Picture: Lance Grandahl
Hoarder homes are not for the faint-hearted. When they’re offered up for sale by real estate companies or private owners, they often come with the stipulation that you agree to buy everything within the house, not just the house itself. When a property has an excellent foundation and a competitive price tag, you might not mind putting in the hard work to bring it back up to a habitable standard. However, the entire process might be made much easier if you do some of the following things.
Order Waste Management Bins
While you might find a few things worth keeping in a hoarder’s home, the majority will likely be trash that needs to go to a landfill. Save car trips and order waste management bins from a company that will deliver them to the property and pick them up when they’re full. By ordering large skip bins, you don’t have to worry about making countless trips in your personal vehicle to a dumping facility, which costs time and money.
Purchase All the Supplies You Need
Cleaning out a home previously occupied by a hoarder can require a much different approach than everyday household chores performed by you or a cleaning company. You’ll typically need plenty of people to help, heavy-duty trash bags, gloves, and disinfecting and sanitizing products. Depending on the severity of the trash problem, you might also require masks to keep offensive odors to a minimum.
Focus On the Floors
If trash has been covering every flooring surface for years, it’s unlikely that any flooring materials would have seen a vacuum cleaner or a mop in a long time. Once you’ve removed all trash and placed it in your rented bin, start planning how you’ll get the floors clean.
In severe cases of neglect, floor replacement can be your best option, especially if floorboards have become warped or bent with years of neglect. Otherwise, you can mop tiles and floorboards and steam clean carpets. However, you might see the value in leaving this job to professionals with commercial-grade equipment.
Disinfect Every Surface
Hoarding is a mental health condition that makes it challenging for a person to get rid of items, regardless of their usefulness or value. As these items build up over time, it becomes harder to clean a home until it’s eventually next to impossible.
Once you remove all trash, it can be crucial to disinfect all surfaces to remove any microorganisms and germs that might have multiplied as the years went by. Use a heavy-duty disinfectant on all hard surfaces, and consider industrial-strength disinfectant for highly unclean surfaces.
You will also likely need to wipe down counters and other hard surfaces that might appear clean, as it’s not always clear what might have sat on them before you took ownership of the property. Don’t forget to disinfect any furniture you’ll keep and wash fabrics like curtains. However, most homeowners would likely opt for new curtains and furniture to avoid this time-intensive task.
Cleaning out a hoarder’s home is no easy task, but it can be a methodical process with the right planning in place. Rent a waste management bin, arm yourself with cleaning products, and ensure you have plenty of help. Your new home might then be habitable in no time.