Posted on: November 1, 2023


For people who hoard they don’t think it is a big deal, they think they are holding on to the most valuable item in the world and others may view the items as worthless. Hoarders have difficulty parting with possessions which lead to a mass amount of clutter that can affect their living and even work spaces. Some might say they are a collector and not a hoarder but there is a big difference. Collectors look for specific items and they organize or display them, but people who hoard save random items and store them chaotically. Commonly hoarded items consist of newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food and clothing. These items to the hoarder may have sentimental value, be unique, irreplaceable or too big of a bargain to throw it away. They may need that item later in life, it could help jog their memory or remind them of a time or place. They might even feel safer surrounded by all their items.

Some who hoard can present the following:

  • Failure to throw away possessions
  • Severe anxiety when attempting to throw an item away
  • Great difficulty in organizing possessions
  • Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
  • Items fill, block and clutter active living areas so they cannot be used
  • Functional impairments, including loss of living space, social isolation, family or marital disconnect, financial difficulties, and health hazards

People with hoarding disorders can also have other associated problems such as: indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, disorganization and distractibility. Hoarding can contribute greatly to their functionality, mental, socially, and even emotion state of mind. In most cases this can trickle down to their loved ones. Loved ones should seek help from a health professional because hoarding can be very detrimental to one’s life and health

Here are some helpful tips for a loved one to deal with hoarding:

  1. Educate yourself on hoarding – There are websites and books available.
  2. Obtain resources and support – You will not be able to do this alone. Please reach out to other family members or a friend for support.
  3. Check your expectations – Be patient with your loved one moving forward, and be grateful for any small step your loved one takes.
  4. Reach out to your loved one – This is a difficult step but it must be done.
  5. Support your loved one – Always be there as a support person, celebrate accomplishments and recognize that this is their journey and their battle to fight.

Alivity is available to help you or your loved one with hoarding. Call us today at (248) 375-9125 for assistance. We service several counties in the Metro Detroit area including Genesee and Macomb.