Decluttering tips for hoarders | Expert guide
February 5, 2021

Decluttering Tips

We’re all guilty of having an untidy home at one point or another, but when your possessions start to control your behaviour, there’s deeper issues at play. If you feel that each item you own has sentimental value, or may come in handy later, then you can quickly find your possessions getting the better of you. 

It’s important to break this cycle early, but it’s not easy. There’s no quick fix, but with these decluttering tips for hoarders you can find ways to wind back valuable space around your home.

Tips on how to declutter

We all have the potential for hoarding—that’s why clutter presents itself in the first place. Decluttering for hoarders involves many of the same principles that work for everyone, and the most important of these is self care. It’s important not to view clutter as a product of ill-discipline, because that’s not true. More often than not, clutter is simply a result of the busy lives we lead. So, don’t try to be a harsh disciplinarian when you’re decluttering—it will only breed guilt! Instead, think in terms of utility and ask yourself: is this object useful to me anymore? If it’s not, then you should get rid of it.

Set rules and stick to them

If you set rules when you declutter your home, stick to them. It’s a matter of trust—you need to be able to trust that you’ll carry out your decluttering plans in the days, weeks, and months after you make them. We recommend writing your plan down, and sticking it somewhere visible. Also keep a copy in your storage shed if you have one. That way you’ll be reminded of your own rules each time you put another item into storage.

Work room by room

If you find it hard to break sentimental attachments, start decluttering in rooms that hold less emotional appeal to you. For example, you could start decluttering a spare room or the kitchen, rather than the living room or bed room. This approach minimises the potential for sentimental feelings, and offers quick results. When you start to connect the work you’re doing to positive changes in your space, it’s easier to make progress in your broader search of tidiness. By the time you reach the hardest rooms to declutter—bedrooms and lounge rooms, for example—you’ll be more confident in your decisions to let go of items that no longer serve you.

Remember: not all items are sentimental

We understand that throwing things away can produce a whole range of feelings that are rarely pleasant. It’s important not to mistake these feelings for sentimentality, though, because that can be the start of hoarding tendencies. Sometimes throwing things away, or even donating them, is a sad process. But that doesn’t mean you should stand in its way, because that will only cause you trouble down the track. We accumulate too many things in our lifetimes to keep, so it’s inevitable that some things just have to go.

Use storage sheds

Storage sheds are a practical way to declutter your home without having to dispose of things. With a shed, you can transfer items of sentimental importance from your home to somewhere in which they’ll be safe and out of the way. We recommend adopting the three month rule when you hire a storage shed: if you haven’t used an item in three months or more, send it to the shed. If you find that you haven’t used an item three months after it goes into storage, then you should get rid of it.

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