Hoarding is a mental disorder. And there are several causes, one of which may be stress. You might find yourself keeping a few things that the world at large considers trash. These items include clothes, old newspapers, plastic bags, old unusable appliances, among others. Hoarding might interfere negatively with your social life, thus, making you unable to comfortably carry out your day-to-day activities. While hoarding tendencies may be a bit hard to stop at once, regular cleanup exercises might just help minimize the effects of hoarding. And you can hire a professional service to help you with hoarding cleanup quite easily.
During the process, you can choose to do it yourself or hire a team of professionals. They might help you with the entire process. If you are boarding the DIY train, then below is the ultimate guide to your cleanup extravaganza.
Thoroughly Assess the Situation and Come Up With a Strategic Plan
Hoarding is not something that happens in a single day. A hoarder tends to find value in things other people might consider junk. The items keep on accumulating. Then you remain with a pile of useless things you can’t part with. This is because of fear of losing something important. Accumulation of clutter in turn renders everyday activities impossible.
There are many facets when it comes to hoarding. It could be a single room with junk the size of Mount Everest, or an entire house bursting at its seams with clutter. Whichever the case, you must first assess the situation and come up with a bullet-proof strategy that will make the living area compete with Buckingham palace. Your top priority should be having a solid exit plan in case of fire outbreaks and other hazards that may occur.
You should also clear out common pathways to ensure that no one else trips and falls. Security remains a number one priority.
Gather Supplies for the Hoarding Cleanup
Every knight in shining armor deserves a flaming sword, right? You also need the appropriate cleaning equipment and tools when it comes to a hoarding cleanup. The cleaning equipment, as the name suggests, are ideal for cleaning and sanitizing the space while various tools can be helpful when it comes to disassembling and carrying out repairs. Some of the common cleaning supplies are as given below.
- Heavy duty trash bags
- Empty cardboard boxes
- Gloves, masks and a first aid kit.
- All-purpose cleaners and disinfectants
- Brooms, dustpans and vacuum cleaners
- Buckets, mops, sponges and cleaning cloths
Create the Staging Area
Lights, camera, action? Not that kind of stage. A staging area is a free open space or room that provides temporary storage for the salvageable items during the hoarding cleanup process. If you have access to the outside then you can use your lawn, or you can clean a large room that acts as the staging area while you continue with the cleanup. Here you can have boxes labeled keep, recycle or donate to help you with the sorting process.
Keep in mind that some doors may be partially or fully blocked therefore you could be at risk in cases of fire outbreaks as you won’t have a safe escape.
Every great voyage begins with a small step. As a hoarder, you might find it hard to part with some of your items at once. Most hoarders develop anxiety related issues. In case this happens in the middle of a hoarding cleanup process, fret not. Take a deep calming breath and forge on.
While clearing the entire house might be the end goal, having smaller attainable goals ensures that they don’t get easily overwhelmed. You should consider setting small precise goals that you can accomplish in a day. You can start with a small room like the bathroom where there’s very little to no items with sentimental value. Starting with the bathroom also ensures that you have access to clean running water and soap.
After identifying the salvageable items from the clutter, you can now sort them into items you would like to keep and items you would like to donate to a charity of your choice. You should always take extra precaution when you are browsing through pieces of paper as they may just be precious financial and legal documents.
But before you decide you are keeping or donating something, you should ensure that the items are in good condition with minimal repairs needed. It should also be free from contamination thus guaranteeing your safety while cleaning.
Deep Cleaning and Repair
After the living space has been dusted and furniture moved out, you can now begin an all intensive deep cleaning routine and carry out some repairs too. You should start by finding any broken pieces of furniture, creaking floorboards, faulty stairways and repair them before you can deep clean.
Keep in mind that a hoarding cleanup not only involves cleaning but also sanitization to ensure the space remains safe and habitable
While the hoarding cleanup process might be therapeutic for you, always ensure that you put your safety above everything else. You might encounter biohazards, rodent infestations, molds and mildew while cleaning your space. It is much safer to hire a biohazards cleanup company to help get rid of them.