Join us for a 3-part series exploring stories, intervention and hope.

From Challenge to Hope: a Web Series on Hoarding Disorder

Presented by JFCS in partnership with the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force

COST: $35 per webinar or $75 for all 3

Gail Steketee, PhD

Friday, September 11, 2020 9:30am–12pm

Dean of Boston University’s School of Social Work and author of Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Hoarding. Dr. Steketee currently researches assessment and treatment of hoarding disorder in adults at Smith College and Hartford Hospital. She is an elected fellow and Vice President of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW).


Thursday, November 12, 2020 9:30am–12pm

Licensed psychologist and board certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology. He is the co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Diplomat and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and a trainer and consultant for the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior. He received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in innovation, treatment, and research in the field of hoarding and cluttering by the Mental Health Association of San Francisco.

Judy Batalion, PHD

Thursday, February 4, 2021 9:30–11am

Author and comedian, her first book, White Walls: A Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess in Between, optioned by Warner Brothers for whom Judy is currently developing the TV show “Cluttered.” Her essays about mental health have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, Salon, the Forward and many other publications.

COST: $35 per webinar or $75 for all 3

Hoarding Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During this challenging time, we want to highlight virtual hoarding interventions that are accessible by phone or internet.

Buried In Treasures

  • A 16-week support group for people with hoarding behaviors.
  • The group meets weekly via Zoom .
  • $125 for 16 week group, sliding scale available
  • Book will be purchased by JFCS and mailed to you upon registration.
  • Currently Full. Next group/s will begin January 2021. Please check back for updates on specific dates.
  • Register by calling 866-JFCS-NOW (532-7669).
  • Visit the JFCS Buried in Treasures Support Group website for more information

Mindfulness Group

  • Beginning Thursday, September 10, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Free. Donations always appreciated.
  • The group will meet for one hour via Zoom every Thursday at 3pm for 8 weeks (9/10/20 - 10/29/20)
  • Register by calling 866-JFCS-NOW (532-7669).

Art Therapy

  • Beginning September 18, 2020, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • $10 suggested donation, payment not required.
  • The group will meet via Zoom every Friday for 8 weeks (9/18/20 - 11/13/20)
  • Register by calling 866-JFCS-NOW (532-7669).

Clutterers Anonymous

  • Phone and online meetings.
  • Visit the Clutterers Anonymous website for more information on participation and registration.

There is hope for hoarding.

Hoarding is a mental health condition that affects approximately 2-5% of the population. That means there are between 30,000 to 75,000 Philadelphians who have hoarding behaviors.


People with hoarding behaviors have a strong attachment to possessions. Over time, this attachment can lead to an accumulation of stuff that prevents the use of space as it was intended.

For example, hoarding may result in beds that can’t be slept in, kitchens that cannot be cooked in or cars that cannot be driven. Without support, hoarding may lead to health and safety risks for individuals, families, first responders and neighbors.


Like any other mental health condition, simply telling a person they need to change their behaviors doesn’t help. But providing resources and support does. It’s important to connect with the people involved, and not just focus on the stuff.

While there is no single cause to hoarding disorder and no one-size-fits all approach for those who are ready to change, this website is designed to guide you no matter who you are or what your role may be.


There are many pathways to a healthy and safe home.

Step 1: Get Educated

There are many pathways to a healthy and safe home, but they all begin with education. It's important to take some time and learn about hoarding disorder to understand how it operates and explore intervention options.

For Everyone

For a Person with Hoarding Behaviors

For a Family Member or Friend

For a Social Service Professional

For a Landlord, Inspector, or Legal Professional

For a complete list, review our Educational Materials .


Step 2: Team up for Change

As you begin to understand hoarding, the next step towards a healthy and safe home is to build a team of people with specific roles.

  • The person who is hoarding sets goals and develops skills to sort, categorize, organize and discard.

  • Friends, family and peers support the person’s recovery. Look. Don’t touch. Really listen. Don’t judge. Express hope.

  • A professional organizer, case manager or social service professional creates a plan and helps as a coach. See accessing case management or professional organizing.

  • A counselor or therapist addresses mental health issues like grief and trauma. See accessing mental health services.

  • An attorney or legal aid associate helps respond to outside pressure. See accessing legal services.

  • A landlord or code enforcement inspector collaborates with the team to clarify compliance and set priorities. Review best practices for inspections and enforcement.

Step 3: Assess the Home

As you learn about hoarding and build a team, the next step is to use available assessment tools to build a common language and get everyone on the same page about priorities.

To assess the volume of stuff:

To assess the risks in the home:

To assess activities of daily living:

For a complete list, review our Assessment Tools.


Step 4: Take Action

Once you've found your team and assessed the space, it's time to begin sorting, organizing and discarding. People with hoarding behaviors have difficulty letting go, so it's important for support people to be patient and compassionate, celebrating small victories, particularly early on.

  • Identify the highest risk areas and start there. This may be near the kitchen stove, by a heater or in the bathroom.
  • Aim to reach the initial benchmarks in this high risk area.
  • Make rules for how many of each item can stay in this area.
  • Work in 15-20 minute sessions and take breaks.
  • Make rules for new things coming into the home.
  • Donate items instead discarding.
  • Consider seeking case management, professional organizing or mental health counseling.
  • Consider whether a cleanout is needed. Completely cleaning out a home often makes hoarding worse. If you need to focus on safety quickly, consider targeted cleaning services that will go at your pace.

For landlords and property managers, there are some additional resources that may be helpful.

Step 5: Get Ongoing Support

As people with hoarding disorder reduce the harm in their home, they may need additional support maintaining their success.