Preventing hoarding relapse: Strategies for maintaining a clutter-free home

Preventing Hoarding Relapse: Strategies for Maintaining a Clutter-Free Home

For someone who has struggled with hoarding disorder, getting their home cleaned up and decluttered can be a major accomplishment. However, the work doesn’t stop there. Hoarding relapse is a common problem, and it can be very difficult to overcome. If you have a loved one who has recently undergone hoarding cleanup, it’s important to take steps to prevent relapse. Here are some strategies that can help.

  1. Continue therapy
    Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition, and therapy is a crucial component of treatment. Even if your loved one’s home is now clutter-free, they still need to address the underlying issues that contributed to their hoarding behavior. Encourage them to continue attending therapy sessions and following their therapist’s recommendations.

  2. Create a maintenance plan
    A clutter-free home doesn’t stay that way on its own. It’s important to create a maintenance plan to help your loved one stay organized and clutter-free. This might include regular cleaning and decluttering sessions, as well as strategies for managing new items that come into the home.

  3. Identify triggers
    For many people with hoarding disorder, certain triggers can set off the urge to accumulate possessions. These triggers might include stress, anxiety, or feelings of loneliness. Help your loved one identify their triggers and come up with strategies for managing them.

  4. Encourage self-compassion
    Hoarding disorder can be a source of shame and self-blame. Encourage your loved one to practice self-compassion and to recognize that hoarding disorder is a mental health condition, not a personal failing.

  5. Celebrate successes
    Finally, it’s important to celebrate your loved one’s successes along the way. Getting a clutter-free home is a major accomplishment, and it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and effort that went into achieving that goal.


Hoarding relapse is a common problem, but with the right strategies in place, it is possible to prevent it. Encourage your loved one to continue therapy, create a maintenance plan, identify triggers, practice self-compassion, and celebrate successes along the way. With your support, they can maintain a clutter-free home and continue to make progress in their recovery journey.