Are you facing cleanup from a hoarder? Most of us have areas of our homes that despite our best efforts to keep things neat and tidy just aren’t. There is a reason that the ‘junk drawer’ is a long-standing joke. But there are those whose difficulty keeping a clean home are far greater, and those people are referred to as hoarders. These situations are sad, because the individuals involved are suffering from debilitating mental illnesses such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
One of the services our company provides is cleanup of a place where a hoarder has lived (and maybe still lives). Perhaps you own rental property that has been occupied by one of these individuals, or maybe someone in your family is affected by this and the cleanup is more than you can (or should) handle.
Cleanup in a hoarding situation is best left to professional biohazard cleaning firms like ours, for a variety of reasons.
- If the hoarder is a relative or friend, the emotional stress of dealing with the cleanup can take its toll on you
- The work involved can be physically demanding
- There are most likely biohazards involved that you don’t know how to properly deal with and that could have health and safety consequences.
What is a typical hoarder cleanup like? First, there is no ‘typical,’ although most situations have common issues. The basic issue is an accumulation of items, usually worthless, although at times there may be valuable gems in those piles of what most would refer to as trash.
We’ve come into houses where the resident kept every magazine and newspaper they ever received. Others might be cluttered with worthless decorative items. But some are far worse. One apartment we saw recently contained thousands of pizza boxes and piles of empty beer cans that obscured the floors and covered the furniture. Of course, maggots and cockroaches were everywhere. And many hoarders also have an unusual number of cats or dogs, which present their own biohazard problems.
Some houses may be contaminated with biohazards such as parasites or mold (or worse), and others may actually have structural damage.
The first step in cleanup of any hoarding situation is to assess what’s involved, to take stock of what needs to be dealt with. The next is to secure the property to provide for the safety of the individuals involved in cleanup. Those piles of old magazines on the floor in the hallway may actually conceal rotted floor boards. Or perhaps there are toxic chemicals present. We take precautions with our hoarder cleanup crews to make sure they are safe on the job, and that involves the use of particle masks, respirators, and at times hazmat suits.
The next step is to formulate a plan. Restoration of the property will usually involve:
- Removal and disposal of trash and damaged items (carpet tear-out is often involved)
- Salvaging of items that may have value or can be sold
- Actual cleaning of the property
- Damage repair
If you are facing the daunting task of cleaning up after a hoarder, please don’t try to take on this job alone. We’re here to help – and it’s one of our specialties. We offer efficient, discreet and professional hoarding cleanup. Give us a call today to talk about your needs. We’re here to help, 24/7, every day of the year. Talk to a real live person and not a recording – (877) 691-6706.