Hoarding Disorder- Tips and Tricks For a Hoarder Clean Out

For those suffering from hoarding disorder, the sheer volume of clutter filling their homes can feel overwhelming and inescapable. Performing daily tasks amidst the mess becomes enormously difficult. Social isolation and shame are also taxing. Hoarding takes a huge physical and mental toll.

But there is hope. With compassion, patience, and the right support, recovery is absolutely attainable.

Hoarding disorder is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty discarding possessions, intense urge to acquire and save items, and living spaces severely cluttered by these compulsive behaviors over time. An estimated 2-5% of the population suffers from hoarding disorder.

Unlike ordinary clutter or messiness, hoarding causes significant distress and impairment in daily functioning when clutter begins severely impeding normal usage of living spaces. Key areas like bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms become extremely filled with accumulated possessions, making basic tasks like cooking, sleeping, and bathing enormously difficult. Stovetops are covered in piles, beds crammed with stuff, and sinks inaccessible. Even pathways through the home become dangerously blocked by clutter.

This level of hoarding goes far beyond a lack of organization. Sufferers often have a tremendous emotional attachment to their belongings, considering each item precious and an extension of themselves.

Parting with possessions can feel excruciatingly painful, causing severe anxiety, grief, and even panic attacks. Throwing anything away feels like a loss demanding avoidance at all costs. Humans naturally form attachments to objects, but hoarders take this instinct to harmful extremes.

If the hoarder is still in the residence, a forced or covert clean-out may backfire, exacerbating a hoarder’s acquisition urges and worsening symptoms over the long run. The clean-out process requires tremendous empathy, patience, and a carefully planned approach. With compassionate support from trained professionals, recovery is absolutely possible. If an emergency cleanout has to be done due to health and safety hazards or to abide by local authorities requests. We can help plan the process to minimize stress for you and your family.


Thoughtfully planning the clean-out process is a crucial first step. Rushing haphazardly with trash bags can cause more harm than good. Make a plan. Create piles and slowly go through the items. If an item you are parting with has memories you don’t want to let go of, consider taking a photo of the item that way you can hold onto the photo rather than the item.

We begin by having an open conversation with the family to better understand their situation and needs. We ask about the types of possessions being collected, the state of the home, and the ultimate goal of the project.

Next, there is a walkthrough assessment of the home to evaluate the level of clutter in each room, types of items accumulated, safety hazards, and viable starting points. For example, clearing entryways and kitchen surfaces may make the biggest impact on daily functioning. We take stock of how much needs to be sorted into keep piles, donations, recycling, or waste. We have a team who is ready to do the heavy lifting and add relief to the process for you.

Donate or Sell What You Can
Not everything should be thrown in the bin. If an item can be salvaged it should be divided into either a donate pile or a sell pile. If you try to sell some items, either via garage sale, facebook marketplace or similar, you need to set yourself a strict deadline to sell it. If you don’t sell it within that timeframe, donate it to charity so it doesn’t just become clutter again. Otherwise, you are not actually resolving your hoarding problem.

Maintaining Support Throughout

The clean-out process can be emotionally taxing for hoarders and their families as they work to let go of cherished possessions. We make providing continuous communication a top priority.

Partner with us Bay Hauling to help plan and remove the belongings you are parting with. This is something you do not have to do alone. We are here to help in anyway we can.

If you or a loved one suffers from hoarding disorder, it is understandable to feel hopeless and alone sometimes given the immense challenge. But please know that the situation is absolutely treatable with compassion, patience, hard work, and the right support system.

Countless individuals have overcome chronic disorganization and clutter through dedicated recovery efforts. Their stories show it is possible to transform chaotic living conditions into peaceful, livable spaces.

While the process requires commitment and courage, the sense of relief and personal growth on the other side is immense. You do not have to tackle this alone. Support groups and online resources provide community as well. With consistent treatment, maintenance plans, and self-kindness, recovery can become a reality. There is hope and a life on the other side of this – let us help you reach it.

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