Cleaning a hoarder’s home has a higher level of difficulty because you are dealing with all sorts of items, and the person who has an emotional attachment to those things. If you are not up to the challenge, your best option is to hire a professional company to do the task. Look for a cleaning service that specializes in removing hoards.
If you want to help a family member or a friend who has hoarding issues, here are some tips on starting the cleanup while helping the person cope with the problem.
Steps for cleaning a hoarder’s home
Most hoarders display an emotional attachment to every item that they have in their possession. You should be emotionally prepared and ready with a plan to have better control of the situation.
1. Evaluate the home and devise a cleaning or decluttering plan
Most people who hoard do not have the ability to differentiate between worthless and valuable items. Talk with them to find out why they hoard certain items and to provide emotional support. Recognize that you will need professional help when tackling hoarding cleanup, to lift heavy items and finish the job faster. Plan where to start first, determine what tools and cleaning supplies you need, and how the cleaning project will take.
2. Provide personal protection
You will not immediately know what kind of safety and health risks you may encounter among the piles of junk. Thus, it is important to be safe by wearing eye protection, a dust mask, disposable gloves, a hardhat, and sturdy shoes. Moreover, have a first aid kit, a flashlight, bug spray, and fire extinguisher within easy reach as you work. Make sure that you contact the proper authorities when you encounter hazardous materials for their efficient disposal.
3. Have more than enough cleaning supplies
Be ready with enough cleaning supplies because it is a major cleanup project. With the cleaning supplies at the ready, you can concentrate on what you need to do. Continuing what you are doing after getting additional cleaning supplies is sometimes difficult. You might have to hire a dumpster to hold the discarded junk. Get in touch with the sanitation department in your area or a professional removal company that rents out dumpsters in different sizes.
4. Be systematic in the cleanup
Cleaning up a hoarder’s home should be systematic. Begin in one room and go through the process of sorting and discarding. Move to the next room only after you have cleaned and sanitized the first room.
5. Clean out each room from top to bottom
Remove the large items that crowd a room, including the furniture. It is easier to move around and clean the rest of the room when there are only a few things to hamper your movement. Go through all the clothing pockets, purses, closets, and drawers to ensure that no valuables are accidentally thrown out. Sort the items and separate those that the owner can recycle and donate. Discuss with the hoarder your plans regarding the items, emphasizing that they can help other people by donating or recycling the useful and undamaged items.
A hoarder has to realize the advantages of maintaining a clean home and having only the things that they essentially need to have a good lifestyle. It takes patience and understanding to make the hoarder change their habits.