Environmental Remediation - Hoarding 

Hoarding is acquired clutter that prohibits functionality in the home.

Functional areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and dining rooms cannot be used for their intended purpose. There are 5 levels of hoarding, 1 being minor clutter and 5 being blocked rooms, pathways, animal/human waste, limited ingress and egress, etc.

Research has shown that object hoarding behavior typically begins at around age 13, although animal hoarding behavior usually begins in adulthood. On average, people seek behavioral health intervention at age 50. Approximately 5% or nearly 15 million Americans are sufferers of this complicated mental health problem. Right now, compulsive hoarding is considered by many researchers to be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many people with compulsive hoarding do not recognize how bad the problem really is; often it is a family member who is most bothered by the clutter.

Remember, most of all, you are dealing with an adult who has freedom of choice about his or her own possessions. A hoarder might be afraid to waste anything. Or he may be such a perfectionist that he simply can't start sorting through piles of useless things for fear he may not do it exactly right. Hoarding can be an indicator of an intense sense of responsibility or fear of making a mistake.

A landlord of a person with a hoarding disorder must first make them aware of the safety and health issues and give them time to make improvements. If there is a violation of fire, building or health ordinances or damage to structure, floors or walls, they can be evicted. There are now laws set up to protect the persons with the mental illnesses so they can get the proper help to address the problem and not be discriminated against. The landowner also has rights to protect his investment but must follow the correct procedures.

Creating a Strategy to Clean:

  • Assess the situation and position the hoarder in the yard or by the door
  • Start presorting piles for their approval — donate, trash, sell, keep
  • Sanitize the worst areas first
  • Get a drop box from a waste disposal company to help deal with major junk items
  • Possibly get a portable storage unit for items they can't part with
  • Try to gain trust, the more you do right the more trust you gain and the quicker the process