specializes in helping people with this disorder.
  4. Finally, be patient and understanding with the hoarder. It will take time and effort to get them the help they need, but it is worth it if it improves their quality of life.

4. Offer practical assistance.

One of the best ways to help someone with a hoarding disorder is by offering practical assistance. This could involve helping them to declutter their home or providing transportation to and from appointments with their therapist or counselor.

While compulsive hoarding can be a difficult condition to understand, there are practical ways that people can help those who suffer from it. One of the most important things someone can do is lend a sympathetic ear that is free from judgment. Hoarders often feel a lot of shame about their condition and may be reluctant to open up about it. However, simply knowing that someone is willing to listen can make a big difference. People can also help by offering to organize and declutter the hoarder’s home with them. This can be a daunting task, but breaking it down into smaller steps can make it more manageable. Finally, people can help by offering to run errands or perform other functions that the hoarder may find difficult. By providing practical assistance, people can make a real difference in the lives of those who suffer from compulsive hoarding.

5. Be patient and understanding.

It’s important to remember that change does not happen overnight, and recovery from hoarding disorder is often a long and difficult process. Avoid putting pressure on the person you are helping, and try to understand if they relapse or backslide at any point.

6. Take care of yourself, too.

Helping someone with hoarder behavior can be emotionally draining, so it’s important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, too. Make sure to set boundaries and take breaks when needed, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you find yourself struggling to cope with your own emotions related to the situation.


A serious problem, hoarding disorder, may have a detrimental effect on the affected person and others around them. If you think someone you know may be suffering from hoarding disorder, use these six tips to address the issue in a helpful and supportive way.