Clean-Out Resources

A clean-out is a fast-paced intervention in which a large amount of clutter is removed from the living spaces of a client’s home. A clean-out may last several days and is usually completed in a condensed time frame (e.g., under a month). The client may not be involved in every decision about which items are kept or discarded.

We do not recommend the use of clean-outs as a preferred or first-line approach in responding to hoarding. Clean-outs often have a devastating emotional impact and do not provide an opportunity for clients to learn skills to address their hoarding symptoms. At the same time, our research shows they may be necessary as an intervention of last-resort to prevent dire outcomes such as eviction, incidents of fire, relocation to a care home, or worsening physical and mental health.

We offer the following resources:  

A woman standing in a cluttered room, looking through the items with a thoughtful expression. Two clean-out helpers stand behind her with friendly expressions.
  1. A Research Report for those seeking information on clean-outs. This report summarizes findings from a study on clean-out interventions.
  2. Best Practice Toolkit for those who may need to conduct a clean-out. This toolkit outlines clean-out practices that prioritize a client’s individual needs and concerns.

These materials were developed with the support of the UBC Public Scholars Initiative and were conducted as part of Kate Kysow’s dissertation, under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Woody and Dr. Christiana Bratiotis.

Research Report

Clean-outs as a strategy for community agencies to address hoarding

Kate Kysow, Sheila Woody, and 
Christiana Bratiotis, 2024

This research report presents findings from a comprehensive interview-based survey of clean-out interventions. It is intended for community providers and family members who want to know more about what makes a clean-out necessary, how clean-outs are conducted, and what are the short-term outcomes.

Best Practice Toolkit

A Client-Centered Approach
 to Hoarding Clean-Outs

Kate Kysow, Sheila Woody, and 
Christiana Bratiotis, 2024

This toolkit draws upon our research to promote best practices for a clean-out intervention in situations where a more gradual and voluntary approach is not possible. It is intended for community providers and family members who want to learn about client-centered approaches for a clean-out and suggestions for how to navigate challenging clean-out situations.

To open and view .pdf files, you will need Adobe Acrobat reader which is available for free at

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