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According to The recovery village, “People living with hoarding disorder compulsively collect objects, animals or trash to the extent that it impacts their relationships, health and overall well-being. Currently, researchers believe compulsive hoarding affects 1 in every 50 people, but it may impact as many as 1 in every 20. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Massachusetts, up to 5 percent of the world’s population displays symptoms of clinically-diagnosable hoarding.”

When the safety of those living in a home affected by hoarding is affected, it is necessary to dive in and clean up in order to protect the occupants. But like we explained in last week’s blog, sometimes DIY isn’t the best idea! Here are 6 important steps to cleaning up a hoarding mess that professionals take to ensure your safety.

  1. Getting the right gear. Workers need to wear protective gear when cleaning up to guard against illness and bacteria. Their accessories should also include a first-aid kit, a flashlight for dim areas, a fire extinguisher, and insect repellent.
  2. Setting the stage. A ‘staging area’ or an open space is needed to temporarily move items out of the home for cleaning. Usually a front or back yard serves excellently, but there should also be room for a large dumpster to dispose of trash and unwanted items.
  3. Preparing supplies. Cleaning equipment is a necessary part of getting rid of the dirt and grime that can build up in, around, and beneath items in a hoarding situation. Workers will need heavy-duty garbage bags, cleaning agents, disinfectants, and cleaning tools like rags, mops, and buckets.
  4. Emptying. Workers should begin dealing with the mess starting closest to the exit in case of an unforeseen emergency. Items and trash are removed from top to bottom, and the work is gradually moved further into the house as more rooms are cleared.
  5. Sorting contents. Not everything in a hoarding situation can simply be thrown into the trash or taken to the dump. Items like paint or propane tanks must be disposed of according to local regulations, and regular trash should be properly bagged. Items that can be saved should be sorted out separately for donation, or to keep.
  6. Repairing the home. After the entire home has been sorted through as well as cleaned, any necessary repairs must be done. This could be as small as painting spots on the walls or as serious as re-carpeting or restoring areas that have suffered water or mold damage. Once this is complete, all the appropriate items can be disinfected and returned to the home.

If you have further questions about home cleanup and restoration, please contact the Flood Medix! We’re happy to lend you our expertise to help get your home back in order, no matter how big the job.