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Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Many people who hoard understand the extent of their problem and are open to help. This book is not for them. Digging Out is for the concerned and frustrated friends and family members of people who do not fully accept the magnitude of their hoarding problem and refuse help from others. If you have a friend or loved one with a hoarding problem and are seeking a way to guid ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by New Harbinger Publications (first published April 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  141 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really, really useful for families of hoarders. My father is a hoarder and I found the information in this book to be very helpful in dealing with him. It's not like the TV shows that show just going in and throwing everything away; it deals with building trust and the long term. Those of us who have to deal with hoarders know that it can't be "fixed" in a day.

I passed it on to my sister since she is the one who lives closest to him and deals with the hoard on a daily basis. Hopefully she will f
Jan 05, 2011 added it
Fantastic manual for family members and friends of hoarders. I really think that the "Harm Reduction" method is really the best approach to take with a loved one who has a long-standing problem with saving and acquiring. ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
very focussed on severe hoarding and harm reduction. good tips on beginning and continuing the conversation, but stopped reading at the harm reduction plan
Lauren Williams
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., Tamara L. Hartl, Ph.D. and Gail Steketee, Ph.D. offers a methodical, scrupulous, comprehensive and clinically-developed program for a support team to attempt to help a person with hoarding disorder clear his or her environment to an extent which will make that environment safe. The authors' guiding principle is that it may not be possible to ever convince a person with hoarding diso ...more
Jean L.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For relatives and friends of hoarders

This book covers how to assess and clean up a hoarder’s home. It also suggests and covers “Harm Reduction Teams”. The idea of harm reduction is to meet the requirements for healthy living in the home that will stick with the hoarder. Lots of good information. As we’re walking through this situation now with relatives we are finding this book very useful.
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hoarding-studies
This book is an excellent resource for friends and loved ones of those who are struggling with hoarding. The Harm Reduction Approach is one of the primary tools to work with those who have Hoarding Disorder, and is especially good for families and friends to have an easy-to-read tool book for that approach, like this one.
Sarah Fox
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This caught my eye in library as I was looking for books on hoarding and stuff. I recently moved to less stuff and dealt with parting with stuff. I also moved into shared housing and questioned others.
Quek Liu Ting
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Practical steps for managing hoarding, written for hoarder's caregivers. Helpful for caregivers to have a better idea on the steps required to start managing hoarding. Written in US' context ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Helpful in understanding why someone accumulates, gives ideas of how to help, and re-help, gives hope even after failed attempted.
Kellie Clomiro
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great plan to help loved ones who hoard
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
Honestly this could have been condensed into 40 pages. The basic message is focus on harm reduction rather than expecting your family member to suddenly change from hoarding to minimalism.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
If you have a loved one who is a hoarder, and you are wanting to help them with this problem, you should read this book early on while you still have the energy and drive to do so. When the problem has been evident for years and years already though, you may no longer have the patience to go through the entire process with your loved one because it isn't quick. As such, I can't comment on the value of, or the success of the plan as outlined. But if you fall into the latter category (even if you ...more
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-read
Clear and helpful. This is one of the best books for helping someone deal with their hoarding tendencies, whether you are family, friend or service provider. It mainly talks about harm reduction and working with all the people involved. The main thing it does though is 'help the helper' understand the right approaches. It may help people develop better ways of dealing with their relationship dynamics and will certainly be an eye-opener to anyone who thinks they just need to clear the stuff to so ...more
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very good reference for people dealing with a loved one with serious safety and health issues due to true hoarding. It addresses the ever-constant presence of strained relations and properly applies a high level of importance to that relationship.

I haven't had a client with this level of trouble, nor am I trained as a therapist. However, if I am ever asked for casual advice along these lines, I would feel comfortable recommending the family member to read this.
Nov 05, 2013 rated it liked it
By the time you get to the practical suggestions for helping someone with a hoarding problem, the author has you feeling so discouraged and that the effort involved is going to be too great and require so many years to accomplish anything, that you feel like giving up without even trying. I would skip reading the first couple of chapters and go straight to the plan of action! One might be more apt to try it that way first.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. As a Professional Organiser, I found it a valuable tool not only for helping me deal with my clients, but helping those families that have a hoarder with very low insight and resists all help, despite the dangers they face. I'll be recommending it to anyone with a hoarder in the family. ...more
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
it's a fine book, i just lost interest a few chapters in b/c the hoarder is an aunt/uncle and i think the problem is theirs for now. when it falls to the cousins, i'll have some background and hopefully can be helpful. ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book really helped me understand what my grandfather (hoarder), my mother (compulsive acquiring, clutter) and myself (compulsive acquiring) have and are currently dealing with in our lives. I recommend it to anyone who is touched by hoarding.
Captain Caper
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Read this to gain insight into .... and possibly help a friend who hoards.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: organizing
Good reference, simply laid out.
Liz Voce
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great book to help loved ones cope and deal with hoarding in the family.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Written by a UCONN alumna. Provides helpful communication techniques and offers strategies for harm reduction. Gave me a new perspective to consider the situation.
Mary Winter
rated it liked it
Oct 06, 2014
rated it it was ok
Sep 09, 2017
Brandi Melvin
rated it liked it
Feb 08, 2016
Sarah Giacomo
rated it it was ok
Jan 22, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2015
Janine Stryjewski
rated it liked it
May 07, 2019
rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2012
rated it did not like it
Jan 25, 2013
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Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. is co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Diplomate and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is the author or co-author of numerous articles and chapters on cognitive-behavior therapy and related topics, as well as six books. He is a certified ...more

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