Many of you know Doug Bowles from attending our Continuing Education courses.  Doug is an expert in all things mitigation.  Please enjoy his advice regarding hoarding and its mitigation.

As always, thanks for all you do.

Michael L. Allen


Hoarding is a real problem. We see it a lot when it comes spring and it is time to give your house a good thorough cleaning. It is nearly impossible to clean a hoarder’s home well though. There are many health risks when you keep enough stuff for it to be called a hoarding problem. The mold that can grow, the bugs that can hide, even the emergency response teams trying to get into your home and save a loved one when every second counts. It is a problem and luckily you can get help for it. Oprah has some good tips on how to start overcoming compulsive hoarding by yourself before getting professional help. The first tip is “just because you can think of a use for an object, doesn’t mean you need to keep it.” Every object has a use but will you ever actually use it? “More is not necessarily better.” You see a lot of people buying in bulk now but that is on necessities. You don’t need more than one bicycle or more than one microwave. “Categorize your items.” When you get organized and sort through all your stuff you can actually see that you really have no need for some things. Maybe it just doesn’t fit into any pile you really have. She has many more tips, I just picked the top three to outline, please feel free to look at the rest, it is the third link in the works cited section.

Many different things can cause someone to start hoarding, depression, anxiety, big life catastrophes. The important thing you need to remember is that a person can’t change unless they want to change. If you have a client that is a hoarder you need to know that it could be very difficult to have someone like our company come into their home and throw out or clean all their stuff. These are all their prized possessions and they don’t want to get rid of them. Take your time and have patience with them. Our technicians are very understanding people who are there to help your customer. We try to get stuff done as quickly as possible however, if we get a hoarder job they do take a bit more time because of the emotional attachment the person may feel towards their belongings. We will do our best to help the client get a better quality of life and we will do our best to clean everything as much as they will let us.

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