It’s one thing to watch a TV show about hoarders and attempts to clean their homes. It’s another thing altogether to be the one who has to do it. If you’ve never dealt with hoarding or the effects it can have on a house, the impact can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re trying to sell that house. It’s not a fun process, especially since you’re likely dealing with someone who has their own anxieties and issues that led to this point. Not only are you trying to sort out a house but you’re also likely to have to deal with the emotional ramifications as well.
So where should you start when cleaning a hoarder’s house? If you’d rather try to clean it than sell it as-is to a real estate investor, there are some very key things you’ll want to do right up front so that the entire process goes as smoothly as possible. The more you can focus on getting these crucial steps correct, the more likely you’ll be able to proceed without any major surprises beyond whatever is waiting to be discovered under all of the piles inside.
Where to Start Cleaning a Hoarder’s House In Milwaukee
Understand the Hoarder
Before you do anything in the actual house itself, you’ll want to try to take stock of the hoarder, what’s going on in their life, and how things got this way. This person is clearly dealing with something, be it anxiety, trauma, or some kind of disorder. Decluttering and cleaning the house is critical but attempting to help this person understand their issues and resume a daily routine that doesn’t lead to hoarding is extremely important, especially if they are going to remain in the house. Don’t come at them negatively or with a sense of anger over what’s happened. Instead, earn their trust and have some respect for whatever this person is going through. If possible for them to be involved in the clean-up, work with them to make that happen. Of course, there are specialists who can better deal with the mental and emotional aspects of the condition, but whatever you can do to put them at ease and to help them understand that they’re not in trouble is key.
Assess the House
Once you’ve got the hoarder on your side or out of the way, it’s time to focus on the house itself. The worst thing you could do is just head inside and start grabbing things at random. You’ll want to try to figure out exactly what you’re dealing with as much as possible. There is what you can see and there is what you can’t see, so you’ll want to figure out how to change that. Also remember that there could be dangerous substances lurking around the house, including mold, decaying animals, bacteria, and more. Once you have a better sense of what you need to do, prioritize what’s the most important. Then, figure out how much time and help you’re going to need for each task, be it clearing out junk to disposing of trash to cleaning entire rooms.
Get Some Help
Because of all the risks that a hoarder’s house can pose, especially to someone who has never dealt with one before, it’s essential that you enlist the help of those who understand what to do. There are aspects to cleaning a hoarder’s house that you might not even consider beyond cleaning. You’ll likely need strong people to carry out large items. You’ll need multiple people to help make the work go faster. You’ll need someone who is an expert on repairs. You’ll want someone who understands organization and efficiency to help ensure this doesn’t happen again. You’ll also need to make some tough decisions about items that have sentimental value either to you or the hoarder.
First thing, reach out to friends and family who can help you with some of these aspects of the cleaning process. They can help you make critical decisions and keep the process moving. However, if you’re likely to be dealing with biological contamination, structural issues, or general health concerns, you’re really going to want to consider bringing in a professional hoarding cleaning service who understand exactly how to deal with these things. They’ll know how to assess any issues you can’t see or didn’t think of. They’ll also know how to deal with the mess and do the job as quickly as possible. Working with professionals will cost some money but it means saving yourself a lot of time and energy.
Get Your Gear
If you’re going to be involved in the cleaning of a hoarder’s house, you’ll want to make sure you have all the equipment you need early on so that you’re not constantly starting and stopping in order to identify new tools. There are some pretty basic things you’ll want to make sure you have, including enough disposable gloves, dust masks, goggles, and strong boots or shoes. And you’ll probably want multiple of each of those as you’ll probably go through quite a few.
Some other items you are going to want to have handy include flashlights, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, some kind of pest spray or repellent, and protective gear that will come in handy when dealing with hazardous materials.
Sort Your Supplies
Also, consider supplies that you’ll need related to cleaning and clearing. You can’t just show up with some paper towels and cleaning spray. You’ll need to stock up on trash bags, empty boxes, extra-strength cleaning products, mops, wet wipes, sponges, vacuum cleaners, shovels, paint, and ladders. You’ll want to bring hand tools and power tools as well to deal with any damage you uncover.
One extra item that some people don’t think of is a dumpster. Depending on how much garbage and junk you’re going to need to get rid of, a couple of trash cans isn’t gonna cut it. You’ll want to rent a dumpster and park it right outside so you can easily transport everything to it without creating a secondary mess.
Ultimately, you can avoid all of the hassles and costs that come with cleaning up a hoarder’s house by selling it as-is to a real estate investor like Cream City Home Buyers. They’ll make you a competitive cash offer and won’t require you to do any cleaning yourself. They’ll handle the hard work and leave you to move on to easier things.