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How to Deal with a Hoarder Husband Without Hurting Your Relationship

Hoarding husband and his wife

Is your husband a little messy or is there a trail of junk every time you go from one room to the other? While cleanliness knows no gender, it helps to know that hoarding is a serious matter that must be handled with care.

If you’re still wondering which category your hubby falls into, here are some signs to look for before proceeding.

Hoarding Signs that Affect Your Household

There’s a big difference between looking at a large pile of papers or things related to a hobby and hoarding tendencies. A person with a separate room or part of the house dedicated to woodworking may have what some may consider an “organized mess”. This is not an oxymoron but this individual knows how to keep their items away from a home’s functionality.

If your husband has shown any of these signs, remember he’s a hoarder but not the enemy. We tend to associate sloppy habits with being careless or lazy but with hoarders, it’s usually mental. The first step in learning how to deal with a hoarder husband is to see the signs.

Top 7 Signs of Hoarding Behavior

  1. Refuses to keep shared spaces clutter-free
  2. Has a spending problem or has a need to own random items
  3. Stores items in a way that blocks home entryways
  4. Creates an unsafe space for guests and other household members
  5. Unable to organize or effectively clean spaces
  6. Refuses to acknowledge or discuss the problem
  7. Has pre-existing mental condition, such as depression

Living with a Hoarder Husband

Living with a Hoarder Husband

If your husband has any of the above traits, the first thing you should do is get educated about hoarding as a mental disorder. While there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, you can start with an open conversation. Learning how to deal with a hoarder husband begins with choosing your words carefully and respecting boundaries when discussing the matter.

If the problem has existed for some time, you should seek outside assistance. Before seeking a licensed professional, some books and resources offer insight into how to live with a hoarder. These include the following:

Seeing the Person and Not the Problem

Like all mental illnesses, it’s nearly impossible for the hoarder to see outside of themselves. It doesn’t occur to them their paper stacks block the doorway or their “collectibles” make walking around your home near-impossible. Even if whatever serves no substantial purpose, all they see is what they must have.

On the other hand, they love you so much that they don’t want to see you hurt. Even if it’s their property that caused an injury around the home. The same goes for finances, as some hoarding situations make it difficult for most couples to save enough money.

Getting the Help Your Husband Needs

The initial approach should be to discuss a realistic plan. If your husband resists, you should share some of the benefits that are likely to result. If the physical safety of those in your home isn’t a primary concern, cleaning has other upsides. These include:

  • Being able to save money by not shopping as often
  • Having a cleaner home
  • Enjoying better air quality
  • Giving away unneeded items for a worthy cause

Again, this is where honest but non judgemental conversation can work magic. The best way to put this into action is by taking small steps. However, it may require professionals with the expertise to show you how to declutter when your husband is a hoarder.

Why Using a Hoarding Professional is Best

Hoarding Professional help

While we may feel the more the merrier brings faster results, this isn’t always the case. Teams of family or friends may trigger negative feelings about you living with a hoarder husband. Few people are equipped to deal with this sensitive yet complex behavior.

If this behavior has been going on for a while, it’s best to keep things moving as much as possible. In other words, if attempts to do it as a couple haven’t progressed much, this isn’t the time to give up. Speaking to someone familiar with specific behavior patterns can assess what steps to take in the right direction.

Taking Care of Yourself

During this challenging time, your needs should be addressed as well. While every relationship has its moments, it’s important to recognize when burnout may be around the corner. This doesn’t mean you’re weak but a human who may need self-care at this stage of your marriage.

Get in touch with Clutter Trucker to address any questions or book a consultation today. We offer more than just cleaning and organizing services, as we address how this behavior impacts us emotionally and mentally. Clutter Trucker understands what it’s like to live with a hoarder and offers realistic solutions that position both of you in a better place.

Call us at 720-802-6340 in Denver or 719-372-5009 in Colorado Springs.

How to declutter when your husband is a hoarder?
The best method is to complete one room at a time and offer words of encouragement along the way. It also helps to stick to a schedule that has a realistic timeline. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and normally leads to them wanting to do more. It’s also important to note that some items may hold sentimental value or your husband may be uncertain. The best solution is to create a separate pile and revisit it later.
Can hoarding ruin a marriage?
When the matter isn’t addressed positively, it can result in a divorce or separation. Like other mental illnesses, a single event or past lifestyle, such as extreme poverty, can trigger certain behavior patterns. Understanding our partners comes from open and honest communication from both sides. Couples who have the facts should work on a plan to remedy the problem with the understanding that it takes time.
What should you not say to a hoarder?
Don’t criticize your husband for his behavior or argue with them for not cleaning up. When approaching the subject, always use a calm voice and be patient if they hesitate to give you an answer. Also, never undermine the value of the hoarded items, even if it’s true. Finally, you should be open about the steps you’d like to take and the two of you are in this together.