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Alicia Ashman Library

Courage Counseling

Margo Nelson

Hoarding Disorder is a greatly misunderstood condition. Many people wonder why the person with Hoarding Disorder can’t just throw stuff out. It is complicated. The objects, even seemingly unimportant objects that have lost their function may be cherished by their owner. The hoarding behaviors serve a purpose for the person with Hoarding Disorder.

Like most mental health conditions, Hoarding Disorder usually gets worse over time if left untreated. I recommend addressing Hoarding Disorder as soon as possible. I believe that people are never too old for positive change and it is never too late to start working to be better.

I can help family and friends of people with Hoarding dDisorder gain insight into the problem (and it’s not what you think.) One of the greatest assets can be supportive, non-judging, loving friends and family. Some times friends and family have so many feelings and so much history with the hoarding that they are unable to work with the person with hoarding disorder without shaming them and a professional may assist to create more positive outcomes.

While there are common themes and behaviors and thoughts with hoarding disorder, each client is unique and different.

One may have had a significant loss such as a death, change in mental or physical functioning, job loss, or divorce exacerbate their symptoms. Another person might have had scarcity trigger their onset.

Sometimes people with Hoarding Disorder also experience Depression, Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, OCD, or other conditions.

I work with individuals with Hoarding Disorder, and people who are impacted by the hoarding behaviors of a loved one.

Unfortunately I cannot work with people who do not want to work with me. I can only take clients who are interested in working towards positive change.

In the beginning I work with all clients in my office and we work to create therapeutic goals. In office we will talk about the history of the development of excess objects. We will work on what from the past created keeping stuff as a coping mechanism, and how that coping mechanism is impacting life now.

If a client would like and is ready, I will go to their homes to help sort, declutter, and organize.


I also work with people who are living with a person/people who have hoarding behaviors and I can help that person establish both physical and emotional boundaries.

How to help a loved one:

You do not have to understand their behavior to practice kindness and compassion.

Let your loved one know that there are resources available and they are not alone.

Educate yourself:

Why are we so attached to our things? - Christian Jarrett

“Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things,” by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo

Angela Brown on Grief Hoarding:


Hoarding/Cluttering Support Group

Courage Counseling

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