As I noted in another posting, there is not much you can do to "fix" people with hoarding disorder. They will fight you all the way, and it will get ugly and you will get frustrated.
4. Look at things in a new light. As I noted in another posting, you set down a cardboard box in the front hall when a package arrives, and you say, "I'll get to that later". Six months later, you are horrified that the box has been sitting there all this time, with your friends and neighbors now even used to its presence.
Speaking of closet makeovers - when you expand your closet by adding more shelves and closet bars and whatnot, what do you think happens? Yea, you end up with even more clothes.
Ditto for the formal dining room and living room. Stuff gets set down there "temporarily" and ends up moving in full-time.
Digital pictures help somewhat, in that they don't take up any physical space (but boy, they can eat up a hard drive in no time!). The desire to save the past is, I think, symptomatic of hoarding. One way to avoid the hoarding problem is to let go of the past and move on, and realize you will leave this world with nothing, so you might as well start now getting rid of things.
7. A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place: This was my Dad's favorite expressions, and to some extent, it is true. Find a specific spot for certain things, and then you always know where to put those things. For example, I have an old liquor box my Grandfather gave me, which is in the living room. I put anything camera-related into it. So whenever I need to find something related to a camera, well, I know where to look. And when I see a camera part laying around, I know where to put it.
The hoarder puts things all over the place, and has no assigned space for certain things (or doesn't have the ability to properly classify objects, perhaps). So the camera cord is in one place, the battery in another, the tripod in a yet another, and God only knows where the camera itself might be.
Find one place for things of a certain type. Dividing things up can cause problems, as you can never find things, and things tend to migrate over time. For example, if you have three drawers in three separate rooms for your table cloths, how easy is it to find a table cloth? Damned near impossible. Ditto for when you have multiple closets, dressers, tool boxes, etc.
8. Tidying Up: Quentin Crisp once opined that after a few years, the dirt in your house doesn't get any worse. After living in his own filth for a few years, he finally admitted he was wrong.
And running the vacuum around and dusting is probably the least favorite of activities for me - although I have an affinity for paste wax and old wood, which I find oddly relaxing (probably chemicals in the wax).
Nevertheless, periodic cleaning of this kind is not only essential, it forces you to address clutter at the same time, as the vacuum cleaner inevitably bangs up against that cardboard box you've been forgetting about for six months, now.
Of course, it is all too easy to get overworked about clutter. The irony of hoarding disorder is that it is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which in effect, is the opposite end of the spectrum from hoarding.
And like hoarders, I've known a few OCD people and they are just as crazy - and can't be "fixed" either. For example, one friend had an immaculate house with everything super-organized and super-clean. He spent every hour of every day organizing and polishing his show-place house, combing the fringes on the oriental rugs and arranging and re-arranging things over and over again. And while he liked to entertain, having people over actually touching and using his things caused him a lot of anxiety. Like with the hoarder, he just couldn't let go of "things."
Another friend had an immaculate apartment with an impressive collection of science fiction paperbacks - all in original condition. An entire wall was covered with colorful paperbacks, all in custom-built walnut bookcases. Asimov, Heinlein, Clark, Farmer, Simak - you name it, it was all there. I pulled one volume from the shelf, "Wow, H. Beam Piper!" I said.
He got nervous. "Please put that back. I don't like it when people touch my books" he said, nearly ready to faint. It turns out, he collected the books but had not read any of them nor was he particularly interested in science fiction. He never even looked at the books. He just had this weird obsession with collecting them and putting them on a shelf and just having them. It was a form of mental illness. And again, like my other OCD friend, his apartment was meticulously clean, but having guests made him very, very anxious.
There is a happy medium, of course, and I think both forms of behavior are outliers of what is otherwise normal behavior. It is a normal behavior that gets bent and amplified for some reason, and makes the person ultimately unhappy.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is dead cats in the freezer (total hoarder) and 10 is combing the fringes on your rugs with a toothbrush (total OCD) I think we are a good solid 5 - which is where you want to be. Not living in squalor, but not building a museum to ourselves, either.
Most of the things I have described here apply to nearly everyone. Everyone has a closet, and attic, a "junk drawer" or a work room full of crap or overflowing with "stuff" that needs to go away. This is a normal condition of life, so don't panic or run yourself down. But don't ignore it, either.
And it goes without saying that as you get older, you tend to like having "stuff" less and less. It costs you money to buy, and it just clutters up your life (and can be stifling, to some extent).
I think this is why a lot of older folks like to go "full time RVing" or downsize to an apartment. It just gives them a chance to unload a lot of junk and make their lives seem less overwhelming.
I am looking forward to having one car, one bedroom, and one closet. A few things, but a few well-cared for things, and more time on my hand to do things rather than own things.
Because whether you are a hoarder or have OCD, the net result is the same: you end up a slave to possessions. And if you think about that, it is backward. Possessions should exist to serve you and not vice-versa. Sadly, today, most people work, live and breathe to have "things" and don't understand that the things in their lives are ruling them.