From Cluttered to Clean: Understanding Hoarding – Extreme Content in Seniors and How to Prevent It


Do you or a family member struggle with overwhelming volume of content in your home? If so, you’re not alone. Hoarding is a common issue, particularly among seniors. But the positive news is that there are steps you can take to prevent excess content and create a safer, more comfortable living space. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and strategies for avoiding hoarding and the benefits of doing so. So, let’s dive in!

What Is Hoarding or “Extreme Content” is what we prefer?

Hoarding is a pattern of behavior defined by an inability to abandon or part with belongings, regardless of their actual worth, due to a supposed need to save them, a dread of losing them, or a solid connection to them. 

Hoarders typically accumulate many items over time, including everyday domestic items like paper, apparel, and food, as well as more valuable or emotional belongings like souvenirs, antiques, or photos.

A person’s quality of life and the safety and well-being of those around them can be significantly impacted by hoarding behavior, varying in severity from mild to severe. Hoarding can lead to crowded, unsanitary living conditions, health risks, removal, or even legal action in extreme instances. 

Reasons of Hoarding

Seniors may be more prone to hoarding habits for a variety of causes. Here are some examples of the most common:

Possession accumulation

Because seniors generally live longer than younger people, they may have collected more possessions over time. Items with sentimental worth, such as family heirlooms, photographs, or other memories, may be among these belongings.  Often they worked their entire lives to gather the items they hold so dear.

Isolation and loneliness

Seniors living alone or with few social ties may resort to stockpiling to feel less lonely or separated. Their possessions may provide comfort or protection, and they may feel less alone with them.  If they have lost a spouse it can be hard to let those possessions go.  Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions has established long term relationships with local non-profit organizations to allow those items to go to someone in need.

Cognitive decline

Cognitive decline is a typical problem for many seniors, and it can impair their ability to make choices, process information, or recall things. As a result, they may need help sifting through their belongings and choosing what to keep and what to throw away.  Often they cannot find items because their short term memory has degraded.

Physical constraints

Seniors may have physical limitations that make keeping their houses tidy and orderly more challenging. They may, for example, have mobility problems or chronic pain that makes it difficult for them to move around or carry large items; this can lead to clutter buildup and make it more challenging to resolve hoarding habits.

Financial worries

Seniors who hoard things do so because they think they will need them in the future and fear running out of money to do so. Hence, this might be especially true for food, apparel, or other essentials.

Coping mechanism

Some older adults may use hoarding to cope with challenging life shifts or changes. Retirement, the death of a partner or other close relative, or a decrease in physical health are a few examples.  Again, it is difficult to simply remove items alone.  That is where our team can be an amazing partner in sorting, decluttering and donating.  


Dementia is a prevalent disease that affects many seniors and can impair their capacity for decision-making, remembering crucial details, or successfully communicating. As a result, they might find it more challenging to sift through their belongings and decide what to retain.

Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety affect people of all ages. As people may feel less compelled to tidy or arrange their houses or turn to belongings to deal with unpleasant feelings, these circumstances can contribute to hoarding behaviors.

Get Your Free Consultation for

No Obligations. Free Consultations.

How To Prevent Hoarding and Declutter?

Preventing hoarding and cleaning up can be a challenging process for seniors. However, there are some steps they can take to help avoid behaviors of hoarding and clean up their living space:

Make a Maintenance Plan

Doing this for their living area is one-way seniors can avoid hoarding. Keeping their site organized and clutter-free can involve daily or monthly cleaning rituals and frequent decluttering activities.

Set Limits:  Elders must establish limits for the possessions they can retain in their homes. They should weigh sentimental worth and necessity before keeping anything and get rid of anything that is no longer helpful or necessary.

Seek Assistance: The elderly with a hoarding habit may find it beneficial to seek assistance from a Senior Move Manager like us ( Seniors can develop healthy coping strategies with the aid of these professionals, who can offer direction and support throughout the cleaning process.

Practice Self-Care: Self-care is essential because hoarding may indicate deeper emotional problems like melancholy or worry. One should prioritize self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or counseling to handle these feelings and stop hoarding behaviors.

Use Storage Solutions: Often our clients do not have effective ways to store what they need.  Seniors use storage solutions like shelves, baskets, or receptacles. Remember to use all the vertical storage possible.  Additionally, keeping their things orderly and available can help keep debris from piling up on the floor or surfaces.

Recycle or Donate Items: Seniors should responsibly discard any things they no longer need, such as giving them to a good cause. In addition to helping the ecosystem, this can help keep their living area from becoming cluttered.


So, let’s discuss the benefits of preventing hoarding as we prefer “extreme content”.

First, lowering the likelihood of mishaps brought on by clutter can make your living area safer. Additionally, clean space can make it simpler for you to walk around and get to the items you need.

Your health can benefit from decluttering and not engaging in stockpiling habits. If you have a hoarding problem, you might feel nervous or overburdened. Moreover, maintaining a clean and orderly house can lower stress levels and instill a sense of serenity.

Another great benefit of preventing hoarding is making age in one place more accessible. Maintaining a safe and clutter-free living environment allows you to remain independent and stay home longer. 

And last but not least, preventing hoarding can also benefit the wider community! Donating unwanted items to charity or recycling them can help reduce waste and positively impact the environment.

I hope you found these tips and strategies for preventing hoarding helpful! Remember, creating a clutter-free living space can have a favorable impact on your physical and mental health, as well as your ability to age in place. 

If you or a family member need help with downsizing, decluttering, or moving, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions. Our senior move management services can make the process easy and stress-free.

Like what you read? Share it.


Contact A Move Management Specialist Today

Contact Form

Recent Posts

Giving the gift of home

Speak To Your Move Management Specialist Today!

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.