The role of family in hoarding recovery: How to support your loved one through the process

Hoarding can be a challenging and overwhelming disorder not just for the individual struggling with it, but also for their family and loved ones. While it can be difficult to know how to help a hoarder, the role of family in the hoarding recovery process is essential.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that hoarding is a complex disorder that may require professional help to overcome. However, family support can be a crucial element in the success of the hoarder’s recovery journey.

Here are some ways you can support your loved one who hoards:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about hoarding disorder, its causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options. This knowledge will help you to understand what your loved one is going through and how you can best support them.

  2. Communicate with empathy: Hoarders often feel ashamed, embarrassed, and defensive about their behavior. Therefore, it’s important to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Avoid using accusatory language or making judgments, and instead focus on expressing your concern and willingness to help.

  3. Encourage treatment: Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Offer to help them find a therapist or support group, and be supportive throughout their treatment journey.

  4. Offer practical help: Hoarding can make even simple tasks like cleaning or organizing overwhelming for the individual struggling with it. Offer practical assistance, such as helping them sort through their belongings, cleaning their home, or driving them to therapy appointments.

  5. Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries and not enable hoarding behavior. While it’s important to offer support and assistance, it’s equally important to avoid enabling the behavior by allowing your loved one to continue hoarding or refusing to seek treatment.


Remember, recovery from hoarding is a process, and it may take time for your loved one to make progress. The role of family in hoarding recovery is to offer support, encouragement, and practical help while setting healthy boundaries. With your support, your loved one can overcome hoarding disorder and lead a fulfilling life.