3 Tips to Help a Hoarder Organize and Declutter

Your belongings, even if you have very few, likely mean a lot to you. They give us a sense of place, belonging and value, and sometimes, our things mean more to us than we recognize. For those of us who have moved around often, having our belongings with us gives us an immense sense of security and can play a massive role in our self-confidence and mental health. But there is a limit. Most of us know how to effectively organize our personal possessions, whether in a self-storage unit, our apartment, homes or our rooms. 

If you have a family member, loved one or friend that you believe may have a hoarding problem, then here are a few tips from Rock Safe Storage that can help. 

Rock Safe Storage Promotes Communication

Having a friend, family member or loved one who struggles with hoarding can be devastating. Often, those of us outside of the situation can see that there’s an issue or may pick up on certain habits forming, but it can be difficult to diagnose from the inside. Things may start piling up, garbage might start accumulating, clothes start stacking, laundry is left undone and yet, without cycling through or objects being donated and thrown away, the situation starts growing out of control. 

If the first step in this scenario is recognizing the problem, then the second step is understanding the person’s thoughts, intentions, and circumstances. For some, it might be a mental health issue, like separation anxiety, depression or grief. For others, it might be an obsession, a hobby gone rogue, or an inability to clean and organize. 

But you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The situation may be unique and require your attention, but the best way to understand is to communicate with the individual. Communicating openly or subtly (like politely suggesting a self-storage de-cluttering day) may break down some barriers and allow for total transparency. For those with parents or grandparents that are struggling, it might be easier to start off lightly and offer help regularly. 

Aim to establish trust first through communication, transparency and positive education. 

Self-Storage Action Plans

Once the problem is recognized, then it’s time to develop an action plan. Figuring out how to help and when to start will be critical in getting the situation under control. Traditionally, living spaces should come first, but if the problem has spread to a self-storage unit, then scheduling out additional time and resources may be necessary. 

Your friend, loved one, or family member who’s struggling with a hoarding disorder may not be on-board to tackle the problem. Many who suffer are also in denial and may have even developed additional attachment issues, making the situation more difficult. Whether your family or the individual struggling is willing to help or not, it will remain critical to developing a plan first. Schedule out certain times on certain days to tackle the issue. Assign a room, section or other problem areas during that time frame and make sure to bring extra cleaning supplies, trash bags, and storage bins. 

Once you’ve made your selections, you might find it helpful to pull everything out into a large pile and begin sorting what you keep, what you donate and what you toss. The items you keep should then be sorted into what can go into self-storage and what can remain in the house or apartment. 

Make sure to clean and disinfect the area when you finish, and always communicate what’s been done and where the items will be stored after the process. 

Using a Storage Unit Effectively

Remember, throughout this whole process, communication is key. Be sure everyone, especially the individual struggling, is onboard with these decisions (it may take years for them to finally trust you, but keep at it!). If they already have a storage unit, and if it’s not full, then you may be able to use it to store important keepsakes, documents or other items of value. It will be important to have that extra space while sorting, disinfecting and decluttering, as it will free up room in your current space for continued organization. 

If the storage unit in Arroyo Grande is occupied, then you might want to consider renting an additional unit during this undertaking until more space becomes available. 

Be sure to stack boxes, invest in shelves and keep the storage unit organized for easy access in the future. 

When all is said and done, please remember that not everyone who has a large number of belongings has a hoarding disorder. By recognizing specific signs and behaviors, you’ll be able to know how and when to appropriately step in and lend a hand.

For storage unit rental options in the Arroyo Grande area, or to read more of our helpful tips, visit us or read more online today!