Alivio Downsizing

Decluttering Tips for Hoarders and Their Loved Ones

According to Merriam-Webster’s, hoarding is defined as, “the compulsion to continually accumulate a variety of items that are often considered useless or worthless by others; accompanied by an inability to discard the items without great distress”

At Alivio Solution, we are experts in helping seniors, boomers, and their families acclimate to the life changes associated with entering senior years.

We have helped countless families with our decluttering service, alleviating years of mental and emotional stress that inevitably comes with accumulating too many items in the home. The decluttering process isn’t something that can happen overnight, and help is often needed from others. A decluttered home however means a new space that is much more functional, and an improved mental resilience too. Here are some tips to help you with decluttering your home or that of a loved one, specifically tailored to that hoarder or hoarding tendencies.

Short, Manageable Decluttering Sessions Work Best

Short decluttering sessions are most effective for a home that is over-run with too many items. It is best to break the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

During decluttering sessions, focus on specific rooms or areas of the home at a time. Decluttering a room or even just a section within a room will result in more space to maneuver. Over time, as the clutter is reduced, you’ll notice a clearer state of mind in a previously cluttered area of the home. A hoarder will have many items in their home with sentimental value or “future value,” so whether you are using our decluttering service or if you’re tackling the project yourself, items with sentimental value should be ranked in order of importance. A ranking system can help deduce which possessions are truly worth keeping. Once decluttered, a freshly cleaned room may inspire you to clean other areas. Inertia is a tangible phenomenon in decluttering, and maintaining momentum is easier with a more manageable decluttering process.

When decluttering, it is important to start in a room that is easily accessible. Work in 15-minute increments or if you’re feeling motivated you can do 1 to 3-hour blocks but not more. Set a timer to limit your time spent decluttering. It may help to play upbeat music and record your progress to reduce any stress when feeling overwhelmed. Once it becomes a habit and part of a daily routine, decluttering becomes less of a mental challenge and can be more enjoyable.

It can be a lot of work and time to take on the project of downsizing: Toronto that’s why homeowners rely on Alivio Solution to help, making it much more manageable and attainable.

Why The “One In, One Out” Rule Does Not Apply

Many hoarders can’t distinguish between sentimental and actual value. When decluttering with a hoarder, the “one-in-one-out” rule won’t work because it’s difficult making decisions with finality and separate from items that they have owned for a long time.

The “One In, One Out” rule—which dictates that for each new item that comes into your home, a similar item must leave—is not helpful for a hoarder. This systematic decluttering process can trigger PTSD-like symptoms for hoarders and escalate hoarding tendencies. To avoid these risks and to prevent hindering your progress, it’s best to begin your decluttering journey by breaking the task into baby steps.

Decluttering Functional Spaces

One of the first steps when decluttering a home for a hoarder is to clear out any obvious trash. By eliminating large items and ensuring that you have enough space in each room, decluttering becomes easier. Next, sort through items one room at a time to find what belongs where.

The next step in the process of decluttering is to establish a schedule. Decluttering or downsizing is not a short process. It is essential to maintain a sense of momentum and not become overwhelmed with the perceived immensity of the project. Be sure to take photos to document your progress. Taking photos and listening to uplifting music is an excellent way to stay motivated. You can challenge yourself to declutter several items within a certain period and continue with the project.

Getting Back into the Decluttering Mindset

Getting back into the decluttering mindset is an ongoing challenge for a hoarder. This mental shift is particularly important because a hoarder has an overwhelming compulsion to bring new things into the house. To prevent this, a conscious effort to avoid buying anything new unless necessary is required. Some strategies can help a hoarder keep the clutter from coming back.

Firstly, it is helpful to set small, achievable goals to start. Instead of trying to tackle the entire house at once, start small. Work on your desk, then move to your night table and closet. If you can’t finish all of these things at once, don’t worry. You can always move on to the next room once you’re ready. By keeping the rooms small, you’ll avoid overwhelming yourself.

Home Decluttering Service & Downsizing in Toronto

If you or someone you care for needs assistance with decluttering or downsizing their home it may be time to hire a professional. At Alivio Solution, we provide our decluttering service in Toronto and the surrounding regions, based on the foundational principles of ethical methods, dignified customer care, straightforward service, and empowerment of our clients.

With caring, compassionate customer service, we can help you through this transitional time and assist with all your needs for downsizing in Toronto, decluttering, moving, and/or resettling. Take that step into the next chapter of your life with your confidence and peace of mind — contact Alivio Solution today at or 437-329-6873