3 Factors That Determine Hoarder Cleaning Costs

Hoarder cleaning is unique in its own way. Because there are many factors involved, the cost of hoarding cleanup services can vary significantly.

Hoarder cleaning is unique in its own way. Because there are many factors involved, the cost of hoarding cleanup services can vary significantly.

One of the most commonly asked questions from loved ones of hoarders is, “How much does hoarder cleaning cost?” It’s difficult to provide an exact answer without first assessing the particular situation.

However, in general, hoarder cleaning costs can run anywhere from $35 to $80 per hour, per employee, in addition to other services that may be required onsite. This is especially true if conditions are severe.

Though more costly than traditional cleaning services, the value of working with a company that has extensive experience in challenging hoarding situations far exceeds the cost.

Below we’ll explore three factors that play a significant role in determining the cost of hoarder cleaning services so that you will know what to expect when discussing your loved one’s situation with a prospective cleaning service.

1. Details Of The Property

Any company that gives you an estimate over the phone without seeing the property is doing a disservice to you and your loved one. That’s because there are many details of the property a hoarding cleanup company will need to evaluate before providing an accurate quote.

These details include:

  • hoarder cleaning costsThe property’s size: This includes not only the square footage and number of rooms inside the home, but also whether any additional buildings or areas outside the home needs to be addressed.
  • Location of the property: The cost of any type of service can vary by market, but the location of a property also can factor into the cost if the property is difficult to access or is located outside the normal service area for a company.
  • Type of property: If the property is a condo in a high-rise, for example, it may be more difficult to create a staging area or take additional time to remove unwanted items. If it’s a business, you may have a different type of hoarding on your hands called digital hoardingResearch shows that more recently, data hoarding has become more common, and may require a more specialized type of assistance.

All of these property details can impact a number of things, and therefore costs, including:

  • Amount of time needed to clean the property
  • Number of crew members needed to execute the job
  • Number of garbage and recycling bin rentals needed
  • Amount of cleaning supplies and other equipment necessary
  • Time needed to make necessary repairs

 

2. Severity Of The Situation

 

The severity of the hoarding situation significantly impacts the cost of cleaning the property.

There are 5 stages of hoarding that increase in severity, with Level 1 being the least severe stage of hoarding. In this stage, you may not be able to recognize your loved one is experiencing hoarding tendencies, and you may only notice some clutter.

In Level 2, hoarding tendencies become more evident. You will notice there is less attention paid to housekeeping, and clutter is beginning to overtake the home. Your loved one may even become more withdrawn from others.

In the next state, Level 3, the hoarding situation has become more serious. Clutter has overtaken the house, and hallways or stairwells are now at least partially blocked. You may also  notice broken HVAC systems, non-functional appliances, hazardous substances in small quantities and at least one room not being used for its intended purpose.

By Level 4, the welfare of the resident is at a critical level. The home is dangerous, and there may be hazardous conditions that include mold, structural damage and bug infestations.

Level 5 is the most serious stage of hoarding in which no room is used for its intended purpose. Broken septic systems, plumbing and electrical systems have made the home uninhabitable, and severe infestations are causing health issues to the resident.

How do these stages impact costs? The more serious the level of hoarding your loved one is experiencing, the more resources will be needed to help address it. This includes:

  • The number of crew members needed to complete the job
  • Amount of time needed to make the property safe and clean again
  • Level of cleaning supplies needed, including the level of personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary
  • Number and level of repairs needed, with severe damage such as to the structure of the home being more costly

 

3. Presence Of Hazardous Materials

 

As mentioned above, the seriousness of the hoarding situation that your loved one is experiencing can impact any associated cleaning costs. One factor, in particular, that greatly increases the cost is when hazardous materials are present.

Because of the danger they pose to the resident, cleaning crew and environment, special care must be taken. Hazardous materials may include chemicals, asbestos and even explosive materials.

Hazardous materials require a higher level of protective gear, specialization in removal of the substance and proper disposal that meets all local, state and federal guidelines.

Biohazardous materials also can increase the price of hoarding cleanup services. These are often found present in more severe stages of hoarding, though small amounts may be found in Levels 2 and 3.

hoarder cleaning costsHazardous biological materials include items such as:

  • Human blood and body fluids
  • Human and animal waste
  • Medical waste, such as needles

Like with hazardous materials, specialized PPE is required for cleaning up biohazard materials because of the decontamination required to return the home to a clean environment.

 

Final Note

 

Though more costly than traditional cleaning services, companies that specialize in hoarder cleaning services bring extensive experience and other benefits in dealing with situations that have become hazardous to the health of your loved one.

Reputable hoarder cleaning services:

  • Have extensive experience dealing with hoarding situations, from mild to severe
  • Offer a variety of services that address each stage of hoarding
  • Work with a network of professionals to make sure your family member regains control of his or her home
  • Prioritize completing the work in a timely manner while helping your loved one retain his or her dignity and independence

Though each hoarding situation is unique in its own way, seeking the help of a professional cleaning service company that has extensive experience in working with those suffering from a hoarding disorder is critical in ensuring a successful outcome.

 

WHERE TO START CLEANING A HOARDER’S HOUSE

Cleaning a hoarder’s home can be an overwhelming process. That’s why knowing where to begin will help make the process more manageable and feel more attainable.

Cleaning a hoarder’s home can be an overwhelming process. That’s why knowing where to begin will help make the process more manageable and feel more…

As the loved one of a hoarder, you want to make the home safe, clean and habitable. It’s an important step in helping hoarders who struggle with this obsessive compulsive disorder.

With any challenging process, putting a plan in place and taking one step at a time can help ensure the plan is completed successfully. Below we’ll help you get started with your plan to return your loved one’s home into a clean and safe environment so that you can then focus on helping your loved one get the additional help he or she needs.

 

Before You Begin

 

Before you begin cleaning, it’s essential to get organized. Everything you’re about to do involves working to rectify an extremely disorganized situation. If you where to start cleaning a hoarders housebegin going through a hoarder’s belongings with no plan in place, a successful ending is unlikely.

It’s important to get all the resources you need to be successful in place before you begin. 

We strongly recommend consulting with a mental health professional, who can provide support throughout the cleaning process, identify the underlying cause for the hoarding and begin any treatment deemed appropriate.

Enlisting the help of professional hoarder cleaning services also will ensure a much smoother and organized cleaning process and can provide a number of resources, especially if the hoarding situation is severe.

Other assistance you may want to contact or have contact information ready including:

  • Licensed exterminators
  • Garbage bin rental companies
  • Licensed contractors, including plumbing, electrical and appliance specialists
  • City zoning officials
  • Real estate professionals

Lastly, it’s important to gather any personal protection equipment you may need to protect your own health. Depending on the seriousness of the hoarding situation, you may need advanced equipment that protects you from biohazards, such as:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Glasses or goggles
  • Boots or shoe covers
  • Coveralls
  • First aid kit

Once you have the above preparations in place, you can move on to the actual cleaning process.

 

Create A Staging Area

 

As you clean and go through a hoarder’s belongings, you’ll need to have an area where you can temporarily store items.

Find an open space that can be used as a staging area. In a less severe case of hoarding, this may simply be a clutter-free room. In more severe stages of hoarding, you may need to use an area of the yard, a garage or patio.

This space is where you will place contents from the hoarder’s home temporarily so that you can better assess the belongings. Make sure you have a clear, open path to this space to ensure efficiency and safety during the cleaning process.

 

Pick Your First Room

 

Choose a small space, such as a bathroom or a spare bedroom. where to start when cleaning a hoarders house

Getting one of these locations clean first provides additional benefits as well. As you continue cleaning, you’ll need access to running water and soap. Once clean, a spare bedroom could be used as a staging area that will be in close proximity to where you are working.

Do not choose a space that is designated as a storage area, such as a closet or garage, as the first room to clean. Save these for last. Although they may be small, they can be some of the most challenging spaces to clean since they often overflow with items.

 

Dispose Of Trash And Begin Sorting

 

Before you begin sorting through belongings, throw out any trash you see first. This will allow you to better evaluate and get a clearer picture of what belongings are in the space.

Trash should not only include garbage, but items that are too dirty or damaged to keep as well. Place items that should be recycled or cannot be disposed of in the trash aside, such as medications or oil-based paint.

Once you’ve removed trash, you can begin sorting:

  • Take all the contents from the room to the staging area you created earlier. 
  • Separate items into groups with similar items. This allows you to see how many of one item you have.
  • Pick the one you want to keep and donate the rest.

Sentimental items are an exception to this sorting plan. However, hoarders tend to have an emotional attachment to all items they possess, reasoning that the items still hold value, even if they are broken. This will present a challenge for you that you should be prepared for as you clean the space.

 

Deep Clean The Space

 

Once items are removed from the initial room you began with, a deep cleaning process can begin. where to start cleaning a hoarders house

Cleaning a space thoroughly is especially important if you began the cleaning process in a bathroom since you will now access that area regularly. However, depending on the size of the home and the level of hoarding your loved one is experiencing, it may make more sense logistically to deep clean after several rooms or the whole house is empty.

Making a professional hoarder cleaning company part of your strategy can provide several benefits during this difficult process. Most importantly, a cleaning company that specializes in hoarding situations will be equipped to handle hazardous conditions that often present in hoarding cases.

Hoarder cleaning companies also can assist from the beginning, offering services and resources that include:

  • Forming a cleaning strategy to designate what work will be done and when
  • Arranging for equipment and supplies, including dumpsters and contractors
  • Implementing the cleaning strategy to restore the home to make it safe and livable
  • Deep cleaning health-related risk areas that require more safety precautions
  • Removing items from the home, including trash, appliances, electronics, hazardous waste, yard waste and construction waste
  • Helping identify and transport unwanted items identified for donation
  • Helping with repairs to the home
  • Connecting you with a network of professionals, including estate sale companies, licensed exterminators, city zoning officials and professional organizers

Although professional hoarder cleaning companies will advocate for your loved one’s interest, they also will remain neutral without an emotional attachment to the belongings – allowing the cleaning process to move forward efficiently and as quickly as possible.

When searching for a cleaning company that specializes in hoarding, make sure compassion, respect and professionalism are top priorities for any company you work with, since the process of cleaning a hoarder’s home can be emotionally-charged and difficult.

 

What Happens Next

 

Now that you’ve completed cleaning the first space, it will be time to move on to another space and repeat the process above.

Here are some things you’ll need to keep in mind as you proceed through the home:

Many individuals struggle to overcome their hoarding disorders. Setting up continued help with an experienced hoarder cleaning service is important since the company knows relapse can occur and will provide additional benefits as the hoarder’s journey continues. Check to see whether the company provides ongoing services, which can make it easier to get help next time.

Support the hoarder. This will be an emotionally exhausting journey for the hoarder. In addition to providing support, it’s important to never show anger during the cleanup or downplay the importance of the hoarder’s belongings. Neither will make any headway with the hoarder, who is likely to be very sensitive during the cleanup.

Support yourself. While your focus will likely be on your loved one, it’s important to support yourself through this process as well. A lot of work goes into cleaning a hoarder’s home, both physically and emotionally. Make sure you get the support you need as well during this difficult period.

Even after the cleaning process is complete, addressing the hoarding situation is not. Hoarding can be a lifelong struggle and one for which your loved one will need continued support.

That’s why seeking the help of a professional mental health expert and a cleaning company with extensive experience in hoarding cases is so critical. Creating a plan before you begin cleaning and taking advantage of the available resources will help keep the cleaning process on track and help provide a favorable outcome for both you and your loved one.

WHAT SHOULD BE ON A HOARDER CLEANING CHECKLIST

A thorough checklist can help the process of cleaning a hoarder’s home stay on track. Making a home safe, clean and habitable is an important step

A thorough checklist can help the process of cleaning a hoarder’s home stay on track.

Making a home safe, clean and habitable is an important step in helping hoarders who struggle with this obsessive compulsive disorder. However, cleaning up a hoarder’s home can be a long and frustrating process for both the hoarder and those wanting to help.

Before you begin, it’s important to develop a checklist as part of a strategy that ensures you’re taking care of the most pressing issues first and including each step necessary to return the home to a healthy condition.

Here are the items we recommend including:

 

Assess What Help You Need

 

Before you begin, one of the most important actions you should take is to assess what help you need to be successful.

We always strongly recommend consulting with a mental health professional, who can provide support throughout the cleaning process. A mental health professional also will identify the underlying cause for the hoarding and any additional mental health disorders your loved one may be suffering from, as well as offer treatment for those issues.

Professional cleaning services that have extensive experience in hoarding situations also can provide a number of resources, especially if the hoarding situation is severe and has resulted in a legal injunction that requires the individual to clean the home. Legal orders can result from child or elder abuse, public health or fire safety issues, mistreatment of animals and incipient condemnation. In this case, a professional can get the job done immediately and help sidestep further consequences.

You may also need assistance from other resources, which a professional cleaning service can recommend. These include:

  • hoarder cleaning checklistLicensed exterminators
  • Garbage bin rental companies
  • Licensed contractors, including plumbing, electrical and appliance specialists
  • City zoning officials
  • Real estate professionals

 

To help you determine what type of resources you may need, ask yourself:

  • Is there just excess clutter, or is the problem bigger?
  • Are walkways and doorways blocked by clutter, creating a safety hazard?
  • Is there damage to the home?
  • Are there pest or animal control issues?
  • Is the lack of cleanliness creating health issues in the home?
  • Are there biohazards, such as blood or feces, apparent?
  • Does the hoarder realize there is a problem and want help?

 

Once you have resources in place, you can move on to the cleaning process with the help of trained professionals who can ensure a greater likelihood of success.

 

Put Protection In Place

 

Before you begin to clean, make sure you are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the seriousness of the hoarding situation, you may need advanced equipment that protects you from biohazards, such as:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Glasses or goggles
  • Boots or shoe covers
  • Coveralls

 

It’s also important to have a first aid kit nearby, as well as flashlights and hand sanitizer. Ensuring proper PPE is an important step since cleaning up a hoarder’s home may expose you to E.coli, Staph, mold spores, Salmonella, unsafe ammonia levels and other dangerous health hazards.

 

Create A Staging Area

 

Find some open space that an be used as a staging area. This might be difficult in severe hoarding situations, but can include an area of the yard, a garage or room that is not yet cluttered.

In this staging space, you will place contents from the hoarder’s home temporarily so that you can better assess the belongings. Make sure you have a clear, open path to this space.

 

Pick Your First Room

 

Cleaning a hoarder’s home can quickly become overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to begin with a small space, such as a bathroom. Getting a bathroom cleaned first also provides a dual benefit, since you’ll need access to running water and soap as you clean the rest of the home.

Leave spaces that are designated as storage areas, such as closets or garages, for last. These can be some of the most challenging spaces to clean since they often overflow with items.

 

Begin Cleaning The First Space, And Repeat

 

 hoarder cleaning checklistAfter choosing your first space to address, begin by getting rid of any trash first. This includes garbage and items that are too dirty or damaged to keep. Put aside items that should be recycled or disposed of properly, such as medications.

Next, begin sorting. Take the room’s contents to the staging area you created earlier. Separate these belongings into groups with similar items, which allows you to assess how many of the same item the hoarder possesses. Pick one to keep, and donate the rest.

Often, this can be difficult since even the most everyday or mundane items can hold value to the hoarder. This is where a professional hoarding cleanup service can also assist by providing compassion, respect and professionalism during this emotional time as hoarders must sort through their items.

Lastly, once there is no more clutter, begin a deep cleaning process. Many cleaning companies will provide this service once clutter is removed, making this an easy step in your strategy.

Once you have accomplished the steps above, it’s time to move on to the next room, and repeat.

 

Call In Additional Help

 

Once cluttered rooms are free of items, professional cleaning and extermination services can assist with pest, mold, mildew and other biohazard removal. Since hoarding situations, especially those that are extreme, also result in damage to the home’s structure, licensed contractors can begin repairs that may include:

  • Carpet and flooring replacement
  • Drywall replacement
  • Fresh coat of paint
  • Electrical, water faucet or appliance damage

 

Set Up Continued Help

 

Many individuals struggle to overcome their hoarding disorders. That’s why working with an experienced hoarder cleaning service that knows relapse can occur will provide additional benefits as the hoarder’s journey continues.

Check to see whether a cleaning company provides ongoing services, which can make it easier to get help next time.

Each hoarding situation is unique and complicated. Creating a plan that keeps the cleaning process on track, as well as accounts for any future assistance needed, is essential to a favorable outcome for both your loved ones and all those involved in getting them the help they need.

HOARDER DEFINITION: WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP

A hoarder is someone who has a compulsive need to purchase, acquire and save items that have little or no value. Often, this behavior takes an emotional, physical, social, financial and even legal toll on the person.

A hoarder is someone who has a compulsive need to purchase, acquire and save items that have little or no value. Often, this behavior takes an emotional, physical, social, financial and even legal toll on the person.

Continue reading “HOARDER DEFINITION: WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP”

IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR HOARDING?

Hoarding is a deeply rooted psychological issue. There are treatments available, but this mental health disorder cannot be “solved” or “cured” overnight.

Hoarding is a deeply rooted psychological issue. There are treatments available, but this mental health disorder cannot be “solved” or “cured” overnight.

Continue reading “IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR HOARDING?”

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OBSESSIVE COLLECTOR AND HOARDER

At some point in most of our lives, we’ve been a collector. Whether it was rocks as a young child, baseball cards as a teenager or vintage vinyl records as an adult, collecting can be fun and healthy.

At some point in most of our lives, we’ve been a collector. Whether it was rocks as a young child, baseball cards as a teenager or vintage vinyl records as an adult, collecting can be fun and healthy.

Continue reading “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OBSESSIVE COLLECTOR AND HOARDER”