Cleaning Tips for Hoarders

Carboard boxes and miscellaneous items piled on table and shelves inside cluttered garage.

While full-blown hoarders may be rare, all of us likely know someone who has a tendency to keep things that most people would throw away without a second thought. Having all that extra stuff lying around can make it hard to clean. With these tips, you can keep a cluttered house sanitary and help the hoarder in your life conquer their packrat tendencies.

How to Keep a Cluttered House Clean

First, it’s important to keep the house clean, even with the extra clutter. Dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom surfaces help prevent allergens, germs, and mold from getting out of hand. Make these chores a priority, even when there’s a lot of stuff to work around.

The easiest method is to pick up everything in your way and put it in a box. That frees up the floor, furniture, and countertops for a thorough cleaning. Of course, this is only a temporary fix—if you fail to address the problem at the source, it will just get messy again.

How to Help a Hoarder

Up to 5 percent of people display clinical hoarding behavior. This can have harmful emotional, physical, financial, social, and even legal ramifications. True hoarding is rare, but many people have packrat tendencies that negatively affect their life.

If you’re concerned about a loved one who has difficulty throwing things away, even if they have no value, follow these suggestions to help a hoarder improve the health and safety of their cluttered home.

  • Don’t confiscate their possessions. Removing clutter against your loved one’s will doesn’t fix the underlying issue. In fact, it could cause severe emotional distress, making your good intentions backfire. To prevent harming your loved one or threatening your relationship with them, refrain from taking anything from their home without permission.
  • Don’t encourage the behavior. You might not be able to force someone to stop hoarding, but make sure you don’t enable it, either. For instance, if your friend compulsively collects antiques, don’t invite them to go antiquing. Never offer to store hoarded belongings for a loved one, and if the hoarding individual lives with you, don’t allow their possessions to overtake the house.
  • Praise any progress. Years of hoarding can’t be reversed in an afternoon. To make your loved one feel motivated to keep improving, celebrate small victories. Offer praise any time they throw something away or when they refrain from buying something new.
  • Help sort, but don’t do it for them. Volunteer to help your loved one go through their possessions to get the de-cluttering process started. If you and the person you care about feel daunted by the task, consider hiring a hoarding cleanup company. However, don’t take any steps to intervene until the hoarding individual is ready and asks for help.
  • Get your loved one professional help. Many different options are available for treating hoarding disorder. The International OCD Foundation has some valuable resources for helping your loved one get the therapy they need.

Keep Your House Clean with Help from Molly Maid

While Molly Maid doesn’t offer hoarding cleanup services, we can help maintain a clean, sanitary house once all the clutter has been removed. We can deep-clean your home one time, offer occasional cleaning help, or provide services on a recurring basis. Whatever you choose, trust our team to go above and beyond to keep your home clean and tidy.

Contact your local Molly Maid today to request a free in-home estimate for professional house cleaning services near you.