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How can I stop being a hoarder?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 01/20/2020 at 1:19pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
November 22nd, 2014 5:30am
Hoarding is often brought on by an underlying issue, first you should deal with this issue by seeking professional help before you can tackle the hoarding
November 13th, 2014 9:27pm
Honestly, I don't know if there is a simple answer that you are going to like. I hoard a lot (I have OCD) and the only thing I can do is just throw it away. I will stand with my mom or a friend and they will tell me to throw it away and be very assertive and I try to say no but eventually give in. I am sorry if this isn't much help but honestly you just have to throw it away not matter how uncomfortable it is.
December 22nd, 2014 11:43am
Handle objects only once. Scale down collections. Put it in a box. If you cannot decide to toss or keep an item, put it in a box for 6 months. If you don't open the box before then, you can let it go without regret. This is a great idea for people who hoard items like magazines, travel toiletries and newspaper clippings.Toss un-used items.
November 18th, 2014 2:10pm
I'd say before you buy/keep something ask yourself do I REALLY REALLY REALLY need this. And if you keep it and later on you notice you've never used it since the day you decided to keep it, give/throw it away. That's what I did and I'm definitely not hoarding as much as I used to.
November 22nd, 2014 11:05pm
You cannot stop a behavior until you know the extent of it. Begin by taking an inventory of every object you posses and writing it down. This may take more than a day. Then, take realistic, manageable steps to eliminating the hoard. Commit to removing one or a few objects every day without replacing them. Be sure to cross them off your list so you can see your progress.
January 2nd, 2015 5:19am
First of all, seek professional help. That's always a good start when you're tackling something challenging for you. Therapy can help you figure out what you're hoarding and why you do it. If you can figure out the reason for it, you'll have a better idea of how to tackle the problem. Some people hoard things for sentimental reasons (as in they can't bear to throw things away because of the memories attached to said things). Often this kind of issue is approached slowly, and the hoarder can gradually learn to rationalize that throwing things away doesn't mean you're throwing away the associated memories. Other people hoard for utility (as in they can't bear to throw things away because they might be useful later.) This is often remedied by showing the hoarder that waiting on the future utility of an item is making life difficult in the present, and that even if something could be useful in the future, it is useless clutter in the present, and the future in which it may be useful may never arrive. The key is figuring out a hoarder's specific compunction about throwing things away and addressing the core issue in that. Hoarding is a behavior, and it won't simply be solved by throwing everything away. Learning how to change the behavior is what's most important in the long run.
December 7th, 2014 4:40am
At some point you have to think about all the stuff you forget you have. I mean, as a hoarder, you have a LOT of stuff. Think about the stuff you either forgot you have or you haven't needed in the past 6 months or a year. If you haven't seen it in a year, chances are it's not important to you right? I mean, would your life really be different if you didn't have that item? What if you could turn that item into cash? And that cash into something else you REALLY want? Aim for that! Use the assets you have to get the other things you want. It'll be better for you to get the things you really want and it'll be great for the person who you end up selling it to because they will be getting something they want too.
December 9th, 2014 10:54am
Refrain from compulsive buying. Make a list before shopping and stick with it. Regularly sift through your stuff and donate/sell/get rid of things you don't use or need. Repeat.
December 19th, 2014 5:33am
Hoarding typically is based in an underlying emotional struggle. It may help to examine your feelings, ask yourself "What do I feel? Why do I feel this way? And, how has hoarding things helped me feel better?" Hoarding typically helps people feel better in some way, even though it makes life difficult in other ways. By finding how hoarding helps you, you can begin to find and try to use healthier coping methods to care for yourself and address your emotions in ways that don't involve hoarding (you may find DBT helpful, as well as ACT or CBT). Depending on how hoarding is impacting your life, you may benefit form professional support as well.
April 9th, 2015 3:27am
Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members. Start slow, choose 1 or 2 samples from your collection and keep the rest in a box and don't look at it for 6 months.Then you can let go of it without regret. Seek professional help if necessary
August 13th, 2018 2:32am
Hoarding can become very serious. Some ways you may be able to limit your hoarding are by getting somebody to remind you that not everything needs to be kept and by holding up what you want to keep and really thinking if that item brings you good memories. If it doesn't give you memories, it isn't necessary to keep.
January 20th, 2020 1:19pm
Try to figure out what about getting rid of things causes you stress, and go from there. Do things make you feel secure? Do you worry you'll need them? Are you attached to the memories? In the end, how you experience it all will be key. There's usually more under the surface than a simple attachment to objects. A good rule that I use for clothes and other junk is: if you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it! 😊 Sometimes it can seen overwhelming, especially if you've already got to a certain point, but see if you have any friends who would be willing to help you or just to keep you company while you sort and organize. Make a little event out of and it order some pizza. 😋😚
December 27th, 2014 10:03pm
It depends on the underlining reason you horde. In a lot of cases it's contributed to by OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and this can be treated if you seek the right help. Most local mental health teams will have someone that specializes in OCD or other related areas that should be able to help.
May 23rd, 2015 6:54pm
its easy to get attached to things because they all hold special or funny memories start by getting rid of garbage so things like broken toys, old blankets with holes, food wrappers, etc. after that look through and be realistic on all the things you do and don't need
- Expert in Managing Emotions
November 9th, 2015 2:09am
People normally hoard because they are feeling a gap/hole in their lives. Try finding out what is the main reason you are hoarding and deal with it to stop the habit.
January 11th, 2016 7:25am
Find out the real reason as to why you feel the need to hoard things. Look deep down and go to your roots and question whether your hoarding habits are covering up for a much deeper problem. Address your roots and conquer them. We all have reasons behind our actions.
July 26th, 2016 8:23am
You must throw away things that you don't need. To figure out the things you don't need from the things you have think: Do I still need this item if I'm no longer using it.
February 19th, 2018 10:38pm
It's really about learning how to let go. Therapy might help you in reframing your thoughts and adjusting your behaviour so that you are able to let go of things that you don't need. Marie Kondo's "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" could also help you see a different perspective.
August 7th, 2018 9:03am
It might help to start small, in some area of your life where you know it will be easy to dispose of unnecessary things, for instance if you have a lot of kitchen utilities like pots and pans you never use, and you don't cook that often and don't have the wish or need to expand on your cooking skills, maybe start there and separate the things you use every single day or at least 3 times a week, and donate/sell the rest, or give it to someone in your life who you know needs those things. For instance, I had three different pancake pans until a few days ago, but they were taking up too much space so I gave two to friends who didn't have any, and now I have room for some other things I need a lot more than three frying pans :)
June 25th, 2019 5:32am
I've found Marie Kondo's method quite effective when it comes to hoarding and buying stuff. You can learn more about her on youtube, or read her book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up", Also Matt D'Avella's channel--you can check out his videos. Basically what they say is, we've been so into stuff that we cannot stop but link having more stuff to happiness which is not true. To stop buying more stuff, notice what you already have in your house, and then ask yourself, does this make me happy, In my case it was stationery that I didn't use.