Dos and Don’ts When Cleaning Up a Hoarder’s Home

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Are you challenged by home cleanups? Keeping a home clean and tidy is a tedious chore for many homeowners. So it is not surprising that cleaning up clutter and junk from a hoarder’s abode can try one’s patience.

Generally, cleaning up is not a matter of picking up things here and there. It involves an action plan that details a systematic approach to ensuring that all the mess is properly categorized and discarded efficiently.

But when tackling a hoarder’s junk pile, it can take some strategizing and additional help from a professional.

Handling hoarding issues

Hoarding may be a compulsive behavior that needs not only physical but also psychological help. If the hoarding is linked to a mental disorder, you need help from an expert because it requires proper communication. If the contact breaks down, it might not be easy to organize a cleanup.

Implementing a hoarding cleanup requires patience and care. If the hoarding has something to do with a mental health issue, you should first understand the condition.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Connect with the hoarder by letting them know that you will be there during and after the cleanup.
  • If you are a hoarder or someone you know is in this situation, seek help from a professional who specializes in hoarding.
  • Continue motivating the hoarder to get rid of the things they do not actually need through constant communication.
  • Emphasize that cleaning up will ensure their safety. Discuss the benefits of creating a safer home environment by removing the things they hoard, whether objects, animals, or other stuff. Talk to them about being safe until they are amenable before actually removing the junk.
  • Since the items have an emotional connection to the person, agree with them that they are important, and tell them that they are no longer useful. Make them understand that you will be keeping the things you discuss confidentially. Get help by contacting a professional hoarding cleanup company that has trained staff to handle the cleanup.
  • Get on their emotional side and let them know that they can help others by donating some of the items they possess. Discuss these things patiently and respectfully.

What you should not do:

  • Do not make fun of the hoarder. Understand their condition and make sure that you show empathy.
  • Do not show a gung-ho attitude and tell them to discard all the things they have collected. It is vital to keep communicating with them and giving them time to settle and accept that they have to part with the things that have emotional and sentimental value.
  • Do not be upset or angry with a hoarder. Keep calm and avoid judging them. If you cannot handle it, let a professional do the talking.
  • When you initially contact a hoarder, do not touch the items, but assess them visually and identify the things that you can remove immediately and what you can leave for further negotiation.
  • Do not treat them as a child. Most of them are educated and intelligent and can sense if you are talking down or patronizing them. Treat them like you would treat a sensitive adult. 

For the cleanup to progress, make the hoarder understand what you need to do and what they can do to help you find new homes for the things they hoard.