Hoarders are atypical people who must also be treated psychologically to rid them of their hoarding disorder. Unlike other junk removal work, a mental health professional works with the hoarding cleaning service to ensure lasting results. Aside from the hoarding cleanup of the hoarder’s home, the hoarder needs to be treated with kindness, respect, and compassion. The hoarder will also be taught how to clean and organize their home as a part of their recovery process.
What are the Signs of a Hoarding Disorder or Hoarding Behavior?
Hoarding behavior comes in stages. Though it is typical for us to leave clutter, there are levels that you may consider as alarming. Hoarding behavior may have started from a traumatic event, such as having to go through stages in their lives lacking resources. If you have a family member that exhibits these behaviors, it is time to address hoarding disorder accordingly:
Stage 1: In its initial stages, you may consider their homes heavily cluttered. Old magazines were strewn in the living room, as well as a crowded wardrobe, which are typical signs. All rooms are usable, and passageways are passable. You may still consider their home clean and safe.
Stage 2: In this case, possessions are scattered all over the house. One or two rooms might be unusable or difficult to navigate. One exit might not be passable. Signs of odors are present, as well as animal waste.
Stage 3: This is the first alarming stage. Typically, clutter can be seen from outside the home. Only one bedroom and bathroom are usable, with limited living space elsewhere. Mold growth, spoiled food, and dust are expected. A strong odor is evident throughout the house.
Stage 4: Dead animals, fleas, and other pests are present throughout the house, and empty boxes and biohazardous materials. The house may have a sewage backup and can be considered unsafe for habitation.
Stage 5: In severe cases of hoarding, the home has a serious case of rodent infestation. Any room in the house is unusable, especially the kitchen and the bathroom. Excrement and other body fluids are evident throughout the home. Though their own home may still have utility services, most house areas are entirely inaccessible.
How to Approach a Hoarding Problem?
Hoarding behavior is an urgent psychological matter. Moreover, a hoarder’s home is entirely unsafe for everyone who stays there. However, it is crucial to approach the delicate situation of the resident with sensitivity. The hoarders must see a mental health professional address the root cause of their hoarding behavior. Simply throwing away stuff might trigger their underlying issues and might make things worse. Hoarding cleanup is not an option upon initial contact. Hoarding help is a long process.
How to Start a Hoarding Cleanup?
Once the underlying causes are addressed, the priority is to make the hoarder’s home safer. With the help of a professional organizer, start cleaning by ridding the hoarder’s home of hazardous materials such as rotten food, animal (and human) wastes, and other biohazards. Ensure that the hoarding cleanup professionals wear personal protective equipment such as hard hats. The cleanup itself should be approached carefully. The matter is far from being fast junk removal. Note that not everything in the house should be thrown away because some other valuable items hold sentimental value or are necessary. Because the cleanup process is thorough, the entire process may take several weeks to complete, even with outside cleaning help. Even when dealing with trash, you must factor in the emotional distress, anxiety, and stress involved. That is why a professional hoarding cleanup service is essential to help you through the entire process.
The Hoarding Cleanup Process
With all the factors considered, you, along with a professional organizer or hoarding cleanup service, will take a step-by-step approach to complete the hoarding cleanup process:
- Assess the situation of the hoarder and the hoarder’s house and formulate a strategy for cleanup.
- Plan the staging and sorting areas. Note that the spaces are limited, and you don’t want to lose genuinely sentimental objects during the process
- Start from the top to the bottom. This approach applies to every room and the entire property. Start with the bathrooms and the rooms farthest from the exit. For each room, deal with possessions stacked on tables, beds, and other furniture before cleaning the floors.
- Remove the trash and dangerous substances first. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to make the home safer rather.
- Always be on the lookout for valuable papers and pockets for precious possessions. Hoarders often lose track of where they store possessions. In most cases, essential papers such as birth certificates and property documents are strewn about inside their homes. Check each piece of paper and check pockets before throwing them away.
- Move heavy furniture and large appliances from the property if possible. Note that some of these are in good condition and will be like new once cleaned.
- Use the staging area to sort out items that may hold value. Not all items are for immediate disposal. With the trash out of the way, reviewing and deciding on each piece can help you decide which can you can donate, recycle, utilize, or dispose of.
- Carry out repairs. Start with utilities first. Larger items such as furniture, carpets, and drywall may be damaged because of pest infestation. However, if it is salvageable, repair them. Coordinate with plumbers and electricians to ensure the plumbing and electrical connections are in good shape.
- Deep clean each room as well as the yard.
Takeaways: Hoarding Cleanup is a Job That Requires Dedication
Hoarding cleanup is very far from simple declutter work. Cleanup work is about the person who owns the property as much as the property itself. That is why you can only rely on a professional company for this task. The impact of your hoarding cleanup goes beyond the cost of the money you invest in them. The end goal is to cure the hoarding disorder, which will have a lasting impact long after the cleanup task itself. To know more about our hoarding cleanup services, call (480) 735-9266, or contact us by filling out the form on this page. If you have questions about how much does junk removal service cost, among other items, our phones are ready to receive your call 24/7.