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5 Misconceptions About the Hoarding Cleanup Process

Image by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

Image by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

If you’ve been paying attention to reality television, it’s likely that you’ve seen an episode or two depicting hoarders. Unfortunately, television does not do a great job of explaining the true process involved. Let’s take a look at five misconceptions about hoarding cleanup.

Misconception #1: Hoarding Cleanup Will Solve the Problem

Many believe that undertaking a cleanup of a hoarding home is all that’s required to get the job done. Hoarding cleanup is rarely a one-and-done process, though. This is due to the misconception that hoarding is merely collecting too many things. In most cases, hoarding is a complicated mental condition that will require a complex treatment plan to avoid relapse. Patience is a vital component of cleanup and support.

Misconception #2: Hoarders Are Just Lazy

It’s dangerous and unfair to assume that hoarders are dirty or lazy people. In many cases, those involved in active hoarding often keep clean homes aside from the clutter related to their hoarding. It should also be noted that hoarding can begin as a response to a traumatic loss. While it might seem helpful to push hoarders to clean up their acts quickly, it’s essential to act with compassion, support, and empathy when helping them to begin hoarding cleanup.

Misconception #3: Hoarding Cleanup Should Always Include the Hoarder

While it might be deemed beneficial to actively involve the hoarder in the cleanup process, it’s not always appropriate. This is because hoarding cleanup often involves the removal of items from the home. Given the complex mental and physical challenges of hoarding, some people may find it too stressful to see their cherished belongings taken away. When scheduling a hoarding cleanup, it’s crucial to adjust the plan to the needs of the hoarder.

Misconception #4: Hoarding Cleanup Can Happen Quickly

Even though the process of a cleanup can be expensive, it is not wise to try to rush it. While most individuals will understand a to-do list of priorities, this is not often the case for hoarders. While establishing expectations and tasks is important to be effective, hoarders often prefer to undertake the process slowly and methodically. This is key to helping them move forward. Talking through the cleanup process rationally and at their own pace can be incredibly beneficial.

Misconception #5: A Cleanup Has to Be Stressful

While cleaning will likely be difficult, the idea that it has to be stressful is untrue. When undertaken with care and flexibility, helping a hoarder to clean up their home space can be a rewarding process that helps them to improve their situation.

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to hire the right team to assist with the hoarding cleanup process. When you’re ready to begin, contact Kelley Klean to learn more!

3 Things to Know About Hoarding Cleanup

hoarding clean up

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

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.

Precautions For Hoarding Cleanup

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.

Organizing a Hoarding Cleanup

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.

Work Process for Hoarding Cleanup

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.

Contact Kelley Klean For Help

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.

 

 

 

Hoarding Cleanup for Beginners

Hoarding Cleanup Old Items

Dealing with hoarding cleanup is overwhelming. Not only is cleaning a large task, but the emotional toll of helping a hoarder is tough. Whether it’s a loved one, friend, or yourself, hoarding cleanup is an uphill battle mentally and physically. Not sure where to start? Read on to determine the first steps in tackling tough hoarding cases.

Hoarding Cleanup and Mental Health

Hoarders are often diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or depression.  Symptoms of hoarding are frustrating for loved ones and friends. Hoarders have severe anxiety about throwing away items. As debris piles up, they may display obsessive thoughts and actions. Don’t be surprised if a hoarder shows suspicion when you are in their home to try to help them.

Protective Equipment for Hoarding Cleanup

Safety is crucial for the hoarding cleanup process.  At the very least, wear gloves and face masks to prevent exposure to bacteria such as Staph or E.coli. You also need to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect skin from puncture wounds. At Kelly Klean, we ensure all employees working on hoarding sites wear hazmat suits and protective gear to prevent injury or illness. Additionally, we abide by OSHA policy when cleaning up bio-hazardous material.

Use the “3 Group” Rule When Discarding Items

When examining items, allow for three possibilities: keep, donate, and garbage. If determining which items to trash is a struggle, ask if the item was used in the past year.  Exceptions to the year-usage rule are personal items or family heirlooms with sentimental value. Many hoarding experts agree that items not used in the past year should be thrown away or donated. Any item growing mold should immediately be tossed into the trash.

When in Doubt, Call a Professional

Homes with hoarding problems require more than just a thorough vacuum and dusting. Hoarders often have years of debris in unorganized piles. The longer debris sits, the more dirt, dust, and mold accumulate. Do not hesitate to call a professional cleaning service. Kelly Klean will help you devise a cleaning strategy and follow through with removal and restoration.

Hiring professional cleaners to alleviate hoarding mess can help ease a stressful situation. Kelly Klean has years of cleaning up hoarding sites for homeowners of all ages. Our experienced technicians turn over every item in your home to give you a fresh new start.  Visit our website or give us a call today at 573-535-6719.

How To Know When It’s Time To Hire A Hoarder Cleanup Crew

hoarding cleanup

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Did you know that more than 3 million Americans suffer from hoarding? Hoarding is a psychological disorder that can leave homes untidy, unhealthy, and a dangerous place to be. A hoarder cleanup crew, like the one at Kelley Klean, can help you or your loved one get their home back to a livable space. How do you know when it’s time to hire a hoarder cleanup crew? Read on to learn more.

Hoarders Become Distressed With The Thought Of Parting With Items

Someone who suffers from hoarding will have a major issue at the thought of getting rid of their things. It’s one of the biggest signs they have a problem. For hoarders, their things feel like an extension of themselves. They find comfort in having these items, even if they’ll never use them.

For example, a hoarder may have old newspapers piling up in their living room but refuses to throw them out. Often just the mention of getting rid of these items can result in distress or a fight. When they have reached this point, it’s time to seek help, especially if they are starting to run out of safe space in their home. The first step is calling a discreet hoarder cleanup crew to come in.

Hoarders Don’t Allow Outsiders Into Their Home

Most often, hoarders take issue with anyone entering their home. They tend to know that their behavior is frowned upon and they don’t want to face embarrassment or ridicule, or even discuss it. If you are the family member of someone who suffers from hoarding, you may not even be fully aware of their issue. They could be in dire need of a hoarder cleanup crew and you wouldn’t even realize it.

Call A Hoarder Cleanup Crew If Someone Is In Danger

Hoarding is a dangerous habit. When someone hoards items in their home, they can create many obstacles and risks. Often the items cause a fire hazard, breed mold, or are simply dirty. Some individuals will hoard garbage. Overall, it makes the home unsafe to live in.

If the hoarder has small children or pets who are unable to fend for themselves, it’s definitely a good idea to get some help. Even if the hoarder lives alone, they are putting themselves at risk and need help getting out of it.

Hoarder Cleanup Crew In Mid-Missouri

If you live in Columbia, Jefferson City, or the central Missouri area and you want to help a hoarder, give us a call. We work closely with families to not only clean up the hoarded items but also find long-term help for the hoarder. We know how sensitive the situation can be and we want to help. Contact us today to learn more.

 

Cleaning Services for Hoarding

A person with a hoarding disorder will hold on to items for sentimental or emotional reasons. They keep things that cause clutter in the home. For people with a hoarding disorder, the act of decluttering their home seems impossible and can be a very taxing task. Restoration companies help take the cleaning process off your hands so that you can tackle the emotional and psychological effects that may come of it. Here is what you need to know about hoarding cleanup.

Sensitivity When You Need It

More than 3 million Americans are suffering from a hoarding disorder. A restoration company will come to work without any judgment. In order to prevent causing emotional harm, the company will work directly with their client as well as family and/or a psychologist. Having a service to help can make the process go smoothly and prevent you from putting yourself in a difficult situation alone.

Getting Rid of the Clutter

The first thing a restoration company will do is physically remove the goods that need to be removed. No matter why you hire the company, be it for safety, moving or cleaning an estate, they will do it all. This is the hardest step in the process, and it’s understood that just removing the clutter won’t prevent future hoarding. A restoration company can also help to find long-term solutions, including safeguarding your home against damages that can occur from hoarding.

Disinfect and Restore the Home

Hoarders are probably unaware of any damage in their home. Even just a few years of piling goods into a room can promote moisture or pressure to the structure. A restoration company can disinfect the area and survey for mold, stains, offensive odors, and other biohazards. They also have the correct tools to respond to the damage, leaving your home cleaner than they found it. Damage likely hiding in the floors or walls will affect the integrity of your home and can only be seen after hoarding cleanup.

Call Kelley Klean

Hoarding cleanup is a sensitive and emotional project for the client and their family. At Kelley Klean, we want to do our part to help make things a little easier. Kelley Klean has a lot of experience working with clients with hoarding disorders as well as their loved ones. We can also clean estates after a loved one has passed. Give us a call today at 573-214-0990 to set up an appointment.

Four Ways to Address Hoarding and Get Help

Hoarding Cleanup Deedee86 | Pixabay

Hoarding cannot only create stress in your life but can cause stress in your loved ones lives as well.  Dealing with hoarding is challenging and can cause issues in your life. You may not know where to start when it comes to addressing hoarding.  Not only is it challenging to address hoarding, but beginning the hoarding cleanup process is not an easy task. However, we’ve put together four simple steps to help you approach hoarding head on.

Become the Expert

The first step in addressing hoarding is becoming the expert. You may know that you or a loved one has a hoarding problem, but you may not fully understand it. In order to start the hoarding cleanup process, you have to know how it affects the way of thinking. When it comes to hoarding, there are three critical factors involved.

  • Struggling to get rid of things
  • Clutter that makes a room not useful
  • Significant impairment in social, occupation and other areas of function (health, emotional distress, family stress, housing, and financial)

Knowing the factors is the first step in handling your hoarding problem.

Get Motivated

The next step is to find the motivation to deal with hoarding. One issue most people deal with is finding the motivation. If you do not have the motivation to start the hoarding cleanup process, then you will not be able to fix it.  Try a few tips and tricks to help you become motivated. First, identify your thoughts and beliefs that get in the way. These can include the following:

  • This item may have use or importance someday
  • The problem isn’t that bad -It’s part of who I am, I cannot change
  • I have to use this item

Second, assess why you want to change your behavior. You can use a chart to determine the reasons to, and not to change. You can also rank the reasons why you are not improving. Lastly, look forward. Map out what your future holds if you take control of your hoarding. Using these steps will help you find the motivation to start the hoarding cleanup process.

Get Organized and Reprogram Your Thought Process

The final step in address hoarding is to have an organization plan. The best way to start an organization plan is to break bigger goals down into smaller goals. Having goals that are smaller are easier to tackle and don’t seem so daunting. Be sure your goals are specific and measurable. Remember to be flexible in adjusting goals as some may be bigger than you originally thought. Finally when it comes to goals in hoarding cleanup is to determine the outcome you want. In order to start organizing, you will need to change your way of thinking. You will have to tell yourself you do not need specific items anymore.

Get Help with Hoarding Cleanup

After you have addressed hoarding, you will need to start the cleaning out your house. Don’t attempt this process alone, as it is not an easy task. You should hire a company that offers hoarding cleanup. If you are in the Columbia, Jefferson City, and Central Missouri area, then call Kelley Klean. We offer specific hoarding cleanup. Clear out your home today by calling 573.561.5382 to schedule an appointment.

Top Seven Issues to watch out for when dealing with Hoarders (Part 2)

photo by HypnoArt- https://pixabay.com/en/users/HypnoArt-202249/

photo by HypnoArt- https://pixabay.com/en/users/HypnoArt-202249/

In part one  of the two-part series on hoarding and the kind of issues a helper can face with dealing with hoarding, we covered risk to life and health, and the trust deficit issue among hoarders. In part two, we will go over the other important issues to watch out for when dealing with hoarders.

Dealing with Clean-up of Items that Carry Sentimental or Financial Value

There is no doubt that you will come across several roadblocks when dealing with a hoarder. Getting rid of items that are dangerous or of no value is one thing. Dealing with items that do carry an emotional or financial value such as collectibles, insurance policies, property papers, or jewelry can be a whole different ball game altogether. While the hoarder might be aware of the value that these items hold, they are mostly helpless when it comes to sorting things out in an orderly manner. The job of a professional in this case will be focused on sorting things out first, disposing of items that are unnecessary, and cataloging and restoring items that are of value to their former condition. Again, through each step of the way, maintaining an open and positive channel of communication definitely helps. The professional will not simply barge in and start disposing off items. Any sorting out and disposal will happen in collaboration and in keeping with the mental and emotional consent of the hoarder.

Social Isolation and Anxiety Disorder

If you know you are dealing with a hoarder, then you will also recognize their deep dislike for social interactions. Over a period of time, this dislike can turn into social isolation. The reason for this isolation is the fear of embarrassment and shame associated with their living conditions. They might be aware of the kind of dangers and risk their living conditions pose to outsiders and this also could lead to voluntary social isolation. When this happens, breaking through the self-imposed barriers and forming a connection can be extremely difficult. In cases where this is the case, professionals hoarding clean-up technicians will work closely with a helper to build a bond of trust prior to making any changes to the present living conditions.

Stressful or Tense Environments – Causes behind Hoarding Behavior

Often it is a traumatic event in the past that could have triggered a compulsive need to hoard everything in sight. Because of the social isolation, the unhealthy living conditions, and the stress of dealing with a mental condition all on their own, the life of a hoarder can be very tense and full of stress.

Again, the only way forward is to address the real triggers that lead to hoarding in the first place. If you can understand the triggers and reasons behind the hoarding tendency, dealing with someone who is a hoarder becomes easier. Remember, unless there is a clear understanding of the cause, finding a solution can be difficult.

Conclusion

Hoarding as a behavioral condition still needs a lot of exposure. The documentation for this condition is still largely minimal. However, hoarding is a real condition and it affects a number of people. If you are in contact with a hoarder or if you know of someone who needs help, seeking professional help could lead to a proper and much needed resolution for the person affected.

Top Seven Issues to watch out for when dealing with Hoarders (Part 1)

photo by HypnoArt- https://pixabay.com/en/users/HypnoArt-202249/

photo by HypnoArt- https://pixabay.com/en/users/HypnoArt-202249/

Hoarding is a real problem. However, it goes unrecognized primarily because there is very little information about the condition in the public domain. In this two-part series on hoarding, we will cover the top issues to watch out for when dealing with hoarders.

Most hoarders will deny having a hoarding problem. It is not entirely surprising since most people with a psychological emotional problem tend to refuse to accept their condition. Acceptance however, is the first step towards finding a solution to the problem. While this is easier said than done, it is a step in the right direction. For people who are in contact with hoarders for any number of reasons, there are not only telltale signs of hoarding, but more importantly, there are a number of issues that crop up when dealing with someone who has a hoarding condition.

Here are top 4 issues you need to aware of if you are in contact with a hoarder.

Safety is Compromised

The home of a hoarder is a like a minefield. There is stuff everywhere and you never know what can cause harm or presents a real danger. Navigating through all the clutter and heaps of potential debris both inorganic and organic is never an easy task. In addition to health risks posed by organic debris such as rotten food or any other bodily fluids/waste, there is also danger from inorganic debris such as electrical wiring or fire and water hazards.

Partial and or Complete Lack of Trust

One of the biggest challenges when dealing with hoarders is the issue of trust deficit. Fearing a judgmental attitude, or loathing for the clutter in their homes from others is one of the leading reasons for the trust deficit. This also presents the biggest challenge when dealing with hoarders. If they sense any kind of negative response, getting them to trust you can become next to impossible.

Unwilling to Part with their Collection

Creating a bond of trust is crucial when dealing with hoarders. However, even then, getting them to cooperate with you and part with any of their stuff can prove to be a challenge every step of the way. In addition to constant positive communication and appreciation for being co-operative, it is also important to stress up on the danger to safety not just for the hoarder, but also family member, friends and others who come into contact with the hoarder. This kind of constant but positive affirmation can help the hoarder trust in your advice and make them more accommodative to parting with their items.

Potential and Real Health Risks

When you step into the home of a hoarder, there is always the danger to health in the form of feral pets or vermin that harbor disease causing germs. It is not uncommon to find all kinds of insect life, rodents, as well as animals sharing the property of a hoarder. In fact the danger to life is greater when dealing with animal hoarding as the cleaning is particularly dangerous. There is also the danger of being attacked by animals. Unless you are highly-trained, and or a certified professional, dealing with this kind of situation on your own is not advisable.

 

To Be Continued….

Hoarding among the Elderly is more common than you think

photo by StockSnap- https://pixabay.com/en/users/StockSnap-894430/

photo by StockSnap- https://pixabay.com/en/users/StockSnap-894430/

Visiting the home of an elderly person or senior citizen can be wonderful experience. Their homes can be a treasure trove of stories and items from an era which is quickly fading. However, more often than not, you will also come across a lot of unnecessary items among all the goodies. It can be a jungle out there!

It is difficult to fathom, why anyone would want to hold onto items that are years and even decades past their expiry date! And in a lot of cases, food and medication make it into that list. If you know an elderly person who has been holding on to things that are clearly of no value, chances are they are classic hoarders. What is truly sad is that most people are still largely unaware that hoarding is an actual disorder and that it is fairly common.

Common Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

  • Difficulty in letting go of personal possessions even if they don’t carry any value.
  • An overwhelming urge to continuously save items.
  • Clearly getting distressed at the thought of discarding personal possessions.
  • Extensive cluttering which impacts the functionality of the house/rooms.
  • No obvious connection between the hoarding behavior and any other medical condition or psychological disorder.

Understand the Condition, Before Offering to Help

As is the case with all psychological behavioral conditions, dealing with someone, especially a loved one with hoarding disorder takes a lot of understanding, patience and compassion. The effects of this disorder extend to the person’s emotional condition, physical condition, financial situation, and in certain cases there could be legal implications as well.

However, if you have an active awareness of the condition, the causes and symptoms of hoarding, you will find it easier to deal with someone with a hording disorder. If you can build a level of trust with the person, then convincing and encouraging them to opt for therapy, assisted living, or both can become easier.

Professional Hoarding Clean-up Services

The biggest problem when dealing with an elderly person with hoarding disorder is that in addition to all the clutter, the actual living conditions can be unhealthy and dangerous. Cleaning up the house of a hoarder is a herculean task. It is best that you seek the services of a professional hoarding clean-up services company. These are professionals who have the experience to deal with extensive hoarding and cluttering.

Professional hoarding clean-up technicians will first carry out an assessment of the situation and provide you with an estimate of the work involved.  De-cluttering a space can also reveal conditions where it is necessary to carry out property restoration. There might be a need to address conditions such as stains, mold damage, odor removal, among other biohazards. These technicians however, have the necessary tools and supplies to sanitize and restore the property to its former habitable condition once again.

Once the clean-up is complete, your hoarding clean-up services professional will also collaborate with the client and their families to ensure the problem of hoarding is actively addressed. Often, this involves working with trained professionals who can collectively ensure that the house remains clean after de-cluttering.