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Gentle Solutions: Tips for Supporting a Hoarder in Downsizing

Gentle Solutions Tips for Supporting a Hoarder in Downsizing - Bio-One of Poway

If you're reading this blog, it signals that you're likely dealing with a loved one who hoards. It can be a challenging and overwhelming experience for everyone involved. As you begin to tackle the cleaning process, know that it may not be an easy task. A hoarder's home may be filled with unexpected challenges, and safety should be a top priority.

You may need to move towards a professional solution for cleaning the environment that can provide the necessary tools, resources, and empathy to approach the problem. Bio-One of Poway has years of expertise in hoarding cleanup, and we can help. But for now, here are our expert tips for helping a hoarder downsize with care and compassion.

Helping a Hoarder Downsize - Tips Before Getting Started

  1. First Things First: When it comes to helping a friend or relative who needs to downsize,  the first thing is to make sure that they're ready. Perhaps they claim to be ready but still struggle with parting with items. In this situation, it's important to proceed slowly and patiently. It may take time for them to feel comfortable letting go of their possessions.
  2. Be Gentle: When discussing downsizing, approach your loved one or friend gently and non-judgmentally. Avoid words like "junk" or "trash," and instead, use more neutral phrases such as "items" or "possessions." This is important to remember because many hoarders see their belongings as valuable and have a strong emotional attachment to them.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: It's essential to set realistic goals when downsizing. Don't expect to declutter the entire home in one day. Break the task into smaller, manageable chunks and focus on one area at a time.
downsizing example piles of boxes

Helping a Hoarder Downsize - Tips During the Cleanup Process

  1. Encourage Sorting: Encourage your loved one to sort through their items and make decisions about what they want to keep and what they no longer need. This can be difficult for them, so approach this step with patience.
  2. Be Understanding: Hoarders may have a difficult time letting go of items, even if they are no longer useful or valuable. Be understanding of their emotional attachment to possessions and avoid forcing them to get rid of anything they aren't ready to let go of.
  3. Use Positive Reinforcement: During the cleanup process, it's important to use positive reinforcement and praise your loved one for making progress. This can help boost their confidence and make the downsizing process more manageable.
use positive reinforcement

More Important Tips to Consider

  1. Create a Rehoming Plan: It's essential to have a plan in place on what to dispose of, what to keep, and what to donate. If the property has an abundance of items, consider creating a checklist and creating categories to make the decision process smoother. To avoid overwhelming your loved one, maintain a patient and calm approach. Encourage them to keep what matters most and to donate what they no longer need.
  2. Safety: The clutter in a hoarder's home might pose a danger to your loved one. It's critical to create a safe environment and correct potential safety hazards that might arise, e.g., fire, rodents, etc. A professional company like Bio-One of Poway will take the necessary precautions, and we can clean and sanitize the residence, assuring it's safe to live in.
  3. Communication: It's important to communicate with your loved ones and help them understand the critical nature of downsizing. Communication plays a huge role in creating the trust and relationship necessary to successfully tackle decluttering. Be sure to transition the process slowly and provide the love and support needed to make the process as stress-free as possible.
hoarder clean up downsize example

Helping a Hoarder Downsize - Tips After the Cleanup Process

  1. Keeping Up with Progress: Once the cleanup is completed, keep track of progress and revise the initial plan as needed. Ensure that your loved one is receiving the necessary support to maintain their new environment, whether that may be offering help to maintain their status or hiring a cleaning company to continue with regular cleanups.
  2. Encouragement: Continue to encourage your loved one and acknowledge their progress towards a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. It might be helpful to set small achievable goals for them to work towards. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and motivate them to continue with the downsizing process.
  3. Seeking Professional Help: In some cases, hoarding can be a complex and challenging issue to overcome. If your loved one still needs support, you can seek help from a professional therapist or counselor specializing in hoarding.
biohazard and hoarding cleanup technician

Bio-One of Poway Can Help

Supporting a hoarder in downsizing is a challenging, yet rewarding journey. The process requires patience, empathy, dedication, and professional support. Our team at Bio-One of Poway can provide resources and a safe environment to approach the problem thoroughly. Downsizing your loved one's home can be an invitation to a healthier life, better relationships, and peace of mind. Call us to get started. We can help!