Hoarding cleanup can be an overwhelming physical and emotional task. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Prioritize safety first during the hoarding cleanup and be aware of any hazardous materials or sharp objects, like broken glass or rusty nails, that may be hidden within the hoarded items. If there is evidence of animal or human waste, pest infestations, or other health hazards, ensure that everyone is using the appropriate PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) like masks, gloves, and shoe covers. In the case of drastic conditions, consult your Hoarding Solutions Professional.
Set Realistic Expectations
Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning up, and understand that the process can be slow and may take longer than expected.
Create a Plan for The Hoarding Cleanup
Make a plan before you begin a hoarding cleanup, and break the process down into manageable steps. This will help you stay organized and focused.
Communicate with the Person(s) Living in the Home
If possible, communicate with the residents before starting the cleanup process, and try to understand their perspective. Respect their feelings and opinions, and involve them in the process as much as possible. It is helpful to show them that you and your team care especially about finding valuable, sentimental, or otherwise important items like official documents such as passports, home or auto titles, or account statements.
Cleaning up a house in this condition can be a big job, so don’t hesitate to ask for help from family, friends, or professionals like cleaners, organizers, or mental health experts.
Be Patient and Compassionate During the Hoarding Cleanup
People suffering from hoarding tendencies may have emotional attachments to their possessions and struggle with letting go of things. Be patient, understanding, and compassionate throughout the process. One helpful tip is what I call “Choose Three.” For example, say there are a total of 13 watering cans around the home and property of all different shapes, colors, and sizes. Prompt them to choose three to keep. It gives them options and they are not left feeling like the team is there to just throw away all their stuff. The process is already stressful enough. Striving for compromise can go a long way to reducing the general anxiety in the room.
Dispose of Items Properly
Before you begin the hoarding cleanup, be aware of the local laws and regulations regarding the disposal of certain items, such as hazardous materials or electronic waste.
Once the cleaning process is complete, check in with the person(s) affected with the disorder and continue to offer support as they adjust to their new living environment. Remember that cleaning up a hoarding house can be a long and difficult process, but with patience, compassion, and support, it is possible to create a safe and healthy living environment for those continuing to live in the home. For further help and information please check out our page on hoarding solutions or contact Maury Hammond at (281) 748-0055. Maury is a Hoarding Solutions Professional in Houston, Texas.