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While the hoarder reality show fad seems to have passed, there are still thousands of people who suffer from this issue and need help digging themselves out from under it. There's a psychological and environmental component to hoarding, and both must be addressed if the affected person is to successfully overcome the problem. If you have a loved one who has begun working with a mental health professional and now needs help cleaning out their overstuffed home, here are two tips for getting the job done.
Prepare for the Day
It may be tempting to grab a trash bin and just start throwing things into it. However, the cleaning will go a lot better if you take a minute to assess the area and plan exactly how you will tackle the hoard. Additionally, you'll need to gather together supplies to help manage the unwanted items as well as clean while you de-hoard the home.
Though much of the hoard may be garbage, it's likely there will be things the person wants to keep. There may also be stuff that can be donated to charity or sold, with the money going towards offsetting some of the costs of cleaning the home. Large plastic containers are the best option for holding things the person wants to keep, donate, or sell. Be sure to get ones with handles for easy portability.
You'll want to rent a dumpster from a local company to hold all the trash and damaged/unusable furniture. The exact size you need depends on how big the home is, the amount of stuff it contains, and the amount of space available on the property to put the container. A 20-yard dumpster may be big enough for a small apartment, while a 40-yard trash bin may be a good size for a multi-story home. It's a good idea to get a rear-door dumpster to avoid having to lift large or heavy items over the side.
Other things you will need are gloves, masks, trash bags, a large paper shredder for destroying sensitive documents, strong antimicrobial cleaning supplies, brooms, mops, buckets, and sponges. It's best to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes you don't mind throwing away. You never know what you may step in when cleaning a hoarder's home.
Clearing the Home
Depending on the size of the hoard, it may take several days to completely clean the home. Therefore, the first thing that should be done is create a pathway through the clutter to each of the exits in the home. This will make it easier to move in and out of the space while the home is being decluttered, as well as increase safety. If something happens during cleanup (e.g. a fire breaks out), everyone needs to be able to reach an exit to get away from the danger.
The second area to tackle depends on the needs of the individual living in the space. If your loved one has nowhere to sleep or bathe, then cleaning out the bedroom and bathroom should be high on the list. However, if the kitchen is disaster with moldy food and pests running around, then cleaning out that area should be a priority. A kitchen in that condition represents a serious health risk.
During the clean-up process, your loved one may experience mood swings. It's not unusual for hoarders to feel motivated at first but then become angry, sad, or depressed as the possessions they've been holding onto are thrown or given away. Be patient and encouraging, and work at a pace that's most comfortable to him or her.
For more information about renting trash bins for clearing out an overstuffed home, contact a local dumpster rental company like Tri-State Disposal.Share
13 July 2016