When considering hoarding cleanup, you may not notice any differences from a standard deep-clean. However, hoarding is not just collecting items but a compulsive buying, collecting, or search disorder. When cleaning up a house occupied by a hoarder, different techniques need to be utilized. This will be an extensive and involved process that will last for a longer period, based on the extent of the hoarding. Houses may be completely impassable with items covering all surfaces waist-deep or higher. This can turn into emptying and organizing the home, but it does require more planning than your standard spring cleaning.
Based on the level of hoarding, cleanup may need to include foot protection (shoe coverings), gloves, and even face masks. As items may have been sitting, decaying, or otherwise ripe for bacteria, the level of precautions is critical. You should absolutely plan for the worst, because this will prevent you from caught unaware or ill-prepared when starting this process. Be sure you have walked the home first and know that it is safe to go ahead.
If the hoarding cleanup includes collaboration directly with the hoarder themselves, they might pose another threat. Hoarding is normally a mental disorder, so ensuring the hoarder is fully onboard with the process is critical. If there is hesitation or resistance or family is making them do this, you should be sure you have people who know and can collaborate positively with the hoarder present. These precautions mean that any situation that occurs has a plan, and the situation will not escalate.
Unlike a normal cleaning where most items in the house already have a place, a hoarding cleanup will have items removed. Organization should include determining which items to clean and keep in the home. In addition, items that are suitable for resale or donation should be selected. Also, getting any money for excess items is a plus and can help to alleviate the cost of this service. However, selling items may add stress to the situation, so donation might end up being the most practical route. Finally, determining those items to dispose of is a final decision.
Again, before starting this job, get a feel for the number of items for donation, sale, or trash. You may want to have dumpsters or pickup services arranged ahead of time. This keeps the process moving quickly and does not leave items lingering where a hoarder may decide to put them back in the house.
Understand that this is not a fast process, especially if the hoarder is directly involved. Be prepared to be patient and to explain your concerns more than once. Engage additional resources to help the client. Cleaning processes like these will be lengthy and taxing for you. This is a big mental and physical challenge, so it’s critical to ensure that the best resources are in place to finish this project in a prompt and patient manner. This is going to be a rewarding, trying, and overall mentally challenging project.
Even if you have done hundreds of cleaning jobs, you might not be fully prepared to clean a hoarder’s home. This will present unique, challenging, and even dangerous concerns. For hoarding cleanup, you need patience, perseverance, and keen organization. Be prepared, know the environment, line up the proper resources, and you can make this a rewarding process in the end. Contact Kelley Klean today for help preparing for your upcoming hoarding cleanup project.