What Are Hoarding Clean-Up Services Like?

Hoarding is not just the basis of a hit reality television show that airs on TLC — it’s a serious problem that many people are living with. Between five and 14 million people in the U.S. are compulsive hoarders. This disorder affects not only your physical environment, but also your mental state. Hoarding is not a one-size-fits-all disorder, as there are different levels of severity and various types of hoarders. To better educate yourself on this disorder, start an online search to learn about its signs and symptoms.

Compulsive hoarders need help cleaning their homes to overcome this problem. Luckily, there are cleaning services specifically designed to help people with hoarding. You can find out what’s involved with this process by searching online.

Here’s what you need to know about hoarding and clean-up services available.

What Is Hoarding?

It’s normal for people to hold onto items for a bit too long or live in a messy home from time-to-time. But if your home needs help beyond a quick tidy up, it might fall under the category of hoarding.

Hoarding is a disorder where people have high difficulty getting rid of possessions because of a perceived need to save them. Mayo Clinic explains that someone can experience distress at the thought of discarding them regardless of how much stuff there is or its actual value.

The severity of this disorder can vary from mild to extreme. Even more concerning, some may not even see it as a problem. It involves the gradual buildup of clutter in living spaces to the point where it’s noticeable to others.

Some common signs of hoarding are:

  • Building up clutter that makes rooms unusable;
  • Excessively acquiring unneeded items for which there’s no space, and;
  • Having a tendency toward indecisiveness, perfectionism, avoidance, or procrastination.

An extreme hoarder may have a home full of:

  • Disorganized piles;
  • Possessions that crowd up living spaces or deem them unusable;
  • Buildup of food or trash, and;
  • Unsafe living conditions.

Some people may even hoard animals. Serious cases of hoarding create a dangerous living environment that should be addressed with a doctor or mental health professional.

How Does a Hoarding Clean-Up Work?

Once a person realizes they have a problem, they can begin the cleaning process.

First, it’s important to understand the level of hoarding a person has in order to come up with a safe and productive cleaning plan. There are five levels of hoarding:

  • Level 1: Minor clutter with no issues of functionality.
  • Level 2: Home is still usable and there are open floor spaces, but horizontal surfaces are covered.
  • Level 3: Both horizontal surfaces and perimeters of room are filling up.
  • Level 4: Floors are starting to fill up and functionality is almost non-existent.
  • Level 5: Rooms cannot be entered, doorways are completely blocked, there are structural dangers to the home, and many other hazards and odors.

In addition to hoarding levels, you have to identify the type of hoarder you’re dealing with. Some hoard animals, books, garbage, food, recyclables, collections, or a combination of these items. Professional cleaners will help get rid of the hazardous waste and filth that builds up due to lack of hygiene.

When it comes to physical items, cleaners will organize a triage to sort through the contents. There will also be efforts to recover valuables and paperwork, deep cleaning, and other necessary aftercare resources. The cleaning method will ultimately be catered to each individual as companies offer various different services.

Professional hoarding clean-up services respect their clients and their privacy. The company you choose should be free of judgement and emphasize their goal of cleaning out your property. For example, Steri Clean Inc. uses discreetly marked vehicles and gives free photo estimates to customers.

The Cost of Hoarding Clean-Ups

It’s difficult to give anyone a clear estimate of the cost of hoarding clean-ups. Yahoo News says it costs an average of $10 per square foot for decluttering services. Of course, hoarding clean-ups will likely cost much more than your average cleaning service. The price varies due to a number of factors and will be different from person to person.

Some things that contribute to the cost of a clean-up include:

  • Size, location, and type of property;
  • Functionality of major amenities;
  • Method of disposal;
  • Materials to be disposed;
  • Sanitation supplies;
  • Number of crew members, and;
  • Time required to clean up.

Since there is no given price on hoarding clean-ups, see if companies will give you a free estimate. You will likely have to fill out an inquiry form and take photos of the house in order to receive an accurate estimate of the overall cost.

Search Online to Find Hoarding Clean-Up Services

You can learn more about compulsive hoarding by searching online. See what cleaning companies in your area offer hoarding clean-up services and ask if they can give you an estimate. Make sure to ask what’s involved in the process, so you can get an idea of what the cleaning crew will be doing when they come to your house.

If you or someone you know has a hoarding problem, seek help from a doctor or psychiatrist. The work for recovery is more than just cleaning up your household. It’s a disorder that also requires long term treatment.

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