Decluttering our home can be overwhelming for any of us – especially after the festive season! But if you find you become stressed or upset at the thought of parting with old items - even if they’re broken, inexpensive, or you have no use for them - then you may need some help. 

When someone finds it emotionally difficult to part with belongings, and also compelled to buy more, this may point to Hoarding Disorder.

Our Tenancy Support Team runs the Tidy Homes, Tidy Minds service, which gives practical support to help with hoarding. Through the programme, we meet all sorts of people experiencing hoarding behaviours for lots of different reasons. This includes Mark*, who kindly agreed to let us share his story:

Mark had lived with his mother until her death, after which he struggled to manage the flat and was referred to Tidy Homes, Tidy Minds by his Housing Officer.

Mark hoarded musical instruments and other belongings. Access to the bedrooms was blocked so he slept on sofa cushions in the lounge. As well as this, his dog wasn’t house-trained and frequently urinated on the living room floor, rug and couch. The property was in very poor condition and, due to Mark refusing access, had not benefited from improvement works.

Mark agreed to work with the project and to consider moving to a smaller property in a new age friendly development. Before he could move, we set about downsizing his hoard. Although finding it difficult at first, guided by holistic support and advice, he started proactively donating lots of his instruments to local community groups and the Music and Arts College.

If it hadn’t been for that support, I probably would have abandoned the property with no plan of where to go next.

A few months later, Mark moved to the new development and hasn’t increased his collection of instruments any further. He also regularly attends the church to which he donated a large piano, which they have refurbished.


New: free support group

This Thursday 9th January is the launch of our brand new Tidy Homes Tidy Minds' Hoarding Peer Support Group.

Anyone struggling with hoarding is welcome to attend this free, friendly group to receive support, with friends and carers also welcome. It’s not just for Southway tenants.

If you feel like you relate to any of the story above, then come along to this group – it might be just the support you need to change your home and life for the better in 2020.


*Name changed