Living with a hoarder can be difficult for many people because we prefer to have space and can become overwhelmed by a hoarder’s habits. But there is a way for you to live with a hoarder.
To live with a hoarder, you need to be willing to develop an understanding and empathetic outlook, offering emotional support to them. By being empathetic towards their hoarding needs, you can build a trust that will allow you to help research and make progressive changes with them to stop hoarding.
If you don’t have hoarding habits yourself, living with a hoarder can be hard unless you take the right steps to help the hoarding person.
How can you live with a hoarder?
To live with a hoarder, you need to be understanding of what causes their hoarding behaviour and willing to slowly help break these habits. Hoarding behaviours after typically triggered by previous experiences in a hoarder’s life that make them feel the need to hoard items. These experiences can create an emotional reliance on specific items such as dolls and then a hoarder will continue to collect as many dolls as possible. This is because they find comfort in the dolls. But if you live with a hoarder, you will want your own space that isn’t likely to stay filled with dolls or other hoarded items. So, you first need to identify why this person has such a strong emotional connection to their hoarded items.
While you are living with a hoarder and learning to understand them, you shouldn’t throw away their possessions. This can cause huge emotional trauma and outbursts that won’t improve the state of a hoarder.
At the same time, you shouldn’t encourage their hoarding behaviour. Instead, you can talk to them about their hoarding habits and together become educated about the dangers of hoarding. Also, you should learn about hoarding disorders and how to gently navigate them. From there, you can talk about potentially seeking professional help to unpack the hoarding habits and slowly work towards losing the bad habits.
When you’re living with a hoarder, you should celebrate small victories with each step they take towards breaking their hoarding habits. It’s important to stay patient as hoarding behaviours are often associated with mental health illnesses. Show kindness and encouragement while working towards a better lifestyle.
Is it possible to live with a hoarder?
It is possible to live with a hoarder, but it isn’t always easy because it can lead to very strained relationships. This comes from the frustrations you can feel in a cramped hoarding space. Even the gentlest people can lose their patience if the hoarding situation doesn’t improve in any way. But this is why you should be educating yourself about hoarding disorders and trying to slowly encourage a hoarder to let go of their items.
It can be hard to live with a hoarder for extended periods of time. If you have tried talking with this person about their hoarding habits and it hasn’t helped, you can suggest getting professional advice. The tricky part is that if people don’t want to be helped, it’s almost impossible to help them. But if a hoarder is open to the idea of slowly reducing their hoarding habits, you can work together. Add on professional therapy and you can help break a hoarder’s habits, making it much easier to live with a hoarder. In time, you could even end up hiring a skip bin to clear out a lot of space in your shared home!
How do you organise a living with a hoarder?
To try and organise a shared living space with a hoarder, you can talk about boundaries and rules for these areas. This involves sitting down with a hoarder and explaining that shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways need to be clear of obstructions. This can pose a lot of risk of injury and dangers if these spaces become cluttered. You can instead agree on designated spaces where they can keep their collections.
As time moves on, if you are able to gently communicate about boundaries, you can try talking about limitations on purchases. This can help reduce the number of items a hoarder brings home. This can also lead to conversations about buying and replacing items. So, if a new item is picked up by a hoarder, they have to remove one of their older items. This can be quite challenging at first, but a great introductory method to decrease the clutter in a hoarder’s house.
Also, establish rules about areas that you are in charge of. This can reduce the overwhelming feelings that both you and a hoarder feel when it comes to keeping your spaces clean. You can have your own designated areas to organise and clean in the way that you like. This helps clean a cluttered house and keep it as organised as possible when living with a hoarder.
Can hoarders be organised?
Hoarders can be organised and most actually have their own organisational systems that may not be clear to others. It’s one of those situations where we often tell people our mess is an organised mess. Lots of hoarders know exactly where everything is or what area you should be able to find certain hoarded items. Hoarding behaviours can be accompanied by forms of OCD which actually makes hoarders feel the need for organisation. The hard part is that they collect so many items that things eventually become lost in the clutter. Once a house is full of hoarded items it is considered chaotic clutter. This is when it is hard for a hoarder to be organised. But if you ask, they more often than not will have some form of organised thinking.
As you begin to break hoarding habits, a hoarder can maintain their organisational skills. This can be really beneficial in the end!
Can a hoarder be clean?
In the beginning, a hoarder can be clean as they keep their hoarding organised. But as time goes on and they accumulate piles of items, it becomes hard to keep a clean house. The mess of stacked items makes it harder to clean a house. This causes dirt and grime to build up.
People who struggle with high-level hoarding disorders can end up keeping faeces and animal waste in the house. These are severe cases of hoarding disorders that create a dirty and unsanitary living environment. When you get the right help for this kind of disorder, it’s common for people to hire professional cleaners to organise a hoarder’s house.