How to Clean Up After a Hoarder

Woman cleaning window

Why is Hoarding Cleanup Important?

The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding as “persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.” Most of us are guilty of this to some degree, but not all of us are to the point where an episode of hoarding clean-up could be filmed. 

If we aren’t one ourselves, there is a good chance we know one. Over the past decade or so, what may have been seen as ‘just hanging on to stuff’, has become realized as hoarding. We all have ‘keepsakes’, but it when a person can’t simply bear to part with anything, even the smallest things like a rubber band or plastic bag, or keeping broken items,  it becomes hoarding. At some point, the hoarding clean-up process is when we realize that we, or another person, had a problem.

What is hoarding cleanup?

Hoarding clean-up is the method of removing and disposing of accumulated items, including debris from a home, storage unit, or other structure that has been filled with excessive amounts of clutter or possessions. In most cases, along with the individual that has been hoarding, family and or friends can handle the cleaning up and pack up of a person’s “prized possessions”. Sometimes though, you need help.

What types of services are offered by professional hoarding clean-up businesses? 

Fortunately, there are professionals that handle hoarding clean up, much like professionals clean up biohazard conditions. The process of hoarding clean-up must be approached with understanding and begins with the clean-up crew taking an assessment of the severity of the situation. 

After assessing the situation, they will take the following steps following the instructions of the clients, and be prepared with the following:

  • PPE (Professional Protective Equipment) 
  • Professional equipment and industrial-grade cleaners

They will be prepared to remove substances like bodily fluids, bacteria, mold, needles, drug paraphernalia, and the remains of animals if discovered. While we may think that Grandpa or Uncle Joe only kept a lot of keepsakes and memorabilia, depending on where they kept all of it and for how long, a hoarding clean-up crew is prepared for the worse.   They then take the following steps: 

  • Sort the valuable items out from the hoard, packing them up accordingly
  • Sort any biohazardous material and remove it from the area

What are the possible risks involved in hoarding cleanup?

The possible hazards of hoarding cleanup are many and often unknown and not visible until you’re in the midst of the duty. Some dangers that a professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared for include: 

  • FIRE
  • MOLD

What are the benefits of hoarding cleanup? 

With the help of a professional hoarding clean-up service, the crew can ease any feelings of those involved, including the hoarders, anger, judgment, and resentment as the area becomes a clean slate.

Any hoarding scenario may be filled with hazardous materials and waste that require specialized cleaning products and equipment. You don’t know what you’re getting into until you’re already elbow deep in questionable waste. By hiring a professional hoarding clean-up crew, you will benefit from the following: 

  • Safe Removal 

Part of hoarding is collecting and keeping excessive amounts of anything and everything, including odd and end objects, magazines, newspapers, and even trash. As these things pile up, it creates a safety hazard and becomes home to critters and insects. The professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared to handle whatever they may come across while sorting and removing the assorted hoarded items. 

  • Hazardous Materials

Hoarding creates a cramped area where insects and rodents nest and breed, making the area unsafe. A professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared to work through the possible breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, and other pathogens. The hoarding clean-up crew will have gloves, masks, and other protective equipment to keep themselves safe while sorting through and cleaning up the mess. 

  • Thorough Cleaning

Once the professional hoarding clean-up crew has removed all the hoarded items and the unwanted result of critters, insects, and rodents, they will bring in professional cleaning materials to make the area clean and safe. 

With a professional hoarding clean-up crew handling the clean-up process, it takes away the physical dangers of doing the work yourself. They are better able to work around and with any of the following: 

  • Structural damage to the area
  • Falling piles and stacks of debris
  • Exposure to biohazards and/or poisons
  • Exposure to rotting or spoiled food products
  • Insect and rodent infestation

It will relieve family and friends of any mental pain of sorting through a loved one’s belongings. And it will eliminate any social burdens of embarrassment. 

Who is typically responsible for the cost of hoarding cleanup? 

In the case of handling the hoarding cleanup of a deceased family member, the estate is responsible for the cost of the process. It is unlikely that the homeowner’s insurance policy will pay for any hoarding cleanup, even if the hoarder isn’t deceased.  Hoarding is considered homeowner induced, not an act of nature.

In Closing 

Hoarding clean-up can be a mentally and physically daunting task when it involves a loved one. By hiring a professional crew to address the task at hand, you’ll know the job was done thoroughly and safely. For superior hoarding cleanup in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, please get in touch with us at (954) 548-5613 today!