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Stop the Hoarding! Decluttering Tips 101 for Hoarders

Katya Bowd

Posted on April 16 2018

decluttering tips

Whether you’re a hoarder or just a collector of items that keep piling up, it’s time to take action. A new year spells a new start, and who wants to begin another year with myriads of unused items cluttering up your home? A cluttered home can easily begin to clutter your mind, and the easiest way to start feeling like you’re not in control anymore is by letting your home environment get out of control. There’s no time like the present to stop your hoarding habits. It's time to start on the right track for 2018 with these decluttering tips for hoarders.

However, many of us form special attachments to our possessions. We begin to let them define who we are, and some of us are reluctant to throw anything away because it reminds us of a certain time in our lives, or of a certain person. While sentimental value can count a lot, there’s only so many of little Timmy’s paintings you can keep piling up in your closet, especially if he’s now 30 years old with children of his own. Eventually, we’ll reach a point where enough is enough. If you’re reading this article, that ‘enough’ moment is now. Here are five ways you can begin to declutter your home while decluttering your life. It’s time to stop hoarding and change your life.

Start slow

decluttering tips

When you’ve just had enough of clutter, stuff, and everything piling up, it’s all too easy to start throwing things in the rubbish bin without a thought. You want to be a “new you,” and it may seem like the best way to achieve that new version of yourself is by going full steam ahead.

However, fast is not the best speed to approach the decluttering process. If you are saying “I am a hoarder, where do I start?” Slowly is the best piece of advice we can offer. Start cleaning out the spare room closet, then the chest of drawers, and then slowly work your way around that spare, unused room. You may then want to use the same approach to other areas of the home. Start with that single cardboard box under your bed, then the bedside cabinet, and eventually, overthrow your entire wardrobe.

If you run around your room, filling endless bags up with stuff you feel is cluttering your living spaces, you’re going to be full of regret when those items are gone. If you take the process slowly, you’re able to put more thought into the items you are removing.

It’s best to ask yourself:

  1. Will I use this item in six months’ time?
  2. Does this item hold any sentimental or monetary value?
  3. Do I currently use or need this item?

If the answer to all three of those questions is no, then get rid of it.

Separate items into four categories

You can find decluttering tips for homes almost anywhere on the internet, but there’s one tip that appears more often than not, and it’s a valuable piece of advice for any hoarder or person with clutter looking for a fresh start this year. That piece of advice is to separate all items into categories.

These categories are:

  • Rubbish
  • Recycle
  • Donate
  • Keep


If the item is broken, worn, tattered or holey, throw it out. If it’s something that can be turned into something else, or repaired, recycle it. If it’s of decent quality and can be appreciated and used by someone else, donate it. Or, if it’s something you cherish, need, or use, keep it.

Always keep these categories at the back of your mind as you’re working your way through each room in your house. The garage is often home to endless boxes full of old items, so you want to check through these carefully. There will be cherished items hidden amongst those you should have thrown out years ago, and it’s not an area of your property you want to rush.

decluttering tips

Be ruthless

When you’re ready to declutter your home, it’s all too easy to keep items that hold no real significant monetary or sentimental value, purely because you feel like you might use it one day. Then there are the items that were gifted at Christmas such as soap sets, bath sets, new candles, and cheese knives. There’s a reason you stored them away; they’re no use to you. Even though they might be brand new in the packaging and could be of use, they aren’t something to which you should be holding on. Get ruthless, and donate items you will never use so someone who could use them has the chance to do so.

Don’t do it alone

If you share a home with family, they too should be helping with the decluttering process. After all, they live there too. Get the entire family involved when you’re ready to declutter your home and your life. Give them four rubbish bags and explain the same four category rule to them: rubbish, recycle, donate, or keep. Label these bags if it makes it easier for the younger members of the family. Send them to their assigned rooms, and have them put any items that are no longer suitable to keep, or can be donated, into the bags. There’s no reason why their own bedrooms can’t be a place of complete organisation as well.

Make sure you check their bags before you send them to the assigned locations (e.g., recycling and rubbish centers, second-hand stores) just in case they are throwing away anything they still need or use.

decluttering tips


Buy organisational products

With your home now free of unnecessary items, it’s now time to add a sense of organisation to your home. Add more coat hangers to your closet to hang clothes from. Buy additional shelving for your closets for additional items. Purchase shoe racks for the family’s shoes, and even invest in cubes for the children’s toys, books, etc.

These organisational products are also convenient within home office spaces. Invest in filing cabinets to assign documents to, use drawers for other important items, and use a container to house all those odd pens and pencils that find their way onto every surface in the home.

Decluttering your home can certainly lead to a decluttering of the mind. Once you start, you’ll be able to let go of the stress your home has brought about, and a new sense of calm can take its place. Have you decluttered your home? What tips have you got? We’d love to hear how you restored order.