At first glance, hoarding may start as a harmless collection of items, but it can quickly spiral out of control and turn into a dangerous situation. Hoarding can be dangerous to both the hoarder and those around them, as it poses significant health and safety hazards. If you have someone close to you dealing with hoarding, it's essential to know the right ways to help them. This blog post will provide you with tips, tools, and supportive ways to assist a loved one with hoarding and the restoration of their home.
Understand the Situation
Before jumping in to help, it's crucial to have a basic understanding of Hoarding Disorder. Hoarding is a mental health disorder that involves excessive accumulation and difficulty discarding possessions, resulting in cluttered living spaces. Hoarding is not a lifestyle choice but rather a manifestation of underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. Understanding the root cause can help you approach the situation with empathy and compassion.
Try to be empathetic and listen to their problems without judgment, and never shame them. Let them know that they can count on you to help them through the journey of recovering their lives and homes.
Try DIY Cleaning Tips and Techniques
Cleaning up a hoarded home can seem overwhelming, but there are several ways to make the process manageable. When providing hoarder help, always wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from bacteria and mold in the home. A simple plan to clean and disinfect the home may include:
- Creating a cleaning schedule over several weeks to avoid overwhelming the hoarder and yourself.
- Sorting items into categories: keep, donate, recycle, and throw away.
- Using storage bins or boxes for organizing items that need to be kept.
- Utilizing professional organizers or junk removal services to assist with decluttering.
Address Health Hazards
A hoarded home poses several health hazards, including mold, mildew, and bacteria buildup. Address these dangers by cleaning surfaces with bleach or antibacterial sprays. Be sure to check and clean air vents, replace air filters, and use dehumidifiers to keep the home’s moisture in check.
Keep in mind that hoarding is a naturally hazardous environment, and in some cases, it's best to seek professional help to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Encouraging a New Mindset
Hoarding is often linked to a fear of letting go and holding onto items for emotional reasons. As you work with the individual, encourage them to develop a new mindset towards their possessions.
- Remind them that it's okay to let go of things and create space for new memories and experiences.
- Suggest alternative ways to hold onto sentimental items, like taking photos or creating memory books.
- Help them find healthier coping mechanisms for their emotions, such as talking to a therapist or engaging in creative outlets.
Remember, recovery from hoarding is a journey, and it takes time and patience.
Provide Positive Support
Regular encouragement can help your loved one through the process of restoring their hoarded home. Offer ongoing support, offer to go to therapy sessions, and help them develop good cleaning habits by setting up a weekly cleaning schedule to keep the home free of clutter.
Additional Resources for Hoarder Help
For more information on hoarding disorder and how to help a loved one struggling with it, check out these resources:
- International OCD Foundation - Home
- Mental Health America - Home
- National Alliance on Mental Illness - Home
By educating yourself and others about Hoarding Disorder, we can work toward breaking the stigma. Remember to approach the topic with empathy, understanding, and patience.
Bio-One of Marion County Can Help
If the situation seems too daunting or dangerous, it's best to seek help from professional hoarding cleanup services like Bio-One for professional hoarder help. We are experienced in handling hoarding situations and can work with sensitivity and discretion to restore the home.
Bio-One of Marion County is a locally owned and operated biohazard and hoarding cleaning company serving Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. We specialize in all types of extreme cleaning, including blood and bodily fluids, decomposition/undiscovered death, crime scene, suicide cleanup, tear gas, feces/urine, rodent droppings, sewage backups, hoarding, gross filth, virus/bacteria disinfection and odor removal. Helping people get their lives back in order is our #1 priority.
Bio-One of Marion County is here to help you 24/7, 365 days a year! Call (317) 499-0614, and you'll speak directly to one of us when you call; there is never an answering service. We'll treat you like a person with the compassion and respect that you deserve.