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Hoarding Inspection and Clean-up

 

Hoarding Inspection and Clean-up

Significant planning must occur before the project even begins. Here are some tips on how to help someone you know who suffers from hoarding get the proper house cleaning they deserve.

Permission

Hoarding house cleaning is not advised when the hoarder is not aware of it. While you may be trying to help the hoarder get a jump start, or avoid an emotional confrontation, it is actually detrimental to the emotional state of the hoarder to do anything with their possessions without their permission. Talk intimately with the person in order to get to the root of why they are hoarding certain things and to make them comfortable with parting with these objects. It is always best to remember that hoarders have an emotional attachment to each object in their home.

Safety First

When rummaging through piles and heaps of unknown and potentially dangerous items, it is best to be prepared. Wearing heavy duty gloves and boots, coveralls and respirators are essential when tackling hoarding house cleaning. Dangers like broken objects, hazardous materials, pet and human waste and other harmful substances could lurk within the piles around the house.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

It is not wise to approach hoarding house cleaning with a gung ho attitude. Throwing every object away is most certainly not the answer. No matter how bad the hoarding situation may be, there are always salvageable items amongst the garbage. It is important to discuss these items with their owner, allowing them to decide what stays in the home and what can be donated to a local charity.

Inspect Food, Dishware, Flatware and Paper Products

Oftentimes, hoarders allow food to rot and expire. Inspect each food item carefully as wrongful consumption can be deadly. Ensure all dishware and flatware are cleaned, sterilized and ready to come in contact with healthy food. Also, paper products like toilet tissue, paper towels and plates and paper cups should be inspected for possible contamination.

Call the Professionals

When the task seems too daunting even for a determined group of people, it is best to contact the hoarding professionals. Array of Solutions will provide compassionate, dedicated technicians who are certified to handle any hoarding house cleaning situation.
Overall health of the hoarder and their family and habitability of the home are the key factors to a successful hoarding house cleaning project. Before undertaking the project, inspect the different levels of hoarding to make sure you are ready to handle anything you may uncover. Hoarding house cleaning is the first step to a successful transition into happier, healthier living.
Helping a hoarder clean their home is not an easy task. Significant planning must occur before the project even begins. Here are some tips on how to help someone you know who suffers from hoarding get the proper house cleaning they deserve.

Hoarding Cleaning is no easy task. Identifying if the condition of a home is a true hoarding situation is even harder.
In 2011, The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) revised their scale to help Professional Organizers, Social Workers, and Health Officials diagnose the severity of hoarding in a household. The Clutter-Hoarding Scale (CHS) was designed specifically to identify key issues with the overall safety of the interior of a home. The exterior damage to a home affects the CHS scale if and only if the overall safety of the interior is compromised by the damage.
Hoarding is considered by many in the mental health field as an “illness”. The CHS is not to be used to aid in the diagnosis of any illness or for the psychological evaluation of a person.
The Five Levels of Hoarding are progressive – Level 1 being the lowest threat while Level 5 presents the greatest level of hazard.

Levels of Hoarding Cleaning Explained

Clutterer/Hoarders Cleaning Level 1

Level of Clutter/Hoarding Cleaning – Minor
Homes are described by the ICD as “standard”, meaning the environment within the home is safe, secure and in working order.

Structure and Zoning
– Full accessibility to all doors, windows and stairways
– Fully functional plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
– Fully functional smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors
Animals and Pests
– Animal behavior and sanitation is appropriate
– Number of animals in residence comply with local zoning regulations and standards
– No evidence of non-pet rodents or insects
Household Functions
– No excessive clutter
– All designated rooms being used for intended purpose
– Fully functional household appliances
– Housekeeping and maintenance performed on a routine basis
Health and Safety
– Safe and maintained sanitation conditions
– No odors (animal, waste, food, natural gas)
– Medications
– Quantity within normal limits
– All containers appropriately stored and maintained
– Current/Unexpired Dates displayed on all containers
– Child-proof lids (when recommended)
Personal Protective Equipment Needed for Entry
– First Aid Kit
– Flash Light
– Hand Sanitizer

Clutterer/Hoarders Cleaning Level 2

Level of Clutter/Hoarding Cleaning – Cautious
The ICD describes Level 2 Homes as in need of “professional organizers or related professionals who have additional knowledge and understanding of chronic disorganization.”
Structure and Zoning
– ONE major exit blocked
– ONE major appliance or HVAC device not working for more than ONE season
– SOME plumbing or electrical systems not functional
– NON-EXISTENT or NON-FUNCTIONAL smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detectors
Animals and Pests
– Signs of abnormal animal behavior
– Visible or odorous pet waste
– Visible pet fur/hair/feathers
– LIGHT to MEDIUM signs of common household pests and/or insects
Household Functions
– Clutter debilitates functionality of vital living areas
– SLIGHT blockage of thresholds, hallways, stairwells
– ONE or SOME major appliances not working
– Housekeeping and maintenance NOT performed on a routine basis
Health and Safety
– Evidence of sanitation conditions not being maintained
– Odors
– Dirty Dishes/Unclean Food Preparation Surfaces
– Unclean laundry
– Unclean toilets
– Mildew and Mold in Bathroom or Kitchen
– Medications
– Quantities QUESTIONABLE
– Expired product
– Rx and Over the Counter (OTC) drugs co-mingled
– Unreasonable storage
– Prescription pills not in Rx containers
Personal Protective Equipment Needed for Entry
– Medical or Industrial Grade gloves – Heavy duty leather or cloth work gloves
– Caps (for use on head)
– Disposable shoe covers
– Light PPE recommended in previous level

Clutterer/Hoarders Cleaning Level 3

Level of Clutter/Hoarding Cleaning – Unhealthy
The ICD describes Level 3 Homes as the “pivotal point between a household environment that is cluttered and an environment that may require deeper considerations of working in a hoarding environment.”
Structure and Zoning
– Items normally stored inside are occupying space outdoors
– HVAC devices non functional for more than one season
– ONE part of home displays “light” structural damage within 6 MONTHS
– NON-EXISTENT or NON-FUNCTIONAL smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detectors
Animals and Pests
– Animal population exceeds local/regional regulations
– Evidence of inappropriate animal treatment
– Neglectful sanitation (animal odor and waste, fish tank stagnant)
– AUDIBLE evidence of rodents/pests. Visible spider webs
– Light insect infestation (bed bugs, lice, fleas, cockroaches, ants, silverfish, etc.)
Household Functions
– Clutter debilitates functionality of vital living areas
– MEDIUM blockage of thresholds, hallways, stairwells
– At least ONE room not being used for intended purpose
– Items stored in shower
– Limited access to bed or lounge space
– SEVERAL appliances not fully functional
– Inappropriate use of electrical hook ups
– SUBSTANDARD housekeeping and maintenance
– ONE-TWO obvious display of hazardous materials (in small quantities) including broken glass
Health and Safety
– Evidence of sanitation conditions not being maintained
– Odors OBVIOUS and irritating
– Dirty Dishes/Soiled Food Preparation Surfaces
– Soiled laundry
– Dirty toilets
– Mildew and Mold in Bathroom or Kitchen
– Medications
– Quantities EXCESSIVE
– Expired product
– Rx and Over the Counter (OTC) drugs co-mingled
– Unreasonable storage and easily accessible to people and pets
– Prescription pills not in Rx containers
– Improper use of garbage cans (not in use or overflowing)
– Accumulated dust, dirt and debris
Personal Protective Equipment Needed for Entry
– Face masks, Surgical masks or respirator mask
– Eye protection, gloves for hand protection
– Disposable coveralls, caps, work boots, heavy-duty footwear
– MEDIUM PPE recommended in previous level

Clutterer/Hoarders Cleaning Level 4

Level of Clutter/Hoarding Cleaning – High
The ICD describes Level 4 Homes as requiring “a coordinated collaborative team of service providers.” This includes, but is not limited to:
– Mental Health Professionals
– Pest and Animal Control Officers
– Hoarding Cleanup Company
– Licensed Contractors and Handypersons
Structure and Zoning
– EXCESSIVE AMOUNT of items normally stored inside occupying space outdoors
– HVAC devices non-functional for more than ONE YEAR
– Parts of the home display structural damage LONGER THAN 6 MONTHS
– NON-EXISTENT or NON-FUNCTIONAL smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detectors
– Water damage to floors, damage to walls and/or foundations
– Broken windows, doors
– Odor of visible evidence of sewage backup
Animals and Pests
– Animal population exceeds local/regional regulations
– Evidence of POOR animal treatment
– Neglectful sanitation (animal odor and waste, fish tank stagnant)
– Audible and VISIBLE evidence of rodents/pests (including bats). EXCESSIVE spiders and webs
– MEDIUM insect infestation (bed bugs, lice, fleas, cockroaches, ants, silverfish, etc.)
Household Functions
– DIMINISHED use of vital living areas
– HEAVY blockage of thresholds, hallways, stairwells
– MULTIPLE rooms not being used for intended purpose
– Items stored in shower
– Limited access to bed or lounge space
– Inappropriate use of electrical hook ups, excessive extension chords
– SUBSTANDARD housekeeping and maintenance
– Inappropriate storage/use of hazardous/combustible materials
– Appliances not functional or being used inappropriately
– Refrigerator being used for non-food items
Health and Safety
– Rotting food – organic contamination
– Expired/Leaking/Buckling cans and jars
– Medications
– Quantities EXCESSIVE
– Expired product
– Rx and Over the Counter (OTC) drugs comingled
– Unreasonable storage and easily accessible to people and pets
– Prescription pills not in Rx containers
– Dishes and utensils deemed unusable
– Linens on beds not present, sleeping on mattress, chair or floor,
– Infestation in bedding or other furniture
Personal Protective Equipment Needed for Entry
– Face masks, Surgical masks or respirator with organic filters
– Safety goggles, heavy duty gloves for hand protection
– Disposable coveralls, caps, work boots, heavy-duty footwear
– FULL PPE recommended in previous level

Clutterer/Hoarders Cleaning Level 5

Level of Clutter/Hoarding Cleaning – Serious
The ICD describes the situation of a Level 5 Homes as requiring:
“…intervention from a wide range of professionals. Professional organizers should not work alone in a Level V environment. A collaborative team of related professionals needs to be assembled to create and implement clearly defined goals and negotiated timetables. Members might include family, mental health professionals, social workers, building manager, zoning, fire, and/or safety agents. The individual with a Level V home might be involved in legal proceedings, such as a conservatorship, guardianship, divorce, custody, eviction or condemnation proceedings. Formal written agreements among the parties should be in place before proceeding.”
Structure and Zoning
– EXTREME AMOUNT of indoor/outdoor clutter. Overgrown foliage. Abandoned machinery
– HVAC devices non-functional. Inadequate or nonexistent ventilation
– Irreparable damage to indoor/outdoor structures
– NON-EXISTENT or NON-FUNCTIONAL smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detectors
– Water damage to floors, damage to walls and/or foundations
– Broken windows, doors
– Unreliable/nonexistent electrical, water or sewage systems.
-Odor or visible evidence of sewage backup
Animals and Pests
– Animal population exceeds local/regional regulations
– Evidence of POOR animal treatment
– Neglectful sanitation (animal odor and waste, fish tank stagnant)
– INVASIVE PRESENCE of rodents/pests (including bats). EXCESSIVE spiders and webs
– HEAVY insect infestation (bed bugs, lice, fleas, cockroaches, ants, silverfish, etc.)
Household Functions
– NO USE of vital living areas
– COMPLETE blockage of thresholds, hallways, stairwells
– ALL rooms not being used for intended purpose
– Inappropriate use of electrical hook ups, excessive extension cords
– Toilets, sinks and tubs non-functional
– Inappropriate storage/use of hazardous/combustible materials
– Appliances not functional or being used inappropriately
– Refrigerator being used for non-food items
– Hazardous/Primitive use of gasoline, kerosene, lanterns, candles, fireplace
Health and Safety
– Human urine and/or feces present
– Rotting/Leaking/Buckling cans and jars
– Medications
– Quantities EXCESSIVE
– Expired product
– Rx and Over the Counter (OTC) drugs comingled
– Unreasonable storage and easily accessible to people and pets
– Prescription pills not in Rx containers
– Dishes and utensils nowhere to be found
– Beds non-functional/inaccessible due to clutter or infestation

Personal Protective Equipment Needed for Entry
– Face masks, Surgical masks or respirator with organic filters
– Safety goggles, heavy duty gloves for hand protection
– Disposable coveralls, caps, work boots, heavy-duty footwear
– FULL PPE recommended in previous level

Contact Array of Solutions for more information regarding our Hoarding Services. These are the detailed 5 levels of hoarding for hoarders and clutterers to determine how sever or minor their hoarding cleaning project has become. They are not standard but are good starting points to help hoarders and loved ones determine what steps should be taken.

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Greenville, SC 29609

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