Unlike cleaning up a cluttered or messy home, tidying up a hoarder house is a significantly different task altogether which can take up quite a lot of time and effort. Hoarder house clean up may also involve sorting through a large number of possessions and disposing of dangerous biohazard waste meaning landlords and families who find themselves in a position of having to clean up a loved one’s hoarder home can feel a bit overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.
For more information on hoarding and how to get started with hoarder house clean up, read on for some handy tips below.
Clutter Vs Hoarding – What’s The Difference?
Some people may think that the words “clutter” and “hoarding” are the same and interchangeable. This isn’t the case at all.
Clutter is a less severe form of hoarding and is a common complaint of most households. Clutter often consists of a general household mess where surfaces are covered with a few books, papers or possessions such as clothing or dishes that haven’t been put away.
Hoarding on the other hand is much more serious and involves an over-accumulation of possessions and items – to the point where living areas have become blocked and inaccessible. Rotten food, rodents, pest infestations, pet waste and other biohazards are often present in a hoarder home and there can often be a strong odour or mould present.
Reasons For Hoarding
Hoarding is a mental health disorder where people have persistent difficulty with discarding possessions because of their perceived value. Hoarding disorder can range from mild to severe and can seriously interfere with a person’s day to day living.
Hoarders for example might have difficulty with throwing away a pile of old newspapers because they believe they are valuable items worth keeping. Over time, hoarders continue to acquire various things for which there is no immediate need or space.
Signs & Symptoms Of Hoarding
Some common signs and symptoms of hoarding include:
• Excessively acquiring items that are not currently needed
• Inability to get rid of possessions
• Extreme stress at the thought of having to throw items out
• Finding it difficult to organise possessions
• Fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future
• Feeling suspicious of people touching their belongings
• Living in uninhabitable conditions due to being surrounded with excessive clutter
• Withdrawing from loved ones
Tips For Effective Hoarder House Clean Up
When it comes to carrying out a huge undertaking such as a hoarder house clean up, it’s best to have an idea of how you are going to approach the task. Below are some useful hoarder house cleaning tips:
Begin With A Plan
Jot down a quick plan mapping out how you are going to tackle this cleaning task. List down timeframes for task completion, whom to get involved as well as what equipment or supplies are needed.
Prepare Your Equipment
Gather your cleaning supplies and protective gear before you start cleaning so that everything is all in one place and ready to go from day one. Being prepared with all the necessary cleaning and protective equipment right from the start means you can avoid any unnecessary delays and can just get on with the task at hand.
Essential cleaning equipment for hoarder house cleaning includes:
• Heavy-duty garbage bags
• Gloves and facemasks
• Step ladder
• Disinfecting /sanitising cleaning chemicals
• Empty boxes for sorting items to keep, sell or donate
• Mops & buckets
• Brooms & vacuum cleaners
• Skip bin/dumpster
• Rags & cleaning cloths
• Pest repellent
Enlist Some Help
Rounding up some additional friends or family members to assist with a hoarder house clean up can help speed up the entire cleaning process, saving time and ensuring the job gets done within the allocated timeframe.
Clean One Room At A Time
Focusing all efforts on cleaning up just one area or room at a time is a great way to not only keep track of progress, but ensure you go through this task methodically rather than having your attention scattered.
Sort As You Go
While cleaning, evaluate each item as you go and decide whether you should keep, sell or throw away the item. Bag items to be disposed into garbage bags and carefully sort items worth keeping into cardboard boxes ready to be kept, sold or donated.
Know When To Enlist Professional Help
Depending on the severity of the hoard, it might be worth reaching out for professional help instead of a DIY clean up especially when it comes to dealing with mould, sewage spills and other biohazards at the property. Professional biohazard cleaners have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and experience in how to effectively remediate biohazards so that the property is restored to a habitable state once more.
Trusted Biohazard Cleaners
For Australia’s leading biohazard hoarder house clean up service, speak to the team at National Trauma (NTCSC). We’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and have successfully assisted countless people affected by hoarding disorder to effectively remediate their properties. Call us today for an obligation free quote.