5 Levels of Hoarding
I receive many calls from concerned family, friends, and business associates of someone they suspect may have a hoarding problem. They are calling out of concern, but they seldom know what to do or how to describe the situation.
First, I try to understand if they are a hoarder or just a collector. In general, a collector is proud of their possessions. They display belongings prominently, they keep them organized, and they talk about them with a sense of satisfaction and knowledge. A hoarder will often have a sense of shame or embarrassment about their items. They generally are not kept organized, clean, or in good or working condition.
Once it is determined someone is a hoarder and not just a collector, I try and understand how bad the situation is. There are 5 levels to hoarding. Level 1 is the least extreme with level 5 being the most extreme.
Level 1 – The home is functional, all doors, windows, are accessible. HVAC, smoke detectors etc. are working properly. The home may show signs of mild pet behavior/waste issues and mild clutter.
Level 2 – There is at least one door or window blocked. One appliance blocked or not working. There are clear signs of pet waste or odor. Clutter is beginning to obstruct living areas. There is mild filth such as dishes stacking up in the sink.
Level 3 – Items normally kept indoors now being stored outside. The home may have signs of light structural damage. Clutter is interfering with key functions of living areas. At least one room is not being used for its intended function. One or more doors or windows are blocked. There are signs of light pest infestation, such as spiderwebs, roaches, bed bugs etc. There is limited evidence of upkeep and soiled carpets, overflowing trash cans, and musty odors are present.
Level 4 – There is excessive clutter. One or more appliances are not working or not being used as intended. There is damage to floors, walls, or windows. An obvious odor is present. There are excessive signs of pests, such as rat feces, roaches, spiderwebs, bedbugs. Rotting food, expired leaking cans or bottles are likely. There is limited use of rooms and beds may not be usable or blocked due to clutter.
Level 5 – There is extreme indoor or outdoor clutter. Appliances are not working. Plumbing or electrical may be unreliable. There are obvious sings of heavy pest infestation. Key living spaces are not usable. Hallways and doors are blocked. Toilets, sinks, and tubs are unusable. Human, pet, and pest feces, and urine are evident. There is no sign of upkeep. Rotting food and leaking cans are present. There may be standing water and possible mold and mildew. There is extreme odor.
Whether the situation is a level 1 or a level 5, Bio-One Chula Vista can help. We work closely with the homeowner and family to return the dwelling to a livable condition.
At Bio-One Chula Vista we are experts at helping to remediate hoarding. We are available to help 24/7. Give us a call to schedule a walk-through of the property and provide a free, written, no obligation estimate. Let us work with you and your family members to reclaim your home.
Bio-One One Chula Vista and Chula Vista Hoarding are owned by Jason Madsen. We offer trauma, mold and hoarding cleanup services including biohazard, blood cleanup, suicide/homicide, feces & bodily fluid, animal waste, undiscovered death, and mold testing & remediation.