Hoarding disorder is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a mental health condition characterized by excessive accumulation of items, such as clothes, books, and other possessions, to the point where it interferes with daily life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding disorder affects between 2% to 6% of the population and can cause significant distress and impairment in social, occupational, and other areas of functioning.
Cleaning a hoarder’s house is important for several reasons: health risks, fire hazards, social isolation, legal issues, and the impact on the hoarder’s mental health. But it is a complex process that requires sensitivity, patience, and expertise. It involves removing clutter and debris and addressing the underlying psychological factors contributing to hoarding behavior. This blog post will discuss how to clean a hoarder’s house in one day.
Keynote: How to Clean a Hoarders House in One Day
To clean a hoarder’s house in one day:
- Get a team of helpers.
- Divide the space into sections.
- Sort items into keep, donate, and discard piles.
- Clean each section thoroughly.
- Dispose of trash/donations.
- Repeat until the whole house is done.
- Hire professionals for hazardous waste.
Cleaning a hoarder’s home requires proper preparation to ensure a safe and effective cleaning process. Here are some important steps to take before starting the cleaning process:
- Use of Protective Gear – It is important to wear protective gear, such as gloves, face masks, and goggles, to protect yourself from dust, mold, and other hazardous materials that may be present in the hoarder’s home. Protective gear can also protect you from potential injuries caused by sharp objects or broken glass.
- Checking for Hazardous Materials – Before starting the cleaning process, it is important to check for hazardous materials, such as chemicals, pesticides, or expired medication, that may be present in the hoarder’s home. These materials should be disposed of safely and according to local regulations.
Gathering Cleaning Supplies
- Trash Bags – Large, heavy-duty trash bags are essential for removing clutter and debris from the hoarder’s home. It is important to use bags that can withstand the weight and volume of removed items.
- Cleaning Agents – Cleaning agents, such as all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, and degreasers, are necessary for cleaning surfaces, floors, and walls. It is important to use non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning products that are safe for the hoarder and the environment.
- Gloves – Gloves protect your hands from dirt, germs, and other hazardous materials. It is important to use gloves that fit properly and are comfortable to wear for an extended period.
- Vacuum Cleaner – A powerful vacuum cleaner is essential for removing dust, dirt, and debris from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces. Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is important to prevent the spread of dust and allergens.
- Broom and Dustpan – A broom, dustpan or sponges are useful for sweeping up debris and dust from hard surfaces, such as floors and countertops. It is important to use a broom with soft bristles to avoid damaging delicate surfaces.
- Face Masks – Face masks can help protect against airborne particles and odors that may be present in the hoarder’s home. It is important to use masks that fit properly and provide adequate protection.
- Boxes and Containers – Boxes and containers can be used to sort and organize items that the hoarder is keeping. It is important to use boxes and containers that are sturdy and labeled for easy identification.
- Label Maker – A label maker can be helpful for labeling boxes and containers, making it easier to find specific items in the future.
- Mops and Buckets – Mops and buckets are useful for cleaning floors and hard surfaces. It is important to use a mop with a removable, washable head to avoid spreading dirt and germs.
- Scrub Brushes – Scrub brushes can be used to clean stubborn stains and grime from surfaces, such as tiles and grout. It is important to use brushes that are appropriate for the surface being cleaned to avoid causing damage.
- Storage Bins and Shelves – Storage bins and shelves can be used to store items that the hoarder is keeping. It is important to use sturdy and durable storage options that can withstand the weight of the items being stored.
Categorization is an essential part of the cleaning process when dealing with a hoarder house. It involves sorting items into different categories based on their usefulness, value, and sentimental value. According to a study published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, effective categorization is a critical component of successful hoarding treatment, as it helps to reduce clutter and promote organization.
Steps to Categorize Items
Sorting Items into Three Categories – The first step in categorizing items is to sort them into three categories: Keep, Donate/Sell, and Discard.
- Keep – Items that are useful, valuable, or sentimental should be kept. It is important to limit the number of items kept to those that are truly important and necessary. The hoarder and their family members can work together to decide which items to keep based on their needs and the available space.
- Donate/Sell – Items that are in good condition but are no longer needed can be donated or sold. This can be a great way to give back to the community while also reducing clutter in the hoarder’s home. Donating or selling items can also help the hoarder let go of their possessions and feel good about helping others.
- Discard – Items that are broken, expired, or have no practical use should be discarded. It is important to dispose of these items safely and according to local regulations. Discarding items can be difficult for the hoarder, but it is essential to reduce clutter and create a safe living environment.
Creating Piles for Each Category
Once items have been sorted into the three categories, it is important to create piles for each category. Here are some tips for creating piles:
- Use clear, labeled boxes or containers for each category to make it easier to identify and sort later.
- Separate sentimental items from practical items to avoid confusion.
- Store items that are being kept in labeled boxes or containers, and make sure they are easily accessible and organized.
- Discard hazardous materials, such as chemicals or old electronics, safely and according to local regulations.
Executing the cleaning process for a hoarder’s house can be overwhelming, but breaking it down into manageable steps can make it easier. Here are some tips for executing the cleaning process:
Starting with the Easiest Category
Tips for Decision Making – Making decisions about what to keep, donate/sell, and discard can be challenging for hoarders. Here are some tips for making decisions:
- Consider the item’s usefulness and practicality.
- Ask yourself when was the last time you used or needed the item.
- Consider the available space and storage options.
- Ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member.
- Seek professional help from a therapist or organizer if necessary.
Assigning a Specific Area for Each Pile – It is important to assign a specific area for each pile to avoid confusion and keep the process organized. Use labeled boxes or containers for each category and assign a specific area in the hoarder’s home for each pile.
Cleaning the Keep Pile
Tips for Organizing – Here are some tips for organizing the keep pile:
- Sort items by category, such as clothing, books, or kitchen items.
- Use storage solutions, such as shelves, drawers, and closet organizers, to maximize space and keep items organized.
- Label each box or container with the contents for easy identification.
- Use clear, stackable containers to save space and make it easier to see what’s inside.
- Store sentimental items in a special area to avoid getting lost or damaged.
Proper Storage Solutions – It is important to use proper storage solutions to keep the keep pile organized and easily accessible. Consider using shelves, drawers, and closet organizers to maximize space and keep items in their proper place.
- Finding Donation Centers or Buyers – Finding the right donation center or buyer for items can be challenging. Consider local charities, thrift stores, or online marketplaces to donate or sell items.
- Packaging and Labeling – It is important to properly package and label items for donation or sale. Use clear, labeled boxes or containers and include a list of contents for easy identification.
- Types of Waste Disposal – Proper waste disposal is essential for creating a safe and clean living environment. Consider local regulations and options for waste disposal, such as recycling centers or hazardous waste disposal facilities.
- Safety Measures – It is important to take safety measures when handling hazardous materials or large items. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and masks, and use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury.
Cleaning the House as the Process Goes On
Tips for Cleaning as You Go – Here are some tips for cleaning as you go:
- It is a good idea to look for dead animals and pests and get rid of them immediately.
- Sweep or vacuum debris as you remove items to avoid creating a mess.
- Clean up surfaces as you clear them to avoid spreading dust or allergens.
- Wipe down shelves and drawers before putting items back in place.
- Disinfect surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, to prevent the spread of germs.
- Use air purifiers or open windows to improve air quality.
Cleaning After Completing Each Category – After completing each category, take the time to clean the area thoroughly. Sweep or vacuum floors, wipe down surfaces, and disinfect as needed. This will help create a clean and safe living environment as you continue cleaning.
After completing the cleaning process for a hoarder’s house, it is important to inspect the house, sanitize it, and maintain cleanliness to prevent hoarding from happening again. Here are some tips for finalizing the cleaning process:
Inspection of the House
Checking for Missed Items – It is important to do a final walkthrough of the hoarder’s house to check for missed items. Here are some items to include in your checklist:
- Cabinets, drawers, and closets
- Underneath furniture and appliances
- Attic and basement
- Outdoor areas, such as the garage or patio
Spot Cleaning – Spot cleaning involves cleaning specific areas or spots that may have been missed during the cleaning process. Here is a guide for spot cleaning:
- Identify areas or spots that need cleaning, such as stains or spills.
- Use appropriate cleaning agents for the surface being cleaned.
- Scrub the area gently with a brush or cloth.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with water.
- Dry the area with a clean cloth.
Sanitizing the House
Disinfecting Surfaces – It is important to disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Here is a guide for disinfecting surfaces:
- Use a disinfectant spray or wipe that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Spray or wipe the disinfectant on surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs, and light switches.
- Let the disinfectant sit for the recommended time on the label.
- Wipe the surface with a clean cloth or let it air dry.
Removing Odors – Odors can be a persistent problem in hoarder’s homes. Here are some tips for removing odors:
- Use an air purifier to improve air quality.
- Use baking soda or charcoal to absorb odors.
- Use odor-neutralizing sprays or candles.
- Open windows and doors to let fresh air in.
Tips for Preventing Hoarding from Happening Again – Maintaining cleanliness and preventing hoarding from happening again is crucial for the hoarder’s wellbeing. Here is a step-by-step guide for preventing hoarding:
- Identify the root cause of hoarding behavior and seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling.
- Establish a regular cleaning routine to maintain cleanliness.
- Avoid purchasing unnecessary items or bringing in new items without getting rid of old ones.
- Use a one-in, one-out rule for new items brought into the home.
- Regularly sort and categorize items to prevent clutter from accumulating.
Scheduling Regular Cleaning – Scheduling regular cleaning can help maintain cleanliness and prevent hoarding from happening again. Consider working with a professional cleaning service that specializes in hoarding disorder to create a regular cleaning schedule that meets your needs.
Read more: How to Clean a Hoarder’s Kitchen?
Cleaning a hoarder’s house can be a daunting task, but it is essential for creating a safe and comfortable living environment. It is also important to seek professional help if the hoarder struggles with hoarding disorder. Professional cleaning services specializing in hoarding disorder can also provide support and guidance for the cleaning process.
Cleaning a hoarder’s house can be an emotional and challenging process, but it is essential for creating a safe and comfortable living environment. It is important to approach the cleaning process with patience, understanding, and respect for the hoarder and their belongings. By following the tips outlined in this guide and seeking professional help if necessary, you can ensure a safe and effective cleaning process that promotes healing and recovery for the hoarder.
Know more: What to Do with A Hoarders House?
Cleaning a Hoarder’s House in One Day (FAQs)
Where to start cleaning a hoarder’s house?
When cleaning a hoarder’s house, it’s best to start with a small area or room and work systematically. It’s important to sort items into categories such as keep, donate, and discard, and use storage solutions to organize the keep items. It’s also important to prioritize safety and wear protective gear, especially when dealing with potential hazards such as mold or pests. Finally, it’s crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding towards the hoarder’s feelings and seek professional help if needed.
Is it possible to clean a hoarder’s house in one day?
Cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day is possible, but it depends on the severity of the hoarding and the amount of clutter. In most cases, cleaning a hoarder’s house thoroughly may require more time and effort than one day.
How can I help a hoarder clean their house in one day?
To help a hoarder clean their house in one day, you can enlist the help of a professional cleaning service or organize a team of friends and family members. It’s important to approach the situation with sensitivity and respect for the hoarder’s possessions and feelings.
What are the biggest challenges when cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day?
The biggest challenges when cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day are the overwhelming amount of clutter, potential health hazards, and emotional distress for the hoarder. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and focus on decluttering and organizing rather than deep cleaning.
How long does it take to clean a hoarder’s house?
The time it takes to clean a hoarder’s house varies depending on the hoarding level and the home’s size. It can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, or even months, to clean a hoarder’s house thoroughly.
How do you help a hoarder clean their house?
To help a hoarder clean their house, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and patience. Work with the hoarder to develop a plan and tackle small tasks one at a time. Encourage the hoarder to seek professional help if needed.
Is it safe to clean a hoarder’s house in one day?
Cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day can pose potential health and safety risks, such as exposure to mold, bacteria, and hazardous materials. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and take precautions, such as wearing protective gear and hiring professional cleaners.
How to deal with the emotional toll of cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day?
Cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day can be emotionally taxing. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals. It’s also important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding towards the hoarder’s feelings.
How to keep a hoarder’s house clean after cleaning it in one day?
To keep a hoarder’s house clean after cleaning it in one day, it’s important to establish a maintenance plan and set boundaries. Encourage the hoarder to seek professional help and attend therapy to address the root cause of hoarding.
How can I clean my friend’s hoarder house in one day without hurting their feelings?
To clean your friend’s hoarder house in one day without hurting their feelings, approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Communicate your concerns and offer support and resources to help your friend address the root cause of hoarding.
What are some eco-friendly cleaning solutions for cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day?
Some eco-friendly cleaning solutions for cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day include using natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, opting for reusable cleaning cloths instead of disposable ones, and avoiding harsh chemicals.
What are some ethical considerations when cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day?
Some ethical considerations when cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day include respecting the hoarder’s possessions and feelings, prioritizing safety and well-being, and seeking the hoarder’s consent before discarding any items.
What are some effective techniques for cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day while minimizing the risk of re-hoarding?
Some effective techniques for cleaning a hoarder’s house in one day while minimizing re-hoarding risk include working with the hoarder to identify and prioritize essential items, setting clear goals and timelines, and developing a maintenance plan to prevent clutter from building up again. It’s also important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding and seek professional help if needed.
Perry is a certified professional housekeeper and cleaning specialist with over 15 years of experience. She has worked in a variety of settings, including homes, offices, and hospitals. Her focus is on providing thorough, professional cleaning that meets specific needs.