Hoarding is a harsh reality that many people have heard about but very few know just how widespread it is. According to psychiatry.org, the overall prevalence of hoarding disorder is approximately 2.6%, with higher rates for people over 60 years old and people with other psychiatric diagnoses, especially anxiety and depression.
While hoarding often starts off with small collections that pile up throughout a person’s home, it can quickly get to an unmanageable level and pose a risk for those living there. It’s important to know the warning signs of when a property is unsafe, and to get help when you need it from professional biohazard cleanup companies. Keep reading to learn more about when a property is deemed unsafe due to hoarding and what warning signs you should look out for if you or someone you know is affected by a hoarding disorder.
The basics of hoarding
Hoarding is defined as the compulsion to continually accumulate a variety of items that are often considered useless or worthless by others accompanied by an inability to discard the items without great distress. Some commonly hoarded items may be newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food, and clothing.
People hoard because they believe that an item will be useful or valuable in the future, or they feel it has sentimental value, is unique and irreplaceable, or too big a bargain to throw away. They may also consider an item a reminder that will jog their memory, thinking that without it they won’t remember an important person or event, or because they can’t decide where something belongs, it’s better just to keep it. While hoarding may be hard to understand if you are not personally struggling with the disorder, it’s important to understand that it is a serious condition that affects millions of people across the world and should be approached with great sensitivity and care.
When having too many things becomes unsanitary
When the accumulation of items like garbage, clothes and food becomes unmanageable, properties can quickly be deemed unsanitary. Having a crowded home can easily lead to excessive dirt or filth, the buildup of waste, infestations of insects, broken utilities and appliances, and other hazards. Piles of things can also quickly become fire hazards, making it difficult to evacuate a home quickly, safely, and efficiently in case of an emergency.
Some of the most common signs that hoarding has turned from worrisome to dangerous include:
- Overwhelming smells
- Visible mold and mildew
- Evidence of and/or neighbor complaints of pests
- Broken appliances and features
- Walkways and rooms are challenging to navigate
Hoarding cleanup services from the professionals
Cleaning up a property that has been deemed unsafe due to hoarding can be an emotionally charged task if you are attached to the person affected and/or the property. It can also quickly become overwhelming and frustrating due to the excessive amount of clutter. At Xtreme Cleaners we are experts in helping families that are dealing with hoarding recover distressed properties. We understand that these are sensitive situations and treat every client with respect, working at a pace that is comfortable for all.
When the accumulation of things renders a property unsafe, our team is trained to remove all mildew and odors and handle any rodent infestations that they may come across in the process. Our primary job is to safely restore the property to livable conditions and we do so by helping to sort, sift, and compile items utilizing a labeling system so nothing accidentally gets thrown away without our client’s permission. We are proud to have helped countless families and friends throughout Louisiana with hoarding cleanup and are only a phone call away if you ever need us.