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How Do I Stop Hoarding?

There are various treatment options that may help people who compulsively hoard things.
Excessive shopping can be part of obsessive-compulsive hoarding.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
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The process of learning to stop hoarding can be challenging and lengthy; many people find that in order to truly stop hoarding their possessions and continuing to acquire new ones, psychological treatment is necessary. Therapy can help you get to the bottom of the reasons for your hoarding, as well as give you techniques to give up possessions without feeling sad, anxious, or upset. If the hoarding has not progressed to the point where you feel you need psychological treatment, however, you will need to begin the slow process of going through possessions to determine what should be kept and what should be thrown away.

In order to stop hoarding, you will need to consider first what types of items you tend to acquire and keep. Some people cannot throw out old magazines and books, for example; others may continue to go out and purchase new decorations for the home, or new items of clothing and shoes. Some people find that they hoard items that should be thrown away, such as cans or bottles. Consider the reasons that you keep these items; many people "save" things, imagining that they will need to be used at some later date, when this is simply not the case.

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When you are ready to stop hoarding, start slowly, and begin with just one drawer or one closet. Do not try to remove all the items from the house at once, as this will likely be too overwhelming and upsetting. Ask a friend or family member for help if you wish. If you are finding it difficult to get rid of items, consider whether or not you have used the item in the past six months to one year. If the item hasn't been used, chances are you will never use it; unless it has some particular sentimental value, get rid of it.

Do this with each item you hoard. This may also include collectibles, or even items from previous hobbies or activities you thought you might try one day. You do not need to throw items away when you stop hoarding; try giving them to friends or family, to charity, or better still - have a yard sale and make some money for all your effort. Once you have cleaned your home to your satisfaction, it is important to maintain it, and not simply fill it up with possessions again. Try some techniques when shopping, such as asking yourself if you really need the item, or even waiting a few days and then coming back and purchasing the item if you decide it is something you do really need.

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Ruggercat68
Post 2

What bothers me most about hoarding isn't holding onto material things that have meaning. I can't stand seeing all of that filth, like rotten food and animal waste. The items with some value might be worth storing elsewhere, but the garbage has just got to go. I'll watch the beginning of a hoarding show and then watch something else until the very end. I can't take all of the steps in the middle as the hoarder fights so hard to keep all of the trash in his or her house. I just want to bulldoze the whole place down and spray the hoarder with a garden hose for an hour.

RocketLanch8
Post 1

I realize I have a hoarding mindset, but every few years I force myself to get rid of anything I haven't touched in over a year. I've already thrown away a lot of meaningless papers and magazines, but I still hold onto some things I know are only sentimental. I can't do the really big purges like I see on reality shows about hoarding.

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