A disaster in the home doesn’t always stem from a fuse blowing, gas leak or a natural disaster. Sometimes it is caused by the person living in the home. The real culprit? Hoarding. Hoarding is a leading cause in many home disasters, and we are here to help clean it up.
A home that has fallen victim to hoarding is in need of restoration, depending on the level of severity. Ultimately, by coming in and cleaning up the mess, we are not only helping to restore your home, but also your life!
First off, what is hoarding?
Hoarding is the act of having or collecting excessive amounts of things. Sometimes animals fall into this category as well. Hoarding can lead to a cluttered living environment, only leaving narrow pathways to navigate the space. Overall, the act may start out innocently, but soon can grow into a dangerous problem.
What causes hoarding?
The most likely answer to this question is that it is a mental state. It could possible stem from one’s genetics and/or upbringing as well, however there’s not a real defining factor for it other than one’s state of mind. It can involve anyone and everyone, no matter what age, gender, race or economic status.
There are five levels to the severity of hoarding. Below are examples of evidence and how to assess the hoarding at each level.
Level 1: The home is still accessible with few to zero spill or pet accidents. There is clutter, but it is not yet excessive.
Level 2: One or more exits are blocked and/or a major appliance is not working. There are spills, odors and some bug infestation. Clutter is excessive and garbage is overflowing.
Level 3: The clutter has spread outdoors due to lack of space indoors. Two or more major appliances no longer function. There are multiple spills, obvious odor and hazardous substances are found.
Level 4: There is visible structure damage to the home. Evidence of mold and/or mildew growth forming, strong odors, common rooms and sleeping areas are unusable, rotting food is found.
Level 5: There is major structure damage to the home, which could result in no power, no water, and no sewer function. Obvious hazards, such as a fire or poor health, arise. Ultimately, the home is no longer livable.
Signs & Symptoms of Hoarding:
- Cluttered living spaces
- Countertops or other surfaces found in the home are covered with clutter and piles.
- The inability to throw anything away:
- Accumulation of unnecessary items such as excessive newspapers, magazines or junk mail or trash.
- Piles are moved outside once there is no more space indoors.
- Have a difficult time with organization
- Have a difficult time making decisions
- Extreme attachment to items
Although it’s hard to pinpoint where hoarding all begins and who will be victim to it, there has been information researched on how hoarding can be the cause of negative effects to an individual and those around them. Here are some of the risks that have surfaced:
- Age: Hoarding typically starts at a young age and gets worse over time. The usual age is around 13-14 years, but may start even earlier.
- Family History: If there is a strong connection with a family member that is a hoarder, there is a good chance that you may become one as well.
- Stressful Life Events: Sometimes hoarding is sparked by a hard life event. It can be a way for some people to cope. Often times it is from an tragic event of loss, such as a death of a loved one, a divorce, eviction or even losing belongings in a fire. Hoarding steps in as a mode to control holding onto something, as to not lose or let go of something out of their own control.
- Social Isolation: Hoarding can lead to social isolation. People that hoard often withdraw and isolate themselves and turn to hoarding because they feel lonely. It becomes a vicious cycle.
There are more serious complications as a result of hoarding than a giant mess. They can often lead to harm for the person or people involved. Below are a few occurrences as a result of too much clutter within one living space:
- Unsanitary conditions
- Increased risk of person falling
- Increased risk of items falling on people
- Inability to perform daily tasks, such as cooking or bathing
- Poor focus and performance
- Family conflicts
- Loneliness due to social isolation
Although there is no known cure to hoarding and what starts it all, there are ways to be treated at the first sign of hoarding to prevent it from becoming severe.
Don’t let the disorder and the messes consume your life of the life of a loved one any longer. If you are seeking a professional junk removal crew in Milwaukee, please give us a call today!