It can feel overwhelming to decide where to start when it comes to how to clean a hoarder’s house. Whether it is your home and you are ready to live a clutter-free life, or you have been tasked with cleaning out a hoarder’s home, look at this list to get started.
Step 1: Understand Hoarding
The first step to cleaning a hoarder’s house is to learn about hoarding. You want to be sensitive to the anxiety disorder that led to the house getting to a certain point. There is a difference between learning to clean an untidy home and how to clean a hoarder’s house.
In a home where hoarding occurs, dishes are not put away, rotten food causes smells, and trash can be waist-high down the hallway. The living conditions are often unliveable, making it uncomfortable for any visitors or children to dwell in the home. When cleaning the hoarder’s home, be sensitive to the situation and give the homeowner some grace.
If someone has a hoarding tendency, they are usually dealing with something deeper. Let them know that you are sympathetic to the situation and hold no judgment.
Step 2: Assess the Situation
Before you start cleaning, step back and get a complete picture of the cleaning process. Rather than getting overwhelmed, make an estimate of how time-consuming the job will be. Part of how to clean a hoarder’s house is dividing the tasks into parts. How long will it take to clear out all of the trash? How long will it take to sort items? How long for deep cleaning?
Once you have divided up the tasks into parts, the project will feel more organized. And you will have a feel on where to get started. Finally, remember to set realistic timelines for finishing the project instead of thinking you can get it all done in a short period of time.
Step 3: Gather Supplies
Some of the supplies you will need for a hoarding clean-up are heavy-duty trash bags, cleaning supplies, and masks/gloves. In addition, you may find months and months worth of food wrappers, fast food containers, leftover food, and more to fill up the bags.
You will also find that those with a hoarding disorder may have furniture that is broken or unusable due to dirt and grime. Sort through the trash to find the salvageable items. And then discard any of the broken furniture that you discover.
When learning how to clean a hoarder’s house, save the cleaning supplies until the end, when all of the stuff is removed from the house. Then you can use the cleaning supplies to scrub away the dirt and grime that builds up under the piles of accumulated junk. It will be satisfying to scrub away all of the dust and create a clean and shiny place for the homeowner.
Step 4: Set Up a Sorting Area
An important step in how to clean a hoarder’s house is to look for an open space to set up a staging area. This is a place where you can keep empty boxes to sort items into donations, trash, or keep piles. Choose the garage or even the driveway to find an open place where you have room to sort.
Stay on top of emptying the sorting area once it becomes too full. Hire a junk removal team to remove the trash immediately from the home once it is collected. Then you can remove the items that are causing most of the smell and chaos before moving on to the next steps.
Step 5: Wear Protective Clothing
When you learn how to clean a hoarder’s house, you will find that it is vital to protect your health. Wear protective clothing like a mask and gloves. You may encounter mold, dust, or pet feces that can be harmful to breathe in.
While you are practicing safety, do not wear open-toed shoes as you may step on glass or nails in the process. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times and ask for help from a hoarding cleaning service if you cannot finish the job on your own.
Step 6: Remove All Trash
Start in the smallest room once you have formulated a plan and set up a staging area. Often, the bathroom does not have sentimental items, so it can be an easy start to the cleaning process.
Be sure to check pockets and small spaces for valuables before you throw everything into the trash. Once you have tackled the smaller room, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and flow right into cleaning out the next room.
Step 7: Make Necessary Repairs
Once the rooms are cleaned out of all items, including furniture in good condition, you can start on repairs. First, replace baseboards and doorframes and repair the holes in the walls. Next, wipe down the walls and coat them with fresh paint.
Pull up the flooring that cannot be used any longer. Throw out appliances that are no longer in working condition. When you take a full inventory of the house, you will be reminded that hoarders live differently. If there was something that needed fixing, like a toilet or shower, they might have settled for what they had. Making the proper repairs will start the home off on a clean slate.
Step 8: Deep Clean the Rooms
Once the repairs are made, and the house is cleared out of all stuff, you can start cleaning. First, professionally clean any carpets that you decide to keep to remove odors. Next, scrub the grout on tiles and properly remove any mold, making sure that mold doesn’t run deep into the drywall and insulation of the home.
Sometimes the deep cleaning process is beyond an average person’s expertise, especially if there is a lime buildup in the bathroom or mold. Do not be afraid to ask for help and salvage the home in the best way you know how. Professional cleaning services may be required to get the house back to appropriate living conditions. No matter how much you research how to clean a hoarder’s house, some tasks are best left to professionals.
Step 9: Present the Home to the Homeowners
Celebrate your success by presenting the home to the homeowners. Watch as they bask in their new home and their new lease on life. It is never too late to get help as a hoarder and start fresh.
Present tips on daily upkeep to maintain the house going forward. Set up the home with items that are important to the homeowners mixed with new pieces of furniture that will help them find happiness and pride in their home.
The most crucial part of hoarding clean-up is to show love and understanding for the homeowners. You can give them a fresh start without judging them for their past living conditions.
Step 10: Contact Junk Removal Services Today!
Once all of the items are sorted, you may not know how to make all of the necessary drop-offs. Bringing load after load to the dump, recycling center, and hazardous materials drop-off location can be tedious and waste time. Ask for help! You don’t have to do it all when professional junk removal services are waiting at your beck and call.
You don’t have to be overwhelmed with a hoarder cleanout. When you partner with Junk-A-Haulics, the home can be cleared out the moment items are sorted and boxed up. Then, leave the final steps to our team. We will make the necessary stops around town to the donation center, dump, recycle center, and toxic materials drop-off.
When you work with a junk removal team, we will do the heavy lifting for you while you sit back and enjoy your new cleaned-out space. So take charge of your new beginnings as you enter 2022. Contact us today to set up your first appointment with Junk-A-Haulics.