How To Help A Hoarder

Thursday 13th July 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Room in a hoarder's home CONTENTS

If one of your loved ones suffers from hoarding disorder, it can be very frustrating to try and convince them that they need to clear out their property. Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as getting rid of the excessive number of possessions they have acquired.

At ICE Cleaning, we offer discreet and sensitive hoarder cleaning services. Our technicians are biohazard specialists that can clear and dispose of all unwanted possessions, and decontaminate the property. They are available wherever you are in the UK, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Read on to find out how to support a hoarder and clear out their property.

Don’t force a clear out

Although it is tempting to start removing the hoarder’s belongings for them, this will not help the situation, and could even make it worse. Hoarding disorder is a mental health problem which makes throwing away possessions difficult because someone feels a need to save them.

It can be a disorder on its own or a symptom of another problem like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. Before you consider clearing out their home, you need to help them tackle what is causing them to keep so many things.

Making them clear out their home or doing it for them can be very upsetting and may cause them to isolate themselves.

Help them seek treatment

There are plenty of programmes, support groups, and therapists that can help people work through hoarding disorder. Once they no longer feel the need to save possessions, they will stop hoarding and consider clearing out their belongings.

Encourage them to go to the GP who should be able to advise on the help they require, such as referring them to a mental health team. It is also recommended you educate yourself about hoarding disorder to ensure you can support them properly through this process.

Is there free help for hoarders?

There are lots of organisations that can offer support including Help for Hoarders, Hoarding Disorders UK, Hoarding UK, and Rainbow Red.

Talk to them in a respectful way

Don’t refer to their possessions as “clutter” or “junk” as they will have a strong connection to their belongings. By showing you understand how they view their possessions, they should be more likely to open up to you.

A lot of hoarders are also very ashamed or embarrassed about their home. Touching or moving their belongings without their permission, or being disrespectful about their property will make them feel worse. It could even make them more reluctant to seek support.

Include them when contacting the authorities

In some extreme cases, you may need to involve social services, the council, or the RSPCA if someone is hoarding animals. Make sure you discuss this with your loved one first as they will feel like they helped make the decision and may be more open to help.

If there is a serious risk to someone’s safety, you should consider contacting the authorities without their permission.

Don’t attempt hoarder cleaning yourself

Even if the hoarder is open to getting rid of their possessions, you must not do this yourself. Hoarder homes can be very dangerous to be in and could put you at risk of injuries or health problems. Clearing out such a property is particularly hazardous.

Hoarder’s belongings are often poorly organised and could be stacked up high in unstable piles. Moving these possessions may cause them to fall on top of you, injuring and potentially trapping you. You might also trip over items left on the floor.

Their property may be very unhygienic as it is hard to thoroughly clean a hoarded home, too. Hoarders’ homes provide the perfect conditions for mould and pest infestations, both of which cause  serious health issues should you be exposed to them without personal protective equipment (PPE).

There may be lots of fire hazards in the property, such as stacks of flammable debris like newspapers which can enable a fire to grow and spread quickly, as well. It might be difficult to escape a hoarder property quickly in the event of a fire.

Bring in professional cleaners to clear out a hoarder’s property

Specialist cleaners have the PPE and expertise to clean and decontaminate a hoarder’s home safely and carefully. They will also be able to provide any other services that may be required, like mould removal, odour neutralisation, and pest control.

Professionals will have the experience to discreetly and sensitively deal with the difficult situation, too, to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Get in touch

Our technicians can clear out any property, no matter how many belongings need to be disposed of, nor how dangerous the property is. They can remove all biohazardous waste and deep clean unsanitary environments, restoring the property to how it was before.

Contact our friendly team today to find out more about our hoarder house cleaning services today on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

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