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Cleaning a Hoarder’s House: Step-by-Step Guide

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Helping a hoarder clean their home is a big job, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Create a step-by-step plan for your hoarding cleanup and be ready for anything.

Things to remember before doing hoarding clean up

It’s important to assess the situation before running in there and throwing everything away. Hoarding disorder is not as simple as just having too much stuff, identifying the underlying causes and developing a plan of action is key.

  • Know the signs of hoarding. Hoarders become very distressed when they have to get rid of something, and are prone to emotional outbursts when cleaning the house. If your loved one is clinging to their belongings even when broken or becoming a hazard in their home, it’s time to consider hoarding as a possible issue.
  • Learn about mental health factors. OCD and PTSD are among the common mental health issues that might cause someone to develop a hoarding disorder. Depression and anxiety are also linked to hoarding. A firm understanding of these issues is required before an intervention or cleanup can even begin.
  • Patience is key. Hoarders lack the decision-making and organization skills necessary to keep their homes and their belongings in check. It will take a lot of patience to help your loved one develop the healthy habits needed to kick their compulsion to collect. 
  • Come up with a plan. Approaching a hoarding cleanup is useless without proper planning. Before you talk to your loved one about your worries, make sure you have goals in mind to help keep everyone focused on what needs to be done. But most importantly, let them know you care.
  • Be understanding, but firm. When you are ready to confront your loved one about their hoarding issue, remember to be kind but to set firm boundaries. It won’t be easy for your loved one to hear what you have to say, but it’s just as important to stand by your concerns as to not make them feel attacked.

Cleaning tools to have on-hand when cleaning a hoarders house

  • Boxes, bins, and bags. First on the list of essentials are things that will be with you every step of the way. Boxes and bins can help provide a staging area for you to sort through  the clutter, and garbage bags are essential for managing discarded items, junk, and rags.
  • Surface cleaner. Underneath all that clutter will be surfaces in the house that haven’t been tended to for a long time, so make sure you have some cleaning solutions. All purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and a heavy duty cleaner are a great start.
  • Rags and paper towels. Spraying things down and wiping them up will be a large part of the cleanup once the clutter is removed. Make sure you have plenty of rags on hand to avoid delays. 
  • Gloves. Don’t even think about touching anything until you’ve stocked up on gloves. Protecting your hands will be an important part of this cleanup, to prevent injury and the spread of germs.
  • Pest control products. It might come as a surprise, but pest control is a big part of hoarding cleaning. There are bound to be some unwanted pests living among all that clutter, invest in a good non-toxic spray to eradicate bed bugs, dust mites, and other pests on the spot.

Step-by-Step Guide on how to clean a hoarder’s house

  • Plan it out. Before you start rummaging through things and throwing them away, write a comprehensive list of goals for the home and steps you plan to take to meet them. For example, if one of your goals is to make the bedroom accessible, your steps might be to clear the doorway, wash the linens, and organize the closet.
  • Designate a work area. You will need somewhere in the house to store things during your hoarder cleaning. Choose an area that is discreet to keep bins labeled “Keep” and “Discard” and work room by room. This will give you ample space to get things done.
  • Junk removal. Once you’re done sorting through what to keep and what to throw away, it’s time to get it out of the home. Pack everything up, carry it out, and haul it away as quickly as possible.
  • Heavy duty cleaning. Caked up grime and heavy stains will take more than a simple spray and wipe to clean. Get ready to do some tough soaking and scrubbing. Minor repairs may also need to be made.
  • Deep cleaning. Once you’ve gotten rid of the tough dirt and stains, you’ll still have to thoroughly clean, dust, and polish every nook and cranny of every room. This step is a real opportunity to transform the entire home.

Find Professional Help

Getting professional help is a great step in ensuring a successful hoarding cleanup, because professionals are prepared for anything. Hoarders911’s 7 Step Process is a fully customizable solution for all your hoarder house cleaning needs.

How to keep a hoarders house clean

  • A place for everything. Making sure everything in a hoarder’s home has a place is a great way to help them stay organized in the future. Having a designated spot for everything will help them make better decisions about what to do with their belongings.
  • Create a schedule. Having a cleaning schedule to stick to can help a recovering hoarder keep their house clean by giving them a clear path to follow. The strain of disposophobia can make it difficult to stay motivated, but committing to a plan can alleviate some of the challenge.
  • Stay in touch. All the discarded items from a house cleaning is bound to cause your loved one some stress. This may lead to an attempt to re-accumulate their collection. Make sure to check in and show your support to help them stay on track.

Conclusion

Hoarder house cleaning is all about planning. Following a step-by-step guide can help keep you focused, and mark your progress. The best hoarding cleaning services will always have a plan for any situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from an expert.

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