Imagine being in a situation where you’re trying to either sell a house that was occupied by a hoarder or trying to rent the house in the same situation after that particular occupant is no longer in the home. For starters, it’s virtually impossible to rent or sell a house in the type of condition that is routinely seen when extreme hoarding is present. Even when hoarding exists in a relatively mild setting, the house can become so dirty that other problems start to present themselves. These other issues often involve the presence of rodents, potentially dangerous insects and in some cases, even snakes. In some of the most severe hoarding cases, the home hasn’t been dusted or vacuumed in years. Food may be left sitting on countertops until it spoils, resulting in the presence of maggots, flies and the diseases that are often connected to them. Worse yet, the bathroom area may become so filled with items that it’s virtually impossible for the individual living in the home to use the facilities and then dispose of that waste properly by using the toilet. Frequently, all of these things come together to create a situation that goes far beyond dealing with a dirty home. In reality, that home can easily become a bona fide health risk that represents a number of hazards to anyone who goes near it.
Hoarding Isn’t Always Obvious From the Outside
One of the things that makes it possible for hoarding to occur over the course of a number of years is that some of the most extreme hoarders don’t allow the outside of their property to become unkempt. In fact, the house may look perfectly acceptable from the outside, only to present a rather unpleasant surprise the minute the door is opened. People that have a tendency to hoard often feel a certain amount of shame about their hoarding. Therefore, they may hide that part of themselves from the rest of the world, so to speak. This often results in a house that has a mowed yard and appears to be well maintained for those who are on the outside looking in. Inside the structure, it may be a very different story.
Reasons Why Hoarding Can Become Such a Problem
In order to understand why some individuals allow their homes to become almost completely uninhabitable, it’s important to understand some of the psychological effects that are typically associated with hoarding. It usually results from some type of loss or previous trauma. Some examples include individuals who were abused as children or someone who has lost the most important person in their life. When these types of things happen, people may begin to feel attracted to objects. They acquire more possessions because they want to feel safe. These objects may allow them to feel safer because they feel like they can’t be hurt by something inanimate. Hoarding is often accompanied by depression and anxiety. In some cases, the individual in question may use the hoarding behavior to try and mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, as acquiring possessions may allow them to feel less anxious and even less sad. Unfortunately, it is a behavior that has a tendency to feed off itself. Therefore, a person who begins hoarding may not be able to stop themselves after a relatively short time of displaying the behavior. It is a largely misunderstood type of behavior. Sadly, the person in question is often blamed for allowing themselves to acquire so many possessions and not taking the necessary steps to keep their home clean. In many cases, the reality of the situation is that they are suffering from some type of mental or emotional trauma that leaves them largely incapable of doing so.
Hoarding Can Turn Into a Hazardous Materials Situation
One of the major problems with hoarding is that it doesn’t take long for the situation to turn into something that can be truly dangerous. As previously mentioned, a number of houses affected by hoarding have so many possessions inside of them that it is virtually impossible to walk through a room. In some cases, items are literally stacked to the ceiling. This presents a number of potential hazards for anyone inside that structure. Items could potentially fall on them and if they do, it may be impossible for that individual to get out from under the weight of everything that has landed on top of them. It also presents a certain issue when it comes to individual health, as different materials may be present in the home that could be dangerous if inadvertently mixed together. This is what happens when some chemicals are in close proximity to each other. Even when that particular issue isn’t present, living in a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned in years is not healthy under any circumstances. In many cases, it can present a very real hazard to one’s health in a number of different ways.
Proper Cleaning Is Necessary
The very idea of living in a house where so much dust and dirt has accumulated is enough to make most people cringe. Dealing with problems associated with rodents and other types of wildlife that may have entered the home is another thing entirely. The presence of these types of animals inside a home presents a great deal of danger to the health of any individual inside. It is extremely hazardous to breathe air including feces from rodents, which are very likely to be present inside the structure. In addition, they may carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted to individuals living inside the home as well as pets. Therefore, proper cleaning and disinfecting of the area is absolutely essential. Merely removing items and cleaning the home as a normal home would be cleaned isn’t likely to be enough to get the job done. In cases such as these, it’s time to involve a biohazard remediation company that can make the structure safe for habitation once everything has been removed.
For all of the reasons listed, it is imperative that any home where hoarding has occurred is thoroughly disinfected, not just cleaned. Hiring experts from a biohazard remediation company is a key component of making the property healthy again. In fact, it is the only way to truly ensure that the property is safe for someone to live there in the future.