Posted: 13 February 2018
Hoarding clean up may be necessary if your home or a loved one’s home is cluttered to the point where there is little space to get things done.
Many people use the term hoarding as a joke. Hoarding can be a serious psychological disorder.
The process of hoarding clean up can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Keep reading for tips to effectively address any hoarding situation.
What Is Hoarding?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding disorder occurs when people have a hard time parting with items. The clutter builds up to the point where the living space is limited.
It’s estimated that up to 6% of the population has a hoarding disorder and, the condition is more likely to be seen in older adults.
Hoarders can become embarrassed by their situation, which leads to social isolation. That turns into strained relationships with friends and family.
Researchers aren’t sure as to what causes hoarding, though it can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy or medication.
Forms of Hoarding
Hoarding can take on many different forms. These are the most common types of hoarding that will help you identify the situation.
Animal hoarders do love their pets and think that they’re great caretakers of animals. They take in more animals, which requires more care. The hoarder then can’t tend to the animals properly.
That creates a situation where living conditions deteriorate to the point where the home is a health hazard.
It’s very common for people to keep a stocked pantry of canned goods in case of a storm or the power goes out.
Food hoarders take this to another level. In these cases, pantries and storage spaces are crammed with food. Most of the food is past the due date. Food hoarders don’t want to let anything go to waste, and can’t throw anything out.
This type of hoarding goes beyond just picking things up at the store. A shopping hoarder impulsively buys stuff.
They never use the items, and never return them. In the meantime, they keep bringing new items into the house.
That creates a situation where there’s stuff everywhere.
This type of hoarder will not throw things away because they can be repurposed for other projects. They may also collect materials with the intent to reuse or repurpose.
While the intentions are good, the items pile up. The hoarder keeps everything and doesn’t throw out the items. These items just go unused.
Sentimental hoarders do not want to let go of memories. This type of hoarding is associated with a significant loss or a painful event.
Sentimental hoarders associate memories with possessions. When a memory becomes associated with a thing, that thing cannot be discarded.
Hoarders who hold on to sentimental items fear that they will lose something if those items are thrown away. That causes the home to become a cluttered mess.
Any of these forms of hoarding can create dangerous situations within the home. Mold and bacteria can build up around the hoarder’s belongings, creating a health hazard.
The build-up of possessions can create a fire risk, not only for the person within the home but for firefighters as well. They can trip on clutter and put themselves at risk.
Hoarding Clean up Tips
If you’re planning on taking on the task of hoarding clean up yourself, how do you go about it?
Start by having a plan of attack. Hoarding is a sensitive and at times hazardous issue and you need to address the hoarder and create a living space that’s safe to live in again.
Have Compassion for the Hoarder
It’s very easy to judge the situation and wonder how anyone could live like that. Hoarding is a diagnosable disorder.
Remember that the hoarder lives in fear of losing memories or lives with some kind of internal pain. It’s not easy to live in constant fear.
Approach the hoarder with love and compassion and from a place of wanting to help them overcome their issue. If you do that, it will be easier for you to gain the hoarder’s trust, which is the first step toward helping them handle the issue.
Assess the Situation
Once you get the trust of the hoarder, and they agree to let you help them handle the situation, then you have to assess the situation.
Go through the home and make a list of all of the work that needs to be done, room by room. Figure out what you’ll need to get the job done.
Hoarding can be a very serious and delicate issue to navigate. If you feel like you need help dealing with the situation, there are services like Address Our Mess that specialize in helping hoarders.
Wear a Mask and Gloves
You’re about to tackle a situation that’s most likely a health hazard. You’re going to need to protect yourself.
At the very least, wear a mask and gloves. It’s also a good idea to have on work boots as well.
During the hoarding clean up, you may come across rodents or pests. It’s a good idea to have a spray handy to deal with the pests.
Hoarding clean up is a room by room process. Start with the smallest rooms and leave the kitchen and bathrooms for last.
You’ll need to decide what gets donated, what gets thrown away, and what stays in the home. Set up areas for each category.
If the job is big enough, think about getting a dumpster at the property to save from multiple trips to the dump. You’ll want to invest in storage bins to organize items that stay in the home.
For items that can be donated, contact organizations that pick up donations.
Need Hoarding Clean Up Help?
As you’re cleaning up and refurnishing the home, you’ll find that there are many items you need to replace. Instead of stressing about the added costs, check out our giveaways. You could easily win items that need to be replaced.