Stopping the Hoarding Habit and Cleaning Up Afterward

The act of hoarding is one that tends to grow on you over time. You don’t necessarily realize you are doing it, especially if you live alone and no one sees how you’re living. You may only become aware of it when you have friends, family, or a romantic partner over to your place for the first time in a while and their negative reaction suggests a problem.

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Here are ways to stop being a hoarder and how to deal with the cleanup process.

Hoarding 101

You know you have a problem with hoarding when you have clutter everywhere. When you’re having to pick your way through rooms, you use a spare bedroom as a junk accumulation area, the garage is no longer usable due to clutter, or you’re having to rent a storage unit to move your excess elsewhere, then you probably have a hoarding issue. When the rooms with the clutter smell badly, this is another way to identify that there’s a genuine problem with potentially one or more causes that track back to hoarding as a cause.

How Do You Start to Tackle It?

Cleaning up the affected areas by dealing with the accumulated items is the first step. The dampness buildup or moisture around the items that have been collected over the years seeps into the carpets and floorboards causing long-term issues. Sometimes there is a bad odor in the affected rooms or the entire home, where you cannot identify the source directly. Start moving stuff out to clean up the space. If it’s all too much to deal with, you may need a hoarding and clutter cleanup specialist firm to come help do the work for you.

“Haven’t Used It in a Year” Rule

One way for you to get past the tendency to hoard things is to go through the items collected and determine how recently you’ve used them. Use the rule that anything you haven’t used in over a year has to go. This can be applied to most things, but not important items like financial or business records, which must be kept for longer.

Can You Sell the Items?

It depends how deteriorated the hoarded items are whether it’s smart to try to sell them or not. You don’t want to throw away something potentially valuable or a collector’s item, however, you should avoid continuing to hoard items because you think they’ll be valuable someday or you wish to sell them for an unrealistic price, which means they’ll never go. If some things are clean enough and still function correctly, then it’s possible they could be sold on eBay, Craigslist or another site, but otherwise, it’s best to remove items that are no longer needed.

Don’t forget to check through any rented self-storage unit(s) to see what you have there and clean them out to save on continuing to pay for space. It’s more likely that you’ll find items in better condition there as they’ll be less susceptible to deterioration. Be strict with yourself to avoid hanging onto things that have no real value and just demonstrate a continued habitual hoarding tendency.

Hoarding is a major behavioral problem for some people. Either they regret the purchases but cannot bear to part with the items or they see everything as having real value. Items may also represent safety in their mind when in fact they’re the complete opposite. The sooner you tackle the problem and change the habit, the better you’ll be.