There is a difference between collecting and hoarding. Do you know what it is?

What is hoarding?

You can have a huge collection, even a huge collection that no one else understands, but there are a few qualities that take a collection over the line:

  • Rooms cannot be used for their true purpose–If you can’t cook in the kitchen or sleep in the bedroom, you might be dealing with hoarding.
  • Space cannot be navigated–Narrow paths or no paths at all through belongings are a definite sign of hoarding.
  • Exits cannot be used–This is patently unsafe. If you cannot escape a home in an emergency, it’s time to clean out your space.
  • Collecting objects that have no value.
We collect quite a few things at our house: signed books, comic art, Elastolin toys, antique banks, stereo photographs and fiber. My husband and I love our collections, but sometimes they can get too large for the allotted space. We have a pretty small house.

Hoarding is an established psychiatric disorder in which a patient is unable to discard objects that have no intrinsic value, until they have so much stuff that their living areas are basically uninhabitable. I’ve heard of people hoarding empty yogurt containers, junk mail–even dirty diapers, eww!

How can professional cleaning help with hoarding?

The friends and family of those who suffer from hoarding are usually the ones who tackle the throwing away of all of that stuff and the cleaning of the underlying living areas, but Alliance Environmental Group can tackle these projects for you.

It is extremely emotionally difficult for hoarders and their families to deal with cleaning up a hoarding scene. Bringing in an outside service removes the emotion from the process. And since some hoarding situations can actually be dangerous and hazardous to your health, involving trash, dead animals, human and animal feces, mold, mildew and more, a professional cleanup team is called for to ensure the home is safe. At Alliance “our goal is to bring the home back to a safe and livable condition, and our team is able to efficiently and properly clean and decontaminate the home in a sensitive and non-judgmental manner.”

Let us help you and the person you care for make their home livable again.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!