Hoarder cleaning checklist that helps hoarding clean up

Hoarder cleaning is quite a complicated job on so many different levels. If you are going to do it the first time you might face many obstacles. Usually, the hoarded house is full of unnecessary things, but if you think there is something hazardous, then you can take help of professional someone instead of doing it yourself.

If your house is full with junk item and that you don’t want to keep and even can’t be donated then you should take help from junk removal service. Once the stuff is out of your house, then you can start cleaning yourself, and it will be quite easy if you haven’t any problem with dirt work.

If you decide to do it own, you should take some preparation to make the cleaning process easy as much it possible. For your convenience, here we listed a checklist to make you ready so that you can meet up the hoarder cleaning challenge easily. Let us see.

Hoarder cleaning checklist

Hoarder cleaning checklist

If you decide to take the hoarder cleaning challenge and to go to attempt it very soon then make a list of equipment that you might need beforehand. If all the necessary equipment is in hand, the cleaning work will be much, and you need not stop working for any particular material. Let us see the cleaning checklist where you must include the following tools and equipment.

  • Heavy duty trash bags: Hoarder’s house is such a type of place where you will get plenty of rubbish to remove for cleaning purpose. Heavy duty trash bags are essential to through these junk out.
  • Empty box: You will find the number of such things that you don’t want to dispatch. Take some empty box to store such type items.
  • Buckets and mops:  To remove the last piece of dirt, you should wipe your entire place. It is essential to arrange buckets and mops.
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    All–purpose cleansers/ disinfectants: For deep cleaning you might needs other cleaning items. Make an arrangement of your all–purpose cleansers/ disinfectants in some extra amount.
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    Sponges/ wipes/ soft cleaning cloths: Keep aside some sponges/ wipes or soft cleaning cloths. These are necessary to remove extra darts.
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    Broom/ Dustpan: Broom and dustpan will be needed to complete your store cleaning work better.
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    Vacuum cleaner: Vacuum cleaner is the essential equipment for hoarding clean up. Find the best vacuum cleaner depend on your floor. If you are going to use it the first time, then try to learn the best way to vacuum your house.
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    Step ladder: It is essential equipment for making easy your hoarder cleaning job. Various styles are available of a step ladder in the market. Choose your one according to your hoarder height and loaded garbage.
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    Shovel: Include one or two pieces shovel in your hoarder cleaning checklist also. Remember you are to throughout plenty of trash so shovel undoubtedly necessary item.
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    A set of hand tools: Do not forget to take a set of hand tools. You never know which tools you may need until you face any problem. So you need to arrange all the possible instruments in advance.
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    Extra bags if necessary: Include some extra bags in your hoarder cleaning checklist. You may need it for thorough out the junk.
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    Self-protecting items: Your safety is the primary consideration of the complete cleaning process. Collect the following items regarding your safety: Apron, smock, or uniform, Mask, Gloves, Goggles, Fire extinguisher, repellent spray, first-aid kit

​The checklist can be long more depending on your cleaning strategy and the situation of the hoarder’s house.

How to clean a hoarder’s house

Clean hoarders house

As we already said that hoarder cleaning is just like a challenge, you must have a comprehensive hoarding clean up strategy. Here we are going to share with you a complete cleaning strategy. It is a comprehensive and coordinated strategy which will ensure that the task of cleaning the house is accomplished safely and thoroughly. The steps you should follow for cleaning hoarder are:

Assess the situation: The significant underlying difficulty of all hoarders is an inability to classify things according to their real value. And the result is, a hoarder pile up tremendous amounts of things, most of them are valueless. Moreover, most of the time, hoarders also accumulate the same things that so have value.
In this first step of hoarder cleaning, you have to assess the situation that which things are actually valueless and have to include them into the trash. During evaluate the situation in advance of the starting attempt of hoarder cleaning; you must do at least a tentative determination of what types of thing are loaded into the hoard because the entire cleaning presses can be more challenging with the dangerous things that are loaded in the hoard.
In considering the overall situation of a hoarder, your safety is the primary consideration. Because a hoard may fill with dangerous pathogens which can be hazardous for human, that’s why you must do an overall assessment before you start cleaning.

Figure out the schedule: After assessing the situation correctly, figure out the schedule of hoarder cleaning. Maybe you cannot do the whole job in a single day so you should set up a target period so that it does not mean an open-end project.

Make a plan: Now it is time for making a perfect plan for hoarder cleaning. The primary thing that you have to include in your project is convincing a hoarder that, your all steps are only for restoring and whole leaving purpose to his/her residence.
You must try to win respect, trust, and confidence of the hoarder. It will be best that if you can make the hoarder an active participant in the entire cleaning process. It will help you to take an initial decision about those things which are in a small amount in the hoard.
The additional benefit of making a pre-plan is you can make an agreement from your end to remove some things from the house and the temporary storage place. This agreement will assure your hoarder that his/her items will not throw away in a mass rate, and this will give hoarder a level of comfort.
Hoarder cleaning is just a part of the battle. The pre-plan or making strategy will help you assist the situation and understand how much it will be challenging and dangerous. Even your planning will show you the way if you need to give up it and seriously call the professionals.
If the situation of the hoard is much serious and you do not have the appropriate professional mental strength to attempt it then don’t try it your own. You should call professional assistance without thinking about the hoarder cleaning costs.

Your safety is the first priority: We already mentioned it that during hoarder cleaning, give priority to your safety. You must use goggles, dust masks, and disposable gloves to protect parasites, mold, and other health concerns which may be present at the cleaning area. One more quick note, If you need to clean mold when performing your cleaning job  you will use HEPA vacuum cleaner. Besides, you should wear a hard hat and sturdy shoe before you enter into the house.
We have already listed above some items for your safety. Make sure that you arrange all these items before you start hoarder cleaning. There can be flammable materials in the hoarder’s stuff, and they can catch fire easily.

Hoarder safety

​Even when you start moving the things of the hoard, plenty of pests and insects will come out, and many of them can be hazardous. That’s why fire extinguisher and repellent spray is essential.

In addition, you must use a uniform, gloves, goggles, and mask. A flashlight will be quite helpful to see clearly in every corner of the hoarder’s home. And please, don’t forget to take a first aid kit along with you.

Find who can help you: Hoarder cleaning is such a big project that you might need others helps. Determine who can able to help you physically and support mentally. Choose someone who has a great understanding with you. Just remind one thing that never includes another hoarder in your cleanup project. Because he/she can spoil your mission.

Gather supplies: Your next step of hoarding cleanup is to gather some necessary supplies. You need these supplies for safely, effectively, and thoroughly clean your residence. The supplies you may need: Biohazardous waste containers, Medical grade sanitization chemicals, Commercial grade deodorization chemicals.

Plan for handling personal and important document: You may get some personal and important things/documents from your hoard. They might be confidential and have to preserve them without showing others. So, make a separate plan of how you will maintain them safely. My recommendation is that; take a separate plastic storage bin keep all kind of official, personal, and financial documents, emails into it without allowing anyone to see them.

Prepare a staging area: Now you should prepare a staging area for storing the things that you are going to remove from the hoard. Select a safe and secure place for storing, and it will be better if it has a shade for protecting your things from sun and rain.
As we already said, discard the items of the same value that you find in a hoard and store the unique and valuable things in the staging area for restore latter.

Start cleaning with a small room: Start your cleaning job form a smaller place, especially from the bathroom and kitchen. If you follow kitchen cleaning tips for cleaning your kitchen then it would be very easy for you.  Most of the hoarders profoundly neglect the sanitation; as a result, it can be a severe health issue. So, you should start your cleaning from any of these areas and sanitize them at the earliest possibility. Normally, bathrooms  don't have many thing or sensitive items and that's why there is no much information about discarding them.

Cleaning small room

Empty the room: Throw out all the trash from the place first. All the garbage along with the items which are damaged to throws directly into the dumpster. Keep aside those things which can be recycled and repaired.
For cleaning correctly, you should remove all things like furniture also. Just empty the room thoroughly before starting sanitization. You can remove them temporarily and clean carefully restore them.

Sanitize the premises: You can proceed for sanitizing once the things of the hoard are removed completely. This step is essential, and you have to do it efficiently. There can be a lot of dart, spider nets even many hazardous materials and dangerous pathogens. Use proper supplies and tools like the best vacuum cleaner for a safe and effective attempt.

Repair your property: Once you eliminate all things from the hoard, you will realize the actual damage of it. The final step is to repair your property and restore them in your house. You have to convince the hoarder not to retake useless things in the room.

Finally, make contact with the sanitation department of the city in advance to direct you if there are any authorized instruction about hoarder cleaning and for disposing of the garbage. 

How to help a hoarder

​Are you tired with hoarder cleaning because your partner any family member is a hoarder? Actually living with a hoarder is hugely stressful. It can keep a negative effect on your relationship.
You may also avoid visiting your family member and friends in their home. Even it can be challenging to spend time with a hoarder for their sick thinking. Do you want to your loved one for his/her hoarding issue? Now we will discuss what is hoarding, hoarder’s symptoms, and how can you help them. These will help you to deal with hoarder efficiently.

What is hoarding disorder?

​People who suffer from hoarding disorder save things in excess number that may entirely valueless for others. They have a persistent difficulty to get rid of keeping things even they are useless.
Hoarding does not mean collecting something. Usually, a collector look for some specific items like stamps, coins, model cars and organize them in excellent order for displaying. But people with hoarding disorder generally save random things and ruggedly leave them. In most of the cases, they store items because they feel these items may need in the future having some sentimental values.

The common symptom of hoarding disorder

Symptoms of hoarding disorder range from mild to severe. Generally, hoarders save and store a large volume of things without judging their value. The victim feels extreme attraction to different objects and acute anxiety while making decisions. Most of the time, they fail to resist their intense desire and start storing things and turned his/her house into hoard very soon. However, there are some common symptoms of hoarding disorder:

  • Acquiring and store a large volume of things without judging their value.
  • Conflict with you if you try to remove stuff from home.
  • Feel heartbroken with the idea of getting rid of these things.
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    Stay unorganized and often lose relevant documents and items in the clutter.

​As the symptoms increase, the sufferer may become isolated from others and also face various health issues.

How to help a hoarder - Don'ts

  • Usually, hoarders feel extreme attraction toward their possessions. As a result, he/she can be temper with the idea of hoarder cleaning. However, like other psychological disorders, you must handle them very carefully.
  • Do not start to remove things without taking permission from a hoarder. They may become emotional at an extreme level as useless things are also quite valuable to them.
  • Don’t think that you can complete the hoarder cleaning project overnight. It is a long term project and prepares yourself to stay engaged with it for at least a few days.
  • Once you remove things from the hoard, don’t allow to restore valueless items by showing your love.
  • Do not think all will be perfect regard hoarder cleaning issue. Just like drinking, gambling, spending money or dieting, a hoarder experience can come back even after receiving professional treatment.

How to help a hoarder - Do's

If you want to help a hoarder, then there is some advice about what you should ‘do’ with them.

  • You can encourage a hoarder to take professional help. You should not force them against their will because it happen some adverse reaction. Just promote the victim with love and support to meet a therapist.
  • Before starting the hoarder cleaning project, take some time to learn about hoarding. It will help you to deal with any unexpected situation during hoarding cleanup.
  • If any hoarder asks your help and support before or after receiving professional treatment, assist them how much you can.
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    Hoarding is one kind of mental disorder. It is not something they simply choose to do. It is a physical health ailment like asthma or diabetes. Your love and support will help them to overcome it.

Each 50 of Americans one is suffering from hoarding disorder, and 15% of those only seek professional treatment. But only professional treatment is not enough for a hoarder to get cure. Your love and support are essential for them to get rid of their problem.

Decluttering tips for hoarders

Decluttering tips for hoarders

​If you wish to help in hoarder cleaning project of your any friend or family member who carries the symptom of a hoarder, then it will be a great support for him/her. As it is considered that hoarding is a mental health issue, you should be very careful to deal with the victim.
You can physically help your beloved hoarder to eliminate the clutter of hoarded property. Here are some decluttering tips for you to assists the hoarder.

  • Listen without judgment: You should have a wholly and gently non-judgmentally approach towards the hoarder to express your support. This initial step will help you to establish a direct relationship with a hoarder.
  • Suggest multifaceted assistance: A hoarder may need your help in two different ways. First is hoarder need your support to take professional therapy. Second is your practical assistance to help in decluttering the house.
    Remember that many hoarders even do not initially realize that they have any problem. Moreover, hoarding disorder peoples think that whatever they do is proper and accumulate what is necessary. So you have to keep patience and never push the hoarder to eliminate unnecessary thing immediately. You should follow an appropriate strategy to get rid of excess items. It will make you reliable to the hoarder. 
  • Make your plan with the hoarder: The next important tip a make a complete strategy or plan with the hoarder. That means you should develop your plan of action along with hoarder. It will create ownership into the hoarder.
    Make a plan with hoarder means which items have to remove and which have to discard. As the hoarder take part for doing the planning, it is possible that they participate spontaneously to remove things.
  • Try to make the decluttering process ease: You may think that you will give full effort and complete the hoarder cleaning project as quickly as possible. But your hurry can derail a person with hoarding disorder, and he or she may feel that you are just trying to throwing out his/her assets.Keep in mind that a hoarding disorder is one kind of mental problem. So, you should not do anything which may keep a negative impact on the hoarder mind. You should take your time for decluttering a hoard so that the hoarder can accept it easily.
  • The hoarder should be the ultimate decision maker: A hoarder is the final owner of the clutter so he/she should have the right to make a decision. Let a hoarder decide when you start to declutter process, which items will eliminate when you restore the necessary property etc. You support him/her both physically and mentally.

  • Don’t hesitate to call a professional assistance: Hoarding cleaning sometimes seems like a burden, and if you do not interest to take this burden on your shoulder, then why don’t you makes a call for a professional assistant? There are lots of experienced and professional assistant available in the market that can do it for you with a reasonable hoarder cleaning costs.
    They are professional and know better all strategies and tactics for a hoarding cleanup. Moreover, they can renovate the hoarder’s house also.


​Hoarder cleaning is a painful job, and it can be more painful if you have lived with a hoarder in the same house. If you want to get rid of a hoard, then at first try to learn deeply about a hoarder. At first, you should take action to heal him and then make a plan for decluttering. This article will help you to learn all the primary aspect of hoarder cleaning and also guide you on how to help a hoarder. But if the situation becomes more serious, then you must take advice from the physician. Stay safe and happy.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Kate Hansen - October 9, 2019

It was really helpful when you said that you should encourage a hoarder to get professional help. My best friend is a really bad hoarder. Thank you for the tips about hoarder cleaning.


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