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Thursday, June 20, 2024

How to Clean a Hoarder’s House

Cleaning a hoarder’s house is a challenging and often overwhelming task that requires careful planning, sensitivity, and the right resources. Whether you’re helping a friend or family member or tackling the project on your own, understanding the process and having the right tools can make a significant difference. This blog will guide you through the steps to clean a hoarder’s house effectively, including the use of a dumpster for junk removal and other essential tips.

Understanding Hoarding Disorder

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand hoarding disorder. Hoarding is a mental health condition characterized by an excessive accumulation of items and difficulty discarding them, leading to cluttered living spaces that can pose health and safety risks. Recognizing the emotional and psychological aspects of hoarding is crucial when approaching the task with empathy and respect.

Preparing for the Cleanup

Preparation is key to successfully cleaning a hoarder’s house. Here are some essential steps to take before you begin:

Assess the Situation

Evaluate the extent of the hoarding to determine the scale of the cleanup. Consider the following:

  • Severity of Clutter: How severe is the clutter? Are entire rooms filled with items, or is it limited to specific areas?
  • Safety Hazards: Identify potential safety hazards such as blocked exits, fire hazards, and structural damage.
  • Emotional State: Understand the emotional state of the person who hoards and be prepared for possible resistance or emotional distress during the cleanup.

Gather Supplies and Resources

Having the right supplies and resources is crucial for an efficient cleanup. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Protective Gear: Gloves, masks, and protective clothing to safeguard against dust, mold, and other hazards.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Trash bags, cleaning solutions, disinfectants, and cleaning tools.
  • Storage Solutions: Bins, boxes, and organizers for sorting and storing items.
  • Dumpster for Junk Removal: Renting a dumpster for junk removal is essential for disposing of large amounts of trash and unwanted items.

Develop a Plan

Create a detailed plan outlining the steps to take during the cleanup. Consider the following:

  • Set Goals: Establish clear goals for each day or session, such as clearing specific rooms or areas.
  • Prioritize Areas: Start with the most cluttered or hazardous areas and work systematically.
  • Allocate Time: Allow sufficient time for sorting, cleaning, and organizing without rushing the process.

The Cleanup Process

With preparation complete, it’s time to start the cleanup. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough and efficient process:

Sorting and Decluttering

The first step is to sort through the clutter and decide what to keep, donate, recycle, or discard.

  • Create Sorting Zones: Set up designated areas for items to keep, donate, recycle, and trash.
  • Work Methodically: Tackle one room or section at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Involve the Hoarder: If possible, involve the person who hoards in the decision-making process to respect their feelings and preferences.

Removing Junk

Once sorting is complete, focus on removing junk and unwanted items.

  • Use a Dumpster for Junk Removal: Renting a dumpster for junk removal provides a convenient way to dispose of large volumes of trash and debris. Place the dumpster in an easily accessible location to streamline the process.
  • Load the Dumpster Efficiently: Load heavy and bulky items first, followed by smaller items and debris. This maximizes space and ensures safe disposal.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

After decluttering and junk removal, it’s time to clean and sanitize the living spaces.

  • Dust and Vacuum: Thoroughly dust and vacuum all surfaces, including floors, walls, and furniture.
  • Disinfect: Use disinfectants to clean high-touch areas and surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs, and bathroom fixtures.
  • Deep Clean: Consider deep cleaning carpets, upholstery, and other areas that may harbor dirt and odors.

Post-Cleanup Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and organized space is crucial to prevent relapse and ensure a healthier living environment.

Establish Routines

Help the person who hoards establish daily and weekly routines for cleaning and organizing.

  • Daily Tasks: Encourage daily tasks such as making the bed, washing dishes, and tidying up.
  • Weekly Tasks: Schedule weekly tasks like vacuuming, dusting, and laundry to maintain cleanliness.

Seek Professional Help

Hoarding disorder often requires professional intervention for long-term management.

  • Therapy: Encourage the person who hoards to seek therapy or counseling to address the underlying causes of hoarding.
  • Support Groups: Join support groups for individuals with hoarding disorder and their families to share experiences and strategies.


Cleaning a hoarder’s house is a complex and emotionally challenging task that requires careful planning, empathy, and the right resources. By understanding the disorder, preparing thoroughly, and following a systematic approach, you can effectively clean and restore the living space. Utilizing a dumpster for junk removal simplifies the disposal process, making the cleanup more manageable. Remember, ongoing support and maintenance are crucial for preventing relapse and promoting a healthier, safer environment.

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