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Reaching out about loved one who may need help with excessive clutter or hoarding tendencies?

Updated: Dec 2, 2023


What happens if it's not YOU that needs help?

When you set up an appointment with Progress LLC & we discuss your current situation, one of the questions we always ask is how we can help you today? What happens if you identify that it's not really YOU that needs the help? If you're calling because you feel that a loved one, someone you live with, or someone that you are close to, has excessive clutter or hoarding tenancies, as a Professional Organizer, I will definitely have these follow-up questions.

Does the person you're calling about know you're calling us for help with their excessive clutter or hoarding tendencies?

No matter how good your intentions are, if you are calling for someone else, and they don't know you're calling, we will have to pause the conversation. You should not surprise your loved one with a phone call or a consultation with a Chronic Disorganization Specialist®/ADHD Specialist. If you haven't spoken to them directly about your concerns, that would be the next, very important step. Once that conversation has happened, if they are open to speaking more about their situation with me, we can resume the conversation at a later date about what their goals are, what I can offer as a Professional Organizer, and the next steps in the process.

Does your loved one WANT help with their excessive clutter or hoarding tendencies?

Even if you feel they need it, if your loved one is not ready for help & change, or doesn't see the problem with their current situation, there isn't much more I can do for either of you at this point in time. I cannot organize & clear clutter their space(s) while they're not at home, without them knowing, without their consent, etc. Nor could I do any steps of the process without their active participation. There are a range of very real emotions attached to excessive clutter & hoarding tendencies. Trying to force someone to take the help that doesn't want it can make it very difficult to build trust & and cut off any ability for me to build rapport with your loved one. It may also cause tension in your relationship.

If your loved one DOESN'T want help at this time-

All you can do is express your concerns for their happiness, safety & well-being. You are just planting a seed & letting them know there are options and a team of providers that can help them, when they are ready.

In the meantime, a few books/audiobooks that you could read to further educate yourself about excessive clutter & hoarding tendencies are:

1-Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding

2-Digging Out

3-Buried In Treasures


5-Don't Toss My Memories In The Trash

6-What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You: Uncover the Message in the Mess and Reclaim Your Life

7-When Perfect Isn't Good Enough

8-The Anxious Perfectionist

9-More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD

10-The ADHD Effect on Marriage

11-Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

12-Smart But Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD

13-Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts

14-It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

15-Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

20-Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning... by Gail Steketee (

21-Understanding Hoarding (Overcoming Common Problems) Understanding Hoarding (Overcoming Common... by Cooke, Jo (

22-A Practical Guide to Hoarding for Friends and Family A Practical Guide to Hoarding for... by Spetalnik CPO®, Maria B (

23-Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking: Dr. Caroline Leaf: 9780801093456: Books

24-Free Printable Workbook-Parents Who Hoard: Things to Consider Before Choosing To Help (Or Not) (Free Workbook - Lightening the Load Counseling PLLC (

A recently published podcast that I thought was really awesome:

Tiffany is a Chronic Disorganization Specialist®, ADHD Specialist, Hoarding Specialist & Time Management and Productivity Specialist from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, AAIFM Certified Budgeting Specialist & the Institute for Challenging Disorganization® Subscriber

If you would like more information, please see the attached link for resources:

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