Hoarder Cleanup

Six Things You Can Get Help With When Cleaning Up Hoarding

If you are faced with the task of cleaning up a hoarding situation, the sheer volume of objects in the home can be overwhelming. The good news is help is available to you. Below, we discuss six things you can get help with when cleaning up hoarding.

1. Therapy

One thing that’s important to recognize is that people who hoard are suffering from a recognized mental disorder. As such, getting appropriate therapy is crucial. Simply removing all their possessions will not fix the problem and may subject them to a great deal of emotional stress.

Here at ECOS, we work with the family and the therapist to ensure people are treated with respect throughout the process of returning their home to a healthy environment. If you or someone you love suffers from hoarding, reach out to a licensed therapist for help.

2. Cleaning Up With Respect To Feelings

When cleanup begins, it’s important to remember that the person suffering from hoarding experiences anxiety over parting with their possessions, even things that seem meaningless or like trash to others. Cleaning up after hoarding requires a specific process that respects that anxiety yet still restores the home to cleanliness.

At ECOS, we have over 12 years of experience cleaning up hoarding. We work with professionals and ensure that everyone is treated with respect and sensitivity throughout the process.

3. Sorting

While someone from outside the situation may look at a hoarded home as a giant pile of trash, for the person who hoards, it is all valuable in some way. As a result, necessary documentation, family heirlooms, and the like can be mixed in with other items or even trash.

Sorting through the items in the home is important so that items that are truly valuable are saved. Additionally, remember that the person who has hoarded must be involved in the process and able to make decisions. Forcefully removing a person’s possessions will cause emotional distress.

When you are ready to begin the process, having a professional cleaning company help will ease the burden and speed up the process of restoring the home.

4. Safety

An important consideration of cleaning up hoarding is the safety of everyone involved. Hoarding may mask structural problems, leaks, or dangerous mold. Additionally, there can be pathogens from large amounts of bacteria in the home.

A professional cleaning company has the equipment to handle the job safely. They will also recognize any problems that need to be addressed. Once the home is clean, any necessary repairs can be made by appropriate professionals.

5. Trash Removal

Often, there is a huge amount of trash in a home that has been hoarded. It’s far beyond what you can set out on the curb for pickup.

Getting help from a cleaning company keeps you from being overwhelmed with all the trash that has to be thrown away. A cleaning company can bag, remove, and haul all the trash away for you.

6. Repairs

Heavy furniture, piles of books, magazines, etc. can weaken a home’s structural integrity. Spills and leaks may cause beams and floors to rot. There can be pest invasions, as well. These are things beyond the average homeowner’s experience.

After cleaning, it’s important to restore the home to safety. For structural repairs, call a licensed contractor. If pests are a problem, reach out to a pest removal company for assistance.

Hoarding creates a daunting situation for both the people who hoard and their loved ones. Embarrassment may prevent people from calling for help, but help is available. If you or your loved one need help cleaning up after hoarding, consider giving ECOS a call.

You can learn more about our hoarding cleanup service here. Rest assured we will treat you and your loved ones with dignity.


The Environmental Hazard That Is Hoarding

Judging by the popularity of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, many of us have too much clutter in our homes. For about 2%-6% of the population, however, the clutter interferes with daily living.

Hoarding is now a recognized mental health disorder, in which a person accumulates excessive possessions and feels distress when parting with them. We have begun to recognize the emotional impacts of hoarding, but it’s important that we also think about how hoarding affects the environment.

Hoarding is a Community Health Issue

Hoarding can affect the air quality within a home. Many times, so much clutter builds up that it becomes impossible to properly clean. Irritants such as mold, dust, ammonia, and pet dander increase to unhealthy levels. That can lead to breathing problems for people who live in or visit the home.

The buildup of trash, food, and filth invites pests into the home. Fleas, rats, bedbugs, roaches, and the like may infest the property. The crowded conditions also make extermination more challenging.

Hoarding of all types can create exposure to disease, but animal hoarding is of particular concern. In such cases urine, feces, and sometimes even dead animals build up in the home. Diseases and parasites can spread to humans and become a threat to everyone in the area.

People who hoard often live in unhealthy conditions, with malfunctioning heating and cooling systems or broken appliances. They are too embarrassed to call a professional to help, so the situation only gets worse.

Emergencies and Disasters

Hoarding directly causes some emergencies. It may also prevent first responders from being able to help residents during an emergency or disaster. Additionally, hoarding puts neighbors at risk when it occurs close to other homes or apartments.

Hoarding creates a risk of fire due to clutter coming in contact with heat sources. Once a fire starts, the amount of flammable material causes it to burn hot and spread quickly. Burning materials may also release toxic fumes. Blocked pathways make it difficult for firefighters to enter the home. Residents also have trouble escaping, so many occupants die in such fires.

The weight of hoarded objects may weaken the structural integrity of the buildings that store them. Many homes are simply not designed to hold a lot of heavy things, like furniture and books. Spilled liquids, leaking roofs, or broken pipes may also damage the home. Over time, that can cause the building to collapse.


Obviously, all that stuff has to go somewhere. The objects that were hoarded impact the environment whether a home is cleaned out, lost to fire, or collapses. Rotting food releases methane gas. Plastic takes a very long time to break down. It is filling our oceans. Smoke from fires releases toxins and carbon dioxide. Improper sanitation may lead to contamination of water and soil. In short, hoarding affects us all.

We need a clean environment inside and outside of our homes to be healthy. It is in our best interests to address hoarding, but it must be done with care and compassion. Simply throwing away everything in a hoarder’s home will not solve the problem. Doing so without permission may ruin your relationship. It will always cause distress. In fact, the experience can be so traumatic, it is thought to have led to the death of some people.

If you or your loved ones need help with hoarding, give Ecos Environmental and Disaster Restoration a call. We will work with the family, therapist, and person suffering from hoarding. You can trust us to treat you with respect and compassion. We’ll discretely restore your property to a safe environment.

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