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Maintaining a Clutter-Free Life: Avoiding Hoarding Relapses

Overcoming hoarding tendencies is an incredible accomplishment. Once you've successfully cleaned and organized your house, it's essential to implement strategies to prevent slipping back into old habits. Hoarding recovery requires a maintenance program, much like maintaining weight loss.


In this blog post, we will explore practical tips and techniques to ensure you don't resort to over collecting or hoarding again.


Recognizing Warning Signs:

To stay vigilant against relapses, it's crucial to be aware of warning signs. Ask yourself important questions: Can you still easily find useful items or those things that bring you joy? Are you finding yourself repurchasing items because you've lost track of their whereabouts? Answering "yes" to these questions is an indicator that you may be slipping up or relapsing. In such cases, seeking support from the professionals who initially helped you clean your space is vital.


Accountability and Seeking Help:

Having someone to hold you accountable is a key component of maintaining a clutter-free lifestyle. Instead of being hard on yourself, understand that some setbacks are normal. Hoarding tendencies are deeply ingrained, and occasional slips can occur.


Avoid embarrassment and secrecy by openly asking for help once again. Reach out to the professionals or support network that provided assistance during your initial cleanup process.


Sensitive Approach for Loved Ones:

If you notice a loved one exhibiting signs of hoarding relapse, it's crucial to approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy. Understand that hoarding is a complex issue and requires a compassionate approach. Encourage open communication and offer support without judgment.


Creating an Organized Environment:

To prevent hoarding tendencies from resurfacing, it's essential to establish an organized environment. Everything should have a designated home, and if you find that you have more items than can comfortably fit, it's time to let go of some possessions. Simplify your surroundings by decluttering regularly and maintaining a manageable inventory of belongings.


Self-Reflection and Journaling:

People tend to hoard specific items that provide them with a sense of satisfaction or comfort. Engaging in self-reflection and journaling can be powerful tools for self-regulation. For instance, if you recognize a tendency to collect towels excessively, document your thoughts and emotions surrounding this behavior. By gaining insight into your motivations and triggers, you can better manage the impulse to hoard and maintain control over your possessions.




Maintaining a clutter-free life after overcoming hoarding tendencies requires ongoing effort and commitment. Remember that setbacks are part of the journey, and it's crucial to be kind to yourself during the process.


Seek help and support when needed, whether from professionals or a trusted support network. By recognizing warning signs, establishing accountability, and maintaining an organized environment, you can successfully avoid hoarding relapses and enjoy a clutter-free and balanced life.


If you are or know someone who is struggling with hoarding, we can help. Find out more about Estate Concierge & Downsizing and how we have helped hundreds of families with their downsizing, organization and moving needs. CLICK HERE to learn more about us.


Caroline Maurice

Co-Founder

Estate Concierge & Downsizing

Burlington, ON

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