A Step-By-Step Guide To Helping A Hoarder Clean Out Their Home
Dealing With The Hoarder
Oftentimes, the cleanup process only begins after a hoarder dies. Although no one ever intentionally wants to burden their family and friends with a gigantic mess, hoarders are often powerless to do anything about it until it is too late.
If you are dealing with a case where the hoarder is still living, there are some important steps that you will need to take.
Enlist The Aid Of A Professional. No matter how agreeable the hoarder seems when you are starting out, their attitude can quickly change as the process gets underway. Even though their response may not be logical, the psychological factors that lead to hoarding can keep them from following through on the process even if they know that it would benefit them. Working with someone who is trained to deal with people who suffer from this condition can help the process go more smoothly. A lot of times, the person who suffers from hoarding behavior will become aggressive or angry. During these times, having professional help available is essential.
Get Additional Members Of Your Family Involved. Don’t try to help on your own. Instead, get as many people in your family involved in the process as possible. This can help the cleanup go more quickly while at the same time providing extra support for the hoarder. Make sure anyone involved in the process has read all of this information, as well, so that they know what to expect.
Understand When To Negotiate. Most hoarders will try to convince you that they need to keep certain items during the cleanup process. You should never negotiate with them when it comes to items that could pose a risk to their health such as waste products or food items. Allow the hoarder to keep a small number of items that are extremely important to them. With other items that are salvageable, talk to the hoarder about how the items will be able to benefit other people after being donated to charity.
Write Up A Contract Before Work Begins. Even though it may sound a little bit silly, it is worth creating a written contract between the hoarder and the friends or family members who are helping with the cleanup process. Having certain rules in writing can help keep arguments or misunderstandings from occurring. Make sure to let the hoarder know that you understand that the process will be challenging for them. At the same time, make it clear that you aren’t going to deviate from the plan that is in the contract. When you create the contract, you may want to include information on how many items they are allowed to keep. It should also clearly outline actions that are not allowed. For instance, you may want to include information about how the hoarder is not allowed to shift items from one area of the house to another. It should also include a description of the final objective that you hope to achieve.
The initial stages of the cleanup process are the most essential. Start by gathering everyone together and assigning them specific tasks. Make sure everyone is informed about how the process will take place.
Begin by cleaning up the area around the exit doors. That way, if there is an emergency, you can quickly get out of the space.
As items are removed, be sure to handle them as gently as possible. It is easy to get caught up in the cleaning process and lose sight of the fact that hoarders consider all of their belongings to be meaningful. Even if you view something as trash, it may be special to the hoarder and should be treated with respect.
The bathroom should also be at the top of your list. Oftentimes, bathrooms in homes where hoarders live are extremely unsanitary. Getting rid of potentially harmful waste early on in the process is always the best option. Plus, once you get the bathroom clean, you can use it as you continue working on the rest of the property.