Learn How To Clean A Hoarder’s Home – Part 4
Handling The Helpers
Helpers are crucial to any hoard being successfully cleaned up quickly and easily. If you hire a business to help out, it’s, of course, good manners to be nice to everyone, but do remember that they are getting paid for this. On the other hand, if your team is full of volunteers, a few basic reminders can help the day go a lot more smoothly.
Equipment: Be sure everyone has the tools they need for the task at hand. As the leader, you need to be sure that everyone around you has safety gear, be it coveralls, masks, and gloves.
Offering Help And Breaks: Many of the individuals around you might just power right through the day, but you should make sure those that need to take breaks. When everyone has snacks or lunch, the whole day will go smoother. Morning coffee and all-day water keep people from letting tempers get the best of them. Anyone thirsty or under-caffeinated might have a bad day, and that’s going to spread.
Be Grateful: Make sure you thank everyone that does any work, regardless of when they wind up leaving or how long they contributed their day. Stop everything when you need to in order to make eye contact and thank them for their work. Cleaning out any hoard isn’t fun, and it’s usually hard work. Be sure that they know you appreciate what they have done.
Task Assignments: Have a list ready that helps organize everyone. Play to everyone’s strengths as they get workspaces and assignments. Those who are physically stronger should handle lifting and shoveling. If you know someone is good at sorting, have them help the hoarder in going through items. If you have someone clean, be sure they know which parts of a home are the ones they’re responsible for. Everyone needs specific functions instead of just being scooted in the door and being told to have at it.
Getting Things Going
It’s finally time to talk about doing actual clean up. Every situation is different, but there are few general guidelines you can use in most cleanups.
Open Up The Exits: As mentioned earlier, this one is a basic issue of safety. The doors have to be clear enough that everyone can get out in the event of an emergency or a fire. That’s the first thing which needs to happen, and as the leader, it’s on you to personally verify that everything is right before starting.
Establish A Staging Area: This is the area where a hoarder and workers sort everything out. You might want to pitch a tent to protect things and people from sun and rain. You’ll need a few items for this area, including tables, chairs, bins and boxes, and trash bags and cans.
Debris/Trash Area: The name says it all. It does need to be close enough that it’s convenient. Get recommendations from the business you rent a dumpster from. They can help you identify the right spot.
When a dumpster starts getting full, call them when the bin is close to three-quarters full. They can head out to replace it with a fresh one, minimizing workflow interruption.
If your work area is on top of the grass, you might need some kind of ground cover for the trash area. That’ll prevent any garbage from getting stuck in the yard only to get run through a mower later.
Electrical items and electronics need their own recycling area. You can’t put these in a dumpster given the mercury and other chemicals. Designate a space for recycling those differently.
Sorting Area: Everything will find new homes once it goes through the sorting area. The four primary areas for items will be the stuff that is kept, the trash, the recyclables, and donations. You might just discover a lot of things that could still be used and kept from the local landfill.
Trash: This is going to be garbage bags and cans.