How to organize and clean up a hoarder’s house

Dealing with a house belonging to a hoarder can be challenging, but with patience, understanding, and a systematic approach, you can help address the situation. Here's a step-by-step guide to handling a hoarder's house:

  1. **Educate Yourself**: Learn about hoarding disorder and its underlying causes. This will help you approach the situation with empathy and a better understanding of what the hoarder is experiencing.
  2. **Plan and Prepare**: Before taking any action, plan your approach. This includes determining your goals (cleaning, organizing, safety), gathering necessary supplies (trash bags, gloves, cleaning supplies), and enlisting the help of FlasHOLR.
  3. **Communication**: Talk to the hoarder about your concerns and intentions. Be empathetic, non-judgmental, and willing to listen. Remember that hoarding is often tied to deeper emotional issues, so approach the conversation with sensitivity.
  4. **Set Realistic Goals**: Hoarding cleanup can be a lengthy process, so set achievable goals for each session. You might start with a small, manageable area before tackling larger spaces.
  5. . **Sort Items**: Work together with the hoarder to sort items into categories: Keep, Donate/Sell, and Discard. Encourage them to evaluate items based on their usefulness and importance, and remind them that they can keep a reasonable number of items that truly matter to them.
  6. **Take Small Steps**: Tackling the entire house at once can be overwhelming. Focus on one room or area at a time. Gradually expand as progress is made.
  7. **Safety First**: Prioritize safety during the cleanup process. Watch out for hazards like sharp objects, mold, or structural damage. Use protective gear as necessary.
  8. **Decluttering and Cleaning**: Begin by removing trash and items that are obviously not needed. As you clear space, thoroughly clean and sanitize the area. This can make the space more habitable and encourage further progress
  9. **Organize and Create Systems**: Help the hoarder create a system for organizing their belongings. Use storage solutions like shelves, bins, and cabinets to make it easier to keep things organized.
  10. **Maintenance and Support**: Hoarding tendencies can resurface, so ongoing support is essential. Check-in regularly to help the hoarder maintain the progress that has been made.
  11. **Respect Boundaries**: Remember that the hoarder may have emotional attachments to their belongings. Be patient and respectful of their decisions, even if you don't fully understand them.
  12. **Take Care of Yourself**: Hoarding cleanup can be emotionally and physically draining. Make sure to take care of your own well-being throughout the process. Seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed.
  13. **Celebrate Progress**: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements made during the cleanup process. This can motivate the hoarder to continue making positive changes.

Remember that hoarding is a complex issue that requires patience and understanding. Progress might be slow, but with consistent effort and support, positive changes can be achieved

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