8 Ways to Clean a Hoarder’s House – Simple Checklist

Unlocking the secret to change 

In our lifetime, we’ve all known a couple of people or maybe one person that has dislikes the idea of throwing away precious heirlooms or memorabilia.

Whether this is due to their resistance to change or simply because some are more materialistic than others, this can lead to an abundance of clutter that makes any home look unsightly and incredibly messy. Individuals with this tendency are called hoarders.

Picture this: You walk into your friend or relative’s home for a gathering and your friend asks you to help create a lively environment that will be more accommodating to guests.

If your friend is a hoarder, this can turn into a nightmare right out of a movie. You keep asking yourself how to clean a hoarder’s house but the truth is if you go about it in a disorderly fashion, it will only serve to frustrate and stress you out even more. 

Throwing away items seems easy but when it comes time to throw away heirlooms or objects that have a meaningful background to the owner, the topic can lead to heightened sensitivity from the owner. It is important that when you help in clearing a hoarder’s home that you work with the owner to ensure that the more meaningful items are kept in a more suitable place that won’t obstruct the hallways or clutter the home.

Cleaning a neglected house means that you will need to be organized in your approach as it will facilitate the clean-up faster. For this, we recommend making a hoarding cleaning plan so that cleaning can go more smoothly.

Removing clutter from room to room can take a lot of time if you’re not efficient or have no prior awareness of how to go about this task. Many will hire a home cleaning service, but for those who want to find out how to make this project faster here are 8 ways to clean a hoarder’s house:

1. Take It One Room At a Time!

Why is it easier to clean one room at a time as opposed to cleaning every part of the home at the same time?

When cleaning any home, many make the unfortunate mistake of deciding to clean many spaces at the same time. Not only can this lead to exhaustion due to the overwhelming abundance of tasks that every room can have, but also because you are misusing your energy and will probably leave some areas without cleaning.

Take It One Room At a Time

It is important to note that when you are working on a hoarder’s house, there will be tons of areas that need to be touched as it is likely that they are scattered or the hoarder doesn’t keep track of the items he collects in his home.

When you clean one room at a time, we recommend you order the rooms in terms of importance starting from the dirtiest and most cluttered room to get past the most difficult part.

2. Cleaning Supplies and Storage Boxes

Why is it important to have cleaning supplies and storage boxes when cleaning a hoarder’s home?

Cleaning a home means you will be emptying tons of objects and materials. This would also mean that due to removing these pieces, it could factor in a lot of dust and dirt which would need to then be tackled by cleaning. Before entering the war zone, it is wise to not be empty-handed.

cleaning-supplies-products

We recommend stocking up on cleaning supplies as well as bringing storage boxes to put away all the clutter and mess. Here are some of the cleaning supplies needed:

  • Boxes
  • Trash Bags
  • Cleaning mask (as it will get dusty)
  • Duster
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Step ladder
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Garbage can

It is extremely important that when you’re cleaning a hoarder’s home to have the appropriate cleaning gear on as there will be times where you will need to remove years of untouched objects that probably contain dirt, dust, or bacteria.

If there are big objects that need to be disposed of like furniture or other bigger items it is important to have a garbage bin or dumpster in your nearby area to easily dispose of these pieces. Otherwise, it will be an issue to remove them later on after cleaning as it will continue to take up space and spread bacteria to the clean environment.

3. Deep Clean After Removing Clutter

Why is it important to deep clean after throwing away and removing clutter?

When you’re emptying your home, the number one thing you can expect is a large amount of dust. There is no avoiding it as you will be uncovering layers and layers of untouched spaces that will more than likely have bacteria, dust, as well as grime. 

Deep Clean After Removing Clutter

It is important to be able to deep clean every area that storage is removed in so that these layers of grime can also go along with it. This will restore the home and transform the hoarder’s living space as if it were brand new.

We also recommend making a cleaning checklist to make sure that each room is thoroughly looked at and cleaned. With all of the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to have your focus fixated on everything at the same time. It would be beneficial to keep a list handy so when it comes time to deep clean, you’re aware of what needs to be touched without wasting time.

4. Be Careful of Hazards and Mold

Why is it important to take proper safety precautions when cleaning a hoarder’s home?

Cleaning a home filled with all sorts of objects, materials, and things can be excruciatingly painful if you aren’t careful. A house filled with objects can likely be messy and even have storage laying on the floor. Due to the unkempt nature of the home, there is a possibility that you could step on an object unknowingly or accidentally trip on one.

Be Careful of Hazards and Mold

For this reason, we suggest clearing out the objects in your home one room at a time. With your full focus on where you step, you will need to execute this cleaning project as safely as possible. We also suggest being careful with mold damages to the home.

When it comes to a hoarder’s home, the one thing you are destined to find in untouched spaces is mold. This is due to the accumulation of antiques or heirlooms that may not have gotten cleaned in a considerable amount of time.

That is why we suggest using a face mask for you and other people on the cleaning team so that the contaminated air doesn’t affect your lungs or breathing system. If you find mold, we recommend you take the following actions to prevent any damage:

  1. Do not touch – don’t try to remove the mold
  2. Wear a mask – wear a ventilator mask at all times
  3. Call a mold remedying company – best to leave this to professionals
  4. Overwhelming mold – make sure to seal off any room that is prone to mold infestation

When it comes to other cases such as pest infestations, it is important to locate where the infestation is coming from to tackle this issue.

5. Organize a Team to Help

Why is it important to have more than one person helping to clean a hoarder’s home?

Organizing a team can make cleaning in any house a slightly easier and quicker way to get done with such a laborious task. This is especially the case when it comes to a hoarder’s home. Due to the amount of work it takes to clear out an extremely cluttered and dust-filled home, it can be strenuous for those who decide to tackle this project alone. 

Make Home Cleaning a Group Activity

Although it may be hard to find eager helpers, we recommend asking a friend, relative, or acquaintance to help to fasten the tasks. There will also be moments where cleaning and organizing may require heavy lifting that wouldn’t be a wise idea to leave to one person to handle.

When you assemble a team, you can not only acquire the extra help needed to progress further but you can also improve your organizational methods. One or two people can help with moving the objects to different rooms if needed, while another team of people can go ahead and discard the items that need to be thrown away.

For those who have a hard time asking others for help, you can always hire professionals to come help whether it be a cleaning team or movers that can assist with the boxes so that you don’t have to worry about the excess weight or straining your back by moving the boxes alone.

6. Salvage The Necessary Items

How can you handle removing the necessary items from the throwaway items?

Believe it or not, one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to removing storage from a hoarder’s home is separating the necessary items from the items that are no longer needed.

Eliminate Clutter

Hoarders are synonymous with sensitivity when it comes to their materials as they have kept building on their collection due to the meaning that some of these items have in their lives or at least their perspective.

The person who is in charge of separating the items that are needed from that the items that need to be discarded also must work with the hoarder and persuade him/her to acknowledge that some of the items can be removed.

This takes a great deal of patience and resolve so that you can successfully get this job done without any hesitance from the hoarder. Once it’s discussed, you can start separating the necessary items from the items that need to be thrown away into piles.

For this task, we recommend that you look at the value of the object versus the practicality of it. If the object is an antique that brings a lot of meaning currently to the hoarder’s home, we suggest keeping those items and storing them in a more organized space. If the object is no longer meaningful and isn’t currently of value to the hoarder, we recommend throwing this item away.

7. Always Start With The Smallest Room

Why is it better to start with the smaller room when cleaning a hoarder’s home?

The smallest room in the house is easily the easiest room to build up clutter on. This is due to the size and the minimal occupancy that it can have. Since that space is smaller, the number of objects is likely to be more pronounced in this area.

Usually, the smallest rooms in a home tend to be the bathrooms. The bathroom is typically the place where you least have to worry about valuable items as it is more structured for practical use. This will also boost the team morale as it will influence a sense of progression due to the amount of thrown-away objects in this space.

After cleaning this room, it is important to sanitize the area and deeply clean as much as possible as the bathroom is the most likely place to be filled with bacteria or mold.

8. Empty All Rooms Before Cleaning

Why is this a helpful strategy when it comes to cleaning a hoarder’s room?

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the strategy of emptying the rooms before cleaning and organizing is more progressive as it will help to limit the search for all items in the room. This is a time managing method that will help advance the project that will aid in doing a more efficient job. 

Empty All Rooms Before Cleaning

To thoroughly clean each room afterward can be impossibly difficult if there is furniture or boxes in the way, this strategy will help in getting a good deep cleaning done so that it will be spotless and fresh.

The Final Result

Can these simple steps help clean a hoarder’s home more efficiently?

So, you ask yourself how to go about cleaning my hoarding room without having a plan or a list to go by. Well, the answer is simple, you can’t or rather it is impossibly complicated to do so.

By following this list of simple steps, you will easily make these tasks go by quickly as opposed to taking two or three days to dissolve all of the clutter and all of the dirt or dust. 

Once everything is accomplished the home will be transformed from a dirty mess to a polished and minimalistic home of their dreams. 


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