What is Hoarding?
Hoarding can be a problem for many people within different magnitudes. Hoarding is a behavioral pattern that exists when large amounts of personal property and/or useless valued items are stored within an area, mostly that persons dwelling. Hoarding can cause an extensive amount of stress for the hoarder as well as people within their lives. Hoarding has been associated with health issues, economic burdens and social isolation. When the hoarding has exceeded control, it can impair functioning to your daily life. Activities such as cooking, cleaning and sleeping will all be affected when the hoarding has spun out of control. This behavioral problem can also be very dangerous. Fire, mold, water retention and sanitation are all factors to keep in mind when dealing with a home that has been affected by hoarding.
Types of Hoarding
Hoarding can be the collection of many different types of things. Personal items and garbage may mean the same thing to hoarders. It is very difficult for some people to let certain items out of their lives. By collecting things, many people may feel that they have control over the situation, in reality the hoarding is spiraling out of control. The more the collection grows, the harder it will be for the person to leave items behind and clean.
Animal hoarding can be an issue as well. Just like stated before, people who have a personal attachment to items may have a stronger bond to their animals. Possessing too many animals can be a large health issue for both you and the animal. Helping a person with an animal hoarding problem can be just as hard to help as a person with item hoarding.
Cleaning a home that belongs to a hoarder can be a difficult mountain to climb. First you need the consent of the homeowner. That person needs to make sure he/she is capable of leaving these items behind. Most of the time the items that have built up are garbage and not even worth saving. This person must come to terms with what needs to be done in order for their home to be saved.
Rats and mice will most likely find a home when garbage and debris have piled up for extended periods of time. Rodents feed on anything from garbage to fabrics. By consuming your property they will also be leaving droppings and feisis around your home. This can lead to health problems and many diseases. If you have a pet in your home, they also can ingest these droppings and become very ill and even die.
Mold and mildew will often grow in a hoarder’s home as well. When trash and items start to decay they break down and can cause odors and mildew. Wherever there is moisture and decaying items there is a thriving atmosphere for mold and mildew to grow. If your home has too many items, your ventilation may not have an opportunity to air out your home. Mold can start to grow on your personal items and then spread to walls and flooring. Once this happens there is very little time before it will start to grow rapidly. This bacteria can cause health issues for even the healthy. Once black mold starts to grow you may have damaged your home beyond repair. Hoarding needs to be handled quickly and responsibly. You never should risk the lives of you and your family over the collection of excess items.
Electrical fires can always be an issue when dealing with hoarding. Once a large amount of items are placed within a home, there is always a risk of fire. Electrical outlets that are blocked or overstuffed kitchens pose risks to any homeowner. Keep in mind that even if a fire ignites in your home, you could have a problem exiting the home if there are too many items. Many homes have ample amount of fire exists; yet in a hoarders home, there may be little options for escaping.
Structural damage can be a factor with hoarding as well. Like stated before with mold and mildew, once this bacteria grows into walls and woodwork, cleanup needs to happen quickly. Moisture and mildew can weaken the structure of your home.
The weight of heavy items will cause your floors and walls to decay slowly. If the hoarding problem has been ongoing for years, your home may be a disaster waiting to happen.
Hoarding Cleanup Services
If you feel that you or anyone in your family has a hoarding problem please feel free to read further. The International OCD Foundation can help anyone who may have questions or concerns when it comes to hoarding. If you feel that it is time to clean out your home and you need some assistance, feel free to find a cleaning service near you.