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How To Help a Hoarder Clean Their Home

How To Help a Hoarder Clean Their Home

Hoarding disorder is challenging for the individual and their loved ones dealing with it, particularly if the person denies the problem. Part of healing the disorder is cleaning out their home – a daunting task full of overwhelming clutter.

Utilize this list of systematic steps to help the hoarder clean out their home and minimize the stresses of the monumental, life-changing task. Learn how to come prepared with an efficient plan, start clearing and cleaning, and finish with a safe home with emotional support.

9 Steps To Help a Hoarder Clean Their Home

How To Help a Hoarder Clean Their Home Hoarder Cleanout

Educate Yourself On Hoarding

Understanding the complexity of hoarding disorder is crucial for effectively supporting the hoarder during the cleanout process. Start with understanding the five stages of hoarding. Each stage describes the severity of hoarding and the complex emotional component. With this understanding, you’ll be able to approach your hoarder prepared to handle conversations and equipped to handle the extent of hoarding and clutter.

Then, you should access the hoarder’s home and note the amount of clutter, possible hazards, and general layout. By educating yourself on hoarding, you can make appropriate plans based on the person’s level of hoarding.

Develop A Cleaning Plan

After evaluating the home, you can help make a detailed cleaning plan. As more items begin to accumulate, the clutter can become overwhelming. Having a clear plan of action will keep everyone on track and motivated.

You’ll need to consider which rooms to start in, what supplies are needed, a timeline for completion, whether hired help is necessary, and how to sort through everything. The fastest way to help them clean their homes is if the hoarder is away. However, this approach does not help the hoarder; it only cleans their home.

If this action plan seems impossible, hire a third-party service to help. Nixxit’s Hoarder Cleanout Services approaches hoarding situations with patience and sensitivity. They’ll work with you to clear the home of trash and junk quickly and efficiently.

Take Safety Precautions

Pay attention to common hazards in hoarding homes while assessing the situation and creating a plan. Large stacks of boxes and crates can create unsafe physical structures, and someone could get injured or trapped when these tall piles shift and fall.

Be prepared to handle biohazards. Animal waste and decaying food are often lost in the home’s clutter, becoming hazardous waste if not cleaned up for a long time. Careful attention is needed if chemicals are kept in the house. For example, contaminated, expired, or improperly stored cleaning chemicals can become a chemical hazard.

Chemicals increase the chance of fire hazards; be sure to include escape paths in your plan areas that can block exits. You should also plan for infestations from rats, bugs, or mice, as food waste and cozy hiding places create an attractive home for these animals. These critters can also carry diseases and become dangerous. If you come across this, it’s essential to have someone to call for help, like an exterminator.

Gather Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies are essential for cleaning out a hoarder’s house. After accessing the home earlier, you might know if you need specialized cleaning supplies for chemical or biological hazards. If some were found but not identified, or these hazards are suspected, play it safe and be overly prepared for them.

You should bring multiple disposable gloves, masks, and safety glasses. Look for all-purpose cleaners, disinfectant sprays, mold and mildew removers, and degreasers for cleaning solutions. Add scrub brushes, brooms, and rags to use the solutions.

Be sure to bring plenty of trash bags, crates, and moving boxes. A shovel, step ladder, and hand tools may also come in handy. Coming prepared will alleviate frustrations from running to the store during cleaning.

Begin In A Small Room

Stating in a smaller room, or the first room is the most practical approach when cleaning out a hoarder’s house. It’ll be easier to tackle and see visible progress, which is encouraging as you work. Cleaning out a house of junk can seem impossible, so it’s best to pick a small, manageable room, like a closet, bathroom, or spare bedroom.

Make sure there are clear pathways to the space. You may have to declutter and clear a path large enough to walk through and move items around safely. Starting in a small room is an achievable goal to build momentum for everyone involved in the cleaning process. Once one of the small rooms is cleared and cleaned from top to bottom, you can move on to the next.

Remove The Trash

While clearing out each room, you’ll likely encounter and accumulate a lot of trash. Follow safety precautions for the type of trash – wear gloves and masks to minimize harmful exposures, ensure proper ventilation in areas, and be aware of hidden sharp objects like broken glass.

To handle trash:

  1. Designate sorting areas for different types, such as hazardous waste, recyclables, and regular trash.
  2. Label the bags or bins for each type of trash.
  3. Remove the trash from the property.
  4. Take regular trash to the landfill, recycle recyclables at a recycling center, and dispose of hazardous waste at waste management facilities.

Clean Out The Junk

Only some things in a hoarder’s home are trash. You’ll likely encounter many salvageable items that can be kept out of the house but don’t belong in a landfill. As these items are pulled from the house, make a separate pile for them to be cleaned and sorted. Include the hoarder when deciding what to do with these items that aren’t trash.

Donate and gift items that are in good condition and helpful to others. Sell valuable items the hoarder is willing to part with, which can help recoup the costs of cleaning out a hoarder’s home. However, if the hoarder is having trouble parting with items, hiring a professional organizer or therapist to be there can help with this process.

Carry Out Repairs

Structural damage, electrical problems, plumbing issues, and everyday wear and tear are typical in hoarding homes. Often, it’s difficult for the hoarder to move around in the house and notice when a repair is needed, so problems go unfixed. Depending on the degree of damage, there might be unstable floorboards and exposed wiring, which can be dangerous.

First, tackle structural issues, including the foundation, floors, walls, and roof. Then, tackle electrical and plumbing problems like leaky faucets, broken fixtures, and faulty wiring. A contractor can assist in complex repairs, while regular upkeep and maintenance will be necessary to maintain a healthy and safe living space.

Provide Support And After-care

Hoarders are attached to their belongings, and the cleanout process can be very emotional. Hoarding is a physical action that reflects underlying psychological problems. Encourage the hoarder to attend or continue therapy and counseling. Regular therapy sessions can help prevent relapse by developing coping strategies and addressing the underlying issue.

Connect the hoarder with support groups focused on hoarding disorders outside of therapy. This involvement will help them feel connected and validated. You can also schedule follow-up visits with the hoarder in their home to assess their living environment. You’ll be able to identify if new issues are arising and provide further encouragement for them.

How To Help a Hoarder Clean Their Home Hoarder Cleanout 2

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Help a Hoarder Clean up Their House?

Provide a hoarder with empathetic support and encourage gradual decluttering. Keep the hoarder involved with decision-making while still prioritizing safety and their well-being. Help them seek out therapy, professional organizations, and support groups. Be available for follow-up visits after the cleanup to check their progress and provide support.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a Hoarder’s House?

The time needed to clean a hoarder’s house varies depending on several factors. It can range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the level of hoarding, the amount of clutter, the size of the house, and the speed of the cleanup process.

Need Hoarder Cleanout Services in the Bay Area? We Can Help!

Helping a hoarder clean out their home is a huge task that requires determination, patience, and empathy, so it’ll help if you prepare for the task with a thorough game plan. Consider safety hazards and necessary cleaning supplies to make cleaning more efficient for everyone. Then, start cleaning one room at a time, paying attention to trash and salvageable items. Afterward, repairs to their home can begin.

If cleaning out every room and making a detailed plan seems too much to handle on your own, call Nixxit for help. Our dedicated team will provide supportive and judgment-free cleanout services for hoarding situations in the Bay Area.

Need Help with a Hoarder Cleanout in the Bay Area, CA?

Nixxit Junk Removal can help with your hoarder cleanout needs in the Bay Area.

  • 10+ Years of Experience Working with Hoarders
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Sensitive and Discreet Approach
  • Full-Service Removal and Sorting
  • Donation and Recycling
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nixxitjunk · Apr 26