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Hoarding Disorder - 10 tips for a Successful Hoarding Cleaning

Hoarding Disorder - 10 tips for a Successful Hoarding Cleaning

Hoarding is a serious condition that can lead to significant stress and impairment in daily life. However, it is treatable with therapy and medication. If you or someone you know is struggling with HD, professionals in hoarding cleaning can intervene and tackle the root of the problem.

Hoarding Disorder (also known as HD) is a mental illness in which individuals have trouble letting go of or parting with items because they believe they are necessary to save them. Hoarding leads to the accumulation of clutter and junk that disrupts the ability to use living spaces. While hoarding has been around for centuries, it wasn't until 2013 that HD was recognized as its own medical condition.

Common Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

Symptoms of HD can vary from person to person but often include excessive saving of items, feelings of stress and anxiety associated with discarding items, cluttered living spaces, and significant distress or impairment in daily life due to hoarding. For example, someone with HD may feel overwhelmed by the accumulation of stuff in their property and feel like they can't get rid of anything.

HD may have consequences in the workplace, and it can create social engagement problems because they don't have a clean place to store their things, or they may feel embarrassed by their home's appearance. As hoarders can't accomplish simple, daily activities like cooking, bathing, or sleeping, this translates into feelings of frustration.

If you think you may have HD, a few signs to look out for include:

  • Persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions.
  • Extreme litter and junk disrupt the individual's ability to use living spaces.
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks like cooking, bathing, or sleeping.
  • Emotional distress or problems with relationships due to the hoarding problem.

If you or someone you know, perhaps a family member, is experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out for help. Many resources are available, starting with health professionals who can diagnose HD and provide the necessary treatment to help individuals regain their lives.

The difference between clutter and hoarding

Clutter is an annoying problem for many homeowners. It's usually common in some cases to find old magazines beside a table, or even shirts sized to fit in the closets. But it may be possible for you to tell whether clutter went too deep or became hoards.

Clean homes are good homes, and homeowners may be the target of pests and microorganisms. Hoarders' homes are typically messy and disorganized. Hoarders are unable to use areas of the house for their intended purpose.

Ten tips for a Successful Hoarding Cleaning

If you are looking to help someone who might be dealing with HD or whose house is no longer functional due to the piles of trash and garbage, there are a few things you want to know before proceeding.

A hoarding situation poses multiple biohazards and risks of accidents. People are typically exposed to mold growth, carbon monoxide, feces and urine, odors, rotten food, rodents, other pest infestations, and even dead animals. Because the individual cannot discard possessions, regardless of their worth, houses become quickly cluttered.

Also, a hoarder's home is a dangerous and suitable scenario for accidental fire and other hazards. Accumulation of junk, boxes, trash, and plastic materials are often misplaced in key functioning areas of the house.

For the same reasons described above, intervention from health professionals and professional cleaners is essential to guarantee that the individual will overcome HD. Moving forward with a hoarding cleaning without prior education about what it is, hoarding may have adverse effects on the individual, mainly because the root cause is not being tackled.

1. Make a plan

It's essential to have a plan before starting a hoarding cleanup, and this will help ensure that the procedure is safe and effective for the individual and everyone involved. Hoarding scenarios may be overwhelming, but with the right approach, and help from a hoarding cleaning specialist, you can create a plan that suits your or your loved ones' specific needs.

2. Set rules from the beginning

It's important to set rules for the whole team and stick to them. Rules could include:

  • Only keep items that are used: Hoarded properties are usually packed with junk and many items that don't necessarily serve a real purpose. Educating your loved ones about their relationship with their belongings is part of the treatment for HD.
  • Do not discard possessions without prior discussion. Work closely with the individual, assist them, and ensure they're comfortable with cleaning and decluttering activities.

3. Remove items carefully

When removing items from hoarding situations, it's important to be careful. Many of the items may be fragile or valuable. Remove items slowly and carefully to avoid damage. Some of these possessions may be valuable: Photographs, personal documents, and collectibles.

4. Sort the items

Once the items have been removed from the hoarded property, it's important to sort them into categories. This will make it easier to decide what to do with them, especially when there are valuable items are scrambled with trash and junk. Prepare separate boxes that include the following categories:

  • Trash/Junk/Garbage
  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Recycle

5. Clean up the rooms and create space for the sorted items

Cleaning up is one of the most extenuating parts of dealing with hoarding situations. A good tip for organizing things is clearing out a room or section of the house specifically for hoarding items.

Hoarding cleanup scenarios can be challenging. If you need help, a professional cleaning company like Bio-One of Chula Vista can help you. We realize that giving things away may be difficult, and we work with customers to address their unique demands by consulting with them throughout the restoration procedures.

6. Create storage space

In addition to creating space, you will also need to create storage space for the hoarded items. Quick solutions include purchasing storage containers or renting a storage unit.

7. Stick to a routine

Sticking to a routine can be helpful when dealing with hoarding. A routine can help everyone stay organized and focused on their goals.

8. Take breaks

It's important to take breaks when cleaning up a hoarding situation. This will help ensure that you don't get overwhelmed and discouraged. Breaks can be used to take a break from the cleanup or rest, recharge, and continue with the cleaning and decluttering process.

9. Don't give up

Hoarding can be a complex condition to overcome, but with the right approach, and the right people, it is possible. Don't give up if you find the cleanup process difficult. Many resources are available to help hoarders, their families, and anyone involved address these situations.

10. Consider getting help from a professional hoarding cleaning company

There is a stigma about hoarding that must be deconstructed and broken, and the same goes for mental health professionals. Help is available to those who want to regain and improve their quality of life. It doesn't matter how they got themselves in a hoarding situation; what matters is that they don't have to fight alone.

These ten tips will help you begin your hoarding cleaning journey. Will it be an easy task to accomplish? Probably not. But some people can help you! 

Hoarding cleaning - Before and after.
Hoarding cleaning - Before and after.

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