My Partner is a Hoarder. Help!

Living With A Hoarder Is Difficult 

People often ask about partners who need help getting organized or decluttering, so I thought I’d address the question here. I was recently asked this question via my Facebook page.

How To Handle a Hoarder

Q.

My partner is such a hoarder! Any tips?

A.

There are a several ways to approach this, both for you and your partner.

Start by making peace with the fact that you can’t change someone else. In fact, if you push too hard your partner may become defensive, making the situation worse.

Instead, focus on getting what you need (perhaps a clutter-free space of your own?), modeling the benefits of hoarding-free behavior in your own life, and reinforcing positive change in your partner. The first post, below, is about working with a disorganized colleague, but the three tips are equally applicable to living with a stuff-loving partner.

For your partner, if and when they decide they want to address their habits, there are a number of ways they can tackle the challenge.

They might like to start with changing their mindset by looking at mental resistance and excuses. Or they might prefer to jump right in with simple fixes to get started.

It then becomes a small step to broadening the focus to their home, and going for short, 30-minute decluttering projects.

The Secret: Start Small and Keep Going

Unless you have the resources of a national television show at your disposal, don’t expect big changes all at once. Instead encourage your partner, when ready, to make a small start, and continue most days. That will be enough.

All of these posts offer simple strategies, so the barrier to starting is low.

Living With A Hoarder

Changing A Hoarding Mindset

Small Ways To Start Decluttering

How To Declutter Your Home

Clutter-Busting In 30 Minutes

Your Say

If you live with a hoarder, what have you found successful? Please share your experiences, or let us know what you’re going to try.

[Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toxicboy/ / CC BY 2.0]

Michele | Get Organized Gal

Michele is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.

6 thoughts on “My Partner is a Hoarder. Help!

  1. Pbuck06 says:

    I've been married for 27 years. I left my husband 1 1/2 years ago because of his hoarding disorder. He has been hoarding most of our married life but I couldn't put a label on it until Oprah had a show dedicated to hoarding and now there are books, articles and more TV shows. My 3 children grew up around boxes and narrow pathways leading to other part of the house which was a 4 story so you can well imagine. Must to my horror we have been sited by the city several times with a threat to condemn. He filled up our original 4 story and decided he would move his family into a very nice home, giving us a chance to start over where he promised this was my house and he wouldn't do it anymore. Haha guess what? He did it again which now is no surprise understanding that it is an addiction. I pleaded, cried, threatened until I saw that it was no use, nothing was going to change. I moved out thinking that would snap him to his senses. Guess what? It didn't. Silly me, thinking that he would go OMG I want and need you back and will do anything. Well guess what? He didn't. He didn't do a damn thing but make matters worse by making more of a mess. My two young adult sons live with him so they now get to experience this as adults. They feel sorry for him as we all do because he can't get it. I also have a daughter that is away at college most of the year but when she does have to return during school break she hates coming back home. I told my husband I will never ever live in a mess again. I gave him the first 25 years and honored him in his lifestyle and now he needs to give me my time of normalcy. I also things its important for the kids to see modeled to them how people manage and respect what they have been given. I go back to the house to see my kids and my dog which I miss terribly. Once again, it is me, the other person, that always has to sacrifice in order to save my sanity. My husband is also getting into trouble in the new beautiful neighborhood with the other neighbors. Letter have been dropped off and heated confrontations mad as to the strong dislike for what he does to his property. Looks like a flea market. Garage is stuffed along with the basement. It's disgusting. He has more darn excuses than you could ever imagine. He is your typical addict. Will not accept help because he trusts no one with his “stuff”. He has decided that he would prefer his “stuff” for his attractive “wife”. In 10 years he'll look back and say why didn't you tell me why didn't you do something. That's another thing, they love blaming other people. I am so happy being away from him and his dysfunctional lifestyle. I feel like I am alive and can breathe again. I saved myself from being buried alive for the second time. Yeah!!!

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