Follow these five tips to address your compulsive hoarding tendencies and remove clutter from your residence.

Hoarding is a mental condition with damaging psychological effects. People who hoard keep objects and animals even if they have little financial or sentimental value. People with a hoarding disorder have difficulty discarding objects and often neglect household cleanliness and personal hygiene.

According to the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation, approximately 2 to 6 percent of the population lives with hoarding disorder, although symptoms of hoarding may be present for 1 in 20 individuals. While the condition is challenging, overcoming hoarding tendencies is possible. Here are 6 tips that can help:

1. Clean Up Clutter Immediately

There are several ways to achieve immediate progress in decluttering your home. One of the main preventative measures for hoarding is cleaning up clutter right after noticing it. Upon seeing disorganized items, move them to a proper place immediately. If there are items that can be thrown away, do so right then rather than later.

2. Declutter for 15 Minutes Each Day

Schedule 15 minutes each day to declutter your home. You might even form a weekly plan that involves organizing and cleaning one room each day for 15 minutes.

Many people with a hoarding disorder don’t naturally know how to declutter in a time-efficient manner. There are many different ways you can remove unnecessary items from your house and become more organized. Placing dirty towels and sheets in the laundry hamper, discarding empty bottles, throwing away old food and cleaning surfaces after using them are all examples of quick decluttering methods.

3. Throw Away Anything You Haven’t Used in the Past Year

Hoarding disorder usually involves keeping items that have little-to-no value. Old clothes that do not fit, old newspapers, bills and receipts, paper and plastic bags, and broken appliances are all examples of hoarded items.

A helpful rule to follow is to dispose of any items that you haven’t used in the past year. Following this guideline will prevent an unnecessary buildup of clothes, kitchen supplies, outdated electronics or children’s toys.

4. Use the OHIO Rule for Mail and Emails

The OHIO Rule helps people manage their mail. OHIO stands for “Only Handle It Once” and refers to reading emails or physical mail. Following the OHIO Rule requires reading and responding to incoming email immediately rather than delaying these actions for a later time.

Also, when you receive promotional mail items in your home mailbox, throw them away immediately if you do not have an immediate need for them. Upon receiving bills in the mail, pay them off as soon as possible rather than waiting until the deadline.

5. Request Help From Friends and Family

People may become overwhelmed with the task of decluttering their home. However, organizing and discarding objects does not need to be a solo project. Ask friends or family members to assist you in cleaning your residence. Depending on the type of hoarding disorder you have, they likely noticed your hoarding. Help from others can make the decluttering process less stressful.

6. Seek Treatment

Professional treatment for hoarding disorder can provide additional resources and support for individuals struggling with compulsive hoarding. Experts can establish an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to a patient’s needs and addresses the root cause of the hoarding and any co-occurring disorders.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more

International OCD Foundation. “Who Gets Hoarding Disorder?” Accessed February 19, 2019.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “Working Through The Clutter: A Hands-On Hoarding Workshop.” April 13, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.