Top 10 Cleaning Tips for Hoarders

by Modern Maids - March 9, 2021

A viral tweet once said, “One thing no one ever talks about being an adult is how much time you debate yourself on keeping a cardboard box because it’s, like, a really good box.”

Hardcore hoarders are hard to find. But if we’re going to be honest, we all share hoarding tendencies, whether it’s those numerous tin cans that we’re pretty sure we can up-cycle, or those towers and towers of books all over the house. It may not even be our junk. Sometimes, the hoarder might be a family member who has a thing for cardboard boxes just as the tweet shared.

So, how do you go about decluttering the house when it’s absolutely time to deep clean? Today, we’re going to give you some tips for getting through a hoarding issue. If you don’t have time to follow these tips you can always hire a service like this top rated Austin maid service.

1 – Cleaning Checklist

Clipart of cleaning supplies

You have to do some serious hoarding cleanup! The whole cleaning process might take a whole day or a few days to do but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. First, you have to make sure that all of the following things are ready.

  • Heavy duty trash bags – One way or the other, you’re going to want to get rid of some of the stuff, so better to have some of these handy.
  • Vacuum cleaner – There’s definitely going to be a lot of dust. Check if your vacuum cleaner is in good working order and see to it that the dust bag is empty.
  • Protective gear – One way or another, dust and allergens will be flying around. Don’t forget to wear a face mask while you do your cleaning and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals.
  • Empty boxes – While this is a great time to do some purging of all the things that have accumulated, you don’t have to get rid of everything. Ready some empty boxes in case you find some things you would like to save or donate. You might just be able to hold a yard sale afterwards!
  • Step ladder – Have it at the ready in case you own one in the house. You can use it for reaching on top of shelves and clearing away cobwebs.
  • First aid kit – Just on the off chance that you acquire a wound from all the work you have to do.
  • Cleaning supplies – Get your brooms, brushes, and cleaning agents. It’s time to roll up our sleeves!

2 – The KonMari Method

Do your things still spark joy?

The essential thing to remember before starting your cleanup mission is you don’t need all of this stuff. Sure, you might still want to keep some of them, but definitely not everything. Cleaning your home will mean decluttering room after room after room, and choosing which items to let go or to keep.

Let’s take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book.

Shelves and piles of books

Marie Kondo, who became a household name after Netflix released a series in 2019, champions the idea to keep only the things most important to us. The things that, according to her, still spark joy. Her technique, dubbed the KonMari method, begins by taking everything you want to organize into a pile and then categorizing them accordingly based on which you would still like to keep and which you might already want to throw away. An important part of her process is thanking the items, even those you might already consider trash, for the part they have played in your life. After all, you chose to keep them at some point! It’s a noteworthy part of her decluttering idea so that you can say goodbye properly and let go.

3 – Deep Clean

Since you’re already knee-deep in the decision to declutter, we highly recommend that you do a deep clean of the whole house. It’s best to do this at the same time as you sort and decide which items to save, but oftentimes you might need professional help. A hoarder’s house is bound to have issues with mold and, unfortunately, all sorts of pests.

You don’t get to do this a lot so why not make the effort to go all in? This decision is on a case-to-case basis, but if you already have an inkling of the amount of work that needs to be done, it’s better to know the numbers that you can call for professional services.

4 – Sorting Area

Some of the things you might find in your decluttering are items that truly serve a purpose and were just misplaced. In case you randomly find something but don’t know yet where to put it, it’s best to prepare a sorting space somewhere in your house or property. You can even use your yard!

An assortment of used things

Later on, once you have finished all the necessary cleaning and purging, you can get back to this sorting area to wade through the piles and determine if they should be put in the bathroom, the living room, the bedroom, etc.

5 – Start Small

The KonMari method talks about going through items based on category not by their location in your home. But for the purposes of house cleaning, we recommend that you do your cleaning room by room. To start, you need to begin your work in the smallest area in the house. No matter if it’s the bathroom or a broom closet. This way, should you need to take a lot of items out, you won’t have to dirty a smaller room.

6 – Take Breaks

If you start your cleanup in the smallest area in the house, you also won’t get overwhelmed too quickly. After finishing one room, you might be able to take a break before proceeding to the other rooms. You could use this time to assess your progress and acknowledge the great job you have been doing so far.

Don’t forget to wash your hands first if you end up snacking!

7 – Donate or Sell

If you ever thought that house cleaning was a thankless job, think again!

Cleaning can bring catharsis to many people as they learn to let go of items that used to mean a lot to them. That in itself is worth all of the effort of going through this difficult process. It can be a great help to your mental health because as you get older, you’ll find that clutter can make you less productive and it can have a great effect on your overall well-being.

A woman thinking

Once you recognize that there is no more space in your life for this clutter, you have three options. You might throw them away, decide to donate them, or even make some money by selling these items. For used items that still function properly, it may be best to give them away to those who might need them more. Sometimes, you might also find some items that you were never able to use, in which case, you’ll be able to try your hand at selling them. Just be careful, even if these items do not get sold, you must make the commitment of sticking to your original decision. You can always give them to family who don’t live with you or a loved one.

8 – Organize

One reason hoarding might get out of hand is because there are not enough storage containers at home, that’s why they simply made piles on the floor. It’s hard to create additional space, and in the scenario where this need arises, you might want to consider renting storage, but this has to become our last resort.

As much as you can, try to keep similar items together in a single container. Maybe you ended up with book “towers” because you didn’t have enough shelves. Should you find it impossible to let go of some clutter, at least try to put them in a place where they won’t create a mess, and definitely not on the floor. Try visiting a furniture store to get some ideas.

9 – Team Up

Whether you are the one with the hoarding problem or you are intervening for a loved one, you don’t have to do all the cleaning by yourself. In fact, if a deep clean of the home is the target, you will definitely need a lot of help from the family.

Make sure you schedule the cleaning during a time when people at home are not busy. If you know that someone will be using the room you need to clean, then you definitely won’t be able to do the job at all. Aside from clearing the rooms of people who might stand in your way, you’ll also be getting more available hands on deck.

10 – Move Forward

A woman speaking to a professional

Hoarding is a disorder that might be a symptom of a bigger problem. A hoarder got to this point because of an unaddressed issue. Whatever it is, it needs to be acknowledged and, if needed, professional help must be sought, because if not, you’ll just keep going in circles. By the time you finish the whole cleaning process, you’ll understand the serious effort this entails. It might not be something you want to do frequently.

Don’t worry though, this is just a phase in your life! As long as you have the determination, nothing is impossible. Just look at the excellent work you did cleaning up your home!