Hoarding is a psychological disorder that causes people to collect items and attach a strong emotional significance to them, making them reluctant to remove or get rid of the item, even if the item provides no intrinsic value. This can start small, but can become a dangerous habit over time. The reluctance to get rid of something comes from a deeply embedded fear that the item might provide value or utility at some point in the future.
The intense stockpiling of items can cause hazards around ones home, and can also cause damage to the property. Not to mention health hazards can arise out of hoarding items. Not only does this affect the individuals living in the home, but also their friends, relatives, neighbors, pets, as well as others trying to help, such as social workers, firefighters, medical staff, and anyone else who may need to enter the premises.
Hoarding can cause a plethora of health hazards in a home. One of the biggest factors when it comes to hoarding items is the inability to clean areas of the home. Cleaning, cooking, and even bathing can become impossible with too much clutter. This leads to a lack in personal hygiene and can be compromising to the immune systems of anyone/anything living in the home. Bacteria and germs can spread at rapid paces, making it easier and more likely for the inhabitants to get sick. This tends to be amplified when animal hoarding is involved. Waste can easily contaminate human and pet food, creating a dangerous and hazardous situation.
With the growth of bacteria comes a reduction in air quality. Dust builds up on the items in the home, creating a musty musky atmosphere. If there are any products in the home which are in a state of decay, this can cause hazardous mold spores to circulate throughout the area. Inhaling these spores and bacteria can cause inflammation in the lungs, shortness of breath, and coughing. Vents can get clogged with this dust, but a lot of the times these vents throughout the home end up being blocked by items, reducing air circulation.
Piles of stuff can also be breeding grounds for not only bacteria, but also pests. It is common for food to become lost in the clutter, which can attract insects and rodents alike. Unwanted rodents can carry germs and diseases that can be very harmful to humans, not to mention that the rodents can harbor more unwanted guests, such as fleas, which are known to carry Lyme disease.
Large amounts of clutter in a home can limit mobility throughout the property. Random objects on the floor cause a hazard and increase the odds that one might trip and fall. In extreme cases, piles of items are stacked on top of each other, and can sometimes reach incredible heights. There is typically no specific organization when it comes to these piles, leaving them unstable and collapsible. These stacks can easily fall over, causing injury to any person or pet in the way of the falling tower.
With large amounts of clutter randomly set throughout a room or house, this limits available walking space, which can cause a fire hazard. Items such as paper, food, clothing, and such can be flammable, and having many of these items close together increases the likelihood of a fire. If rodents are involved, they could end up chewing through wires and causing an electrical fire. If a fire does occur, the many things burning at once can cause a great deal of smoke. And with things all over the floor and throughout the home, it can be incredibly difficult to evacuate the home safely and quickly.
Large amounts of clutter can cause damage to the property. If someone has a tendency to hoard items and not clean or organize them, there is a good chance that behavior translates to other parts of their life. Their home is more likely to be unkempt, dirty, and in states of disrepair. Electricity systems, sprinkler systems, plumbing, and other systems can experience damage with neglect, and may need full replacement. Mold growing under clutter that goes unnoticed can damage the structural integrity of the property, which can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages if not property and immediately taken care of. Similarly, water damage that goes unnoticed and untreated can cause massive amounts of damage to a property, causing walls to swell, floor boards to buckle, and the collapse of support beams in extreme cases.
Hoarding is a very serious issue, and is not cured overnight. Cleaning the home of a hoarder is not an endeavor that should be taken on by friends and family. It can be difficult and dangerous, and at this time it is best for the friends and family to provide support for the individual with the hoarding disorder. For safe cleanup of a hoarder’s home, it is best to call in professionals to deal with the clutter and restoration of the home. Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with an issue like this. This is why we employ top professionals to make sure the cleaning process is as easy and as safe as possible, and to restore the home back to its original integrity. For more information on the hoarding cleanup process, or if you or someone you know has a family member that may be in need of help, give us a call at 619-284-4239, or contact us at cleanearthrestorations.com.