Hoarding has long been a problem that has been hidden away from society for obvious reasons and doctors are only just beginning to unravel the mysteries locked away in the mind of someone who suffers from this highly debilitating disorder.

Hoarding isn’t as “unheard” of as what we once thought, in fact three to five percent of Americans may actually meet the criteria for being hoarders, which when compared to those suffering from panic disorder might affect 1%, and obsessive-compulsive disorder maybe 2%, we’re talking about a surprisingly common disorder that had never really been recognized.

Fortunately, this problem has gained wider visibility in recent years, thanks in part to several hoarding-related television shows, at ABT, our favorite is Hoarding: Buried Alive, partially because the title describes perfectly the feeling we get when we enter a home that has an unattended death as a result of isolation caused by their living conditions. Believe it or not, but you can actually be crushed to death by your belongings if your belongings consist of 4897 quilts, stacked floor to ceiling in cardboard boxes, that shifts when one of your 30 cats uses it to climb to the second floor of your home.

Hoarding’s effects can extend beyond just an overstuffed home, as mentioned. It can put people’s health at risk in very serious ways. It can damage families. It can even affect surrounding neighborhoods and treating it requires more than a big box of trash bags. It requires specialized teams who are trained in site remediation and restoration, who can carefully remove waste and other biohazardous material from the property for proper disposal without jeopardizing the health of occupants of nearby homes, apartments or future residents of the damaged structure, then thoroughly sanitize and decontaminate every surface in the home using only the highest quality, hospital grade cleaners and disinfectants that have been certified by the EPA.

Advanced Bio Treatment are your Hoarding & Hazardous Waste Cleanup Professionals!

Experts usually draw the line between a merely messy lifestyle and hoarding when it comes to the person’s ability to function. Lots of people may acquire things they don’t need, but if it’s not the sort of thing that causes an inability to function adequately, its not called hoarding. If someone is no longer able to cook meals in their own home, if they can’t live safely in their own home, if they’re a threat to others, that’s where most would say it crosses the line.

Personal belongings become mixed with garbage and waste until living areas are unsanitary. Rooms become unusable as refuse piles up on tables, counter top, and floors. In the case of animal hoarding, animals may roam about contributing feces and increasing the chance of bio hazardous conditions.

In terms of hoards, as most of my readers will recall, the ones that I find the most difficult to process, mentally, is the cases we get involving “waste savers”, which is exactly what it sounds like.  These people are so fixated on maintaining their control over their possessions that they will actually keep dead animals in the freezer, one woman we saw had kept every pet she had had for 34 years… in her deep freezer… which finally gave up the ghost after all those years and alerted neighbors to the state of the home when the bodies inside finally began to break down.

Another “waste saver” we got involved a man who had become obsessed with keeping neatly folded squares of soiled toilet paper, soiled with his own poop, in a laundry basket beside his shower. Yet another hoarder we encountered on a cleanup call involved a crumbling home that had lost the plumbing in the bathroom, but the hoarder had decided to poop a literal mountain of human feces… like the pile of poop from Jurassic Park, you know, the scene with the sick Triceratops, that the lead heroine straps on a glove to sink her arm in up to her shoulder… instead of have the problem fixed.  That was a hard one for me.

It’s a pretty sensory experience, let me put it that way. There’s obviously the assault on your eyes of the quantity of the clutter, then there’s the appreciation of what a mishmash the clutter is. Sometimes there’s more than your average share of odor, dust, mold, or other types of structural damage, as with the waste savers, and the smell of the home is so ungodly that the odor stings the nose and makes ones eyes water.

Studies have found that the frontal lobe within the brain of someone who hoards tends to work differently, and this region is crucial for weighing options and thinking rationally. As a result, their priorities are different from those of non-hoarders, so despite how unbelievably noxious a home might be, we always approach the cleanup with compassion and a desire to help those affected.

If you or someone you know is a victim of hoarding who may have been removed from their home, is seeking help restoring the home’s sanitary condition, or if you have recently lost a member of your family who you discovered was a hoarder, and you need the home prepared for resale, don’t hesitate to call Advance Bio Treatment, who are available 24/7 to provide complete sanitation and site remediation. Our professional clean up team can eliminate biohazards and restore kitchens, bathrooms, apartments, or even entire homes back to their original condition.

Especially when compulsive hoarding involves animal feces, human feces, waste removal and decomposition, it is impossible to estimate how many biohazards could be involved. Pathogens present in these materials make handling them suitable for experts like Advanced Bio Treatment who are certified by multiple agencies to provide professional sanitation and eliminate the threats these agents can pose to those you love or other residents.

Regardless of whether the scene is at your home and personal property, a commercial business, or industrial site, we’ll strictly adhere to OSHA regulations and API Worksafe guidelines in our cleanup efforts. We only deploy EPA registered hospital grade cleansers and disinfectants.

If you need trauma or accidental death cleanup  guidance, have questions about your payment options or current insurance policy covers don’t hesitate to give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at: 800-295-1684.

Posted in Hoarding Cleanup
Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment