Hoarding Cleanups: Disposal Options, Considerations & Costs
Going far beyond simply collecting trinkets and doohickeys, hoarding is recognized as a mental health condition within the category of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). We’ll touch on what hoarding is, but our main focus is how to tackle hoarding disposal solutions.
Hoarding is a rather common disorder affecting as many as 1 in 20 people, according to the International OCD Foundation. The mental health side of hoarding is most often recognized in the elderly and in people clinically diagnosed with depression, anxiety, OCD, or dementia.
What’s the difference between collecting and hoarding?
There’s a definite line between collecting versus hoarding. While both situations involve the accumulation of “stuff,” there’s a key difference in the mental state of a collector versus a hoarder.
Collectors generally have a sense of pride in whatever it is they collect, and they will keep it organized and on display in a tidy fashion. Collectors tend to stick to a budget when adding to their collection and are well aware of the debt consequences of purchasing too much.
A hoarder’s mentality, on the other hand, is that of feeling embarrassed about their accumulation of possessions, yet cannot wrap their head around disposing or parting ways with it. Those who hoard are often in debt, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
When it comes to hoarding situations, our focus at HometownDumpsterRental.com is to tackle the decluttering and junk removal aspect because it’s where our expertise lies. So, let’s get into it.
Assembling a team
Step 1 of addressing any hoarding situation is to assemble a team of supportive and motivated people that the individual trusts.
The decluttering and cleanout process is incredibly difficult on those who hoard, so it’s important to have lots of support, motivation, and even a bit of tough love in some cases.
A family member or close friend should be in charge of assembling a team and addressing the situation with the hoarding individual. An intervention is commonly used to address the situation head-on.
A dumpster is your best friend
With a team in place, it’s time to determine the project’s means of disposal. In hoarding situations, a dumpster is your best friend. It allows for bulk removal of trash, junk, broken furniture, paper/magazines, household items, and more.
Hiring a junk removal company to handle the hoarding cleanup is a viable alternative, although a large job like that will cost into the thousands of dollars for a whole-home complete cleanout. The cost of renting a dumpster will be at least half the cost in most cases.
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Don’t throw everything away
Separate items of value, like furniture, household items, unopened packages, and other items that could be of benefit to others. These items can then be brought to local charitable organizations or sold. Recyclables can also be separated and brought to the nearest recycling facility.
Recyclables include newspaper, cardboard, metals, plastics, and building materials. Keeping as much junk and debris from ending up in landfills is the most eco-friendly solution. Your dumpster rental provider can help you optimize an eco-friendly disposal strategy.
TIP: Get a separate dumpster for recyclables only. Some rental providers offer discounts for clean-loaded dumpsters containing only recyclables. Just ask!
How to help a hoarder clean their house
Be supportive and work on the cleanup at a pace they’re comfortable with. Patience is a key attribute that helpers will need to harness during most hoarding cleanups. Keep a positive, supportive attitude during the project.
Aside from the mental preparation involved in helping during a hoarding situation cleanup, it’s also important to prep for the potential dangers involved in such a project.
These dangers include but are not limited to:
- trip/fall hazards
- bacteria and other biohazards associated with unclean environments
- rodents, ants, infestations
- sharp edges (Be careful what you grab!)
- injuries caused by heavy, repeated lifting
Hoarding cleaning services
Specialty cleanup companies focused on hoarding situations may be an option. This may or may not be available in your area. These hoarding cleanup services are very much like junk removal service providers, only they are more informed about the psychological aspects associated with hoarding.
Search local junk removal companies and ask if they offer expertise in handling hoarding situations. If they don’t specialize in hoarding situations, ask if they know of any companies that do. Because hoarding is a growing problem in the U.S., companies specializing in hoarding cleanups are also on the rise.
How to reduce disposal costs
A job like hoarding cleanup is a major project. Not surprisingly, projects of this magnitude require a large dumpster or junk removal solution. A large hoarding project will generally require a 30 or 40 yard dumpster for the average sized home.
Large dumpsters can cost $400 or more to rent for (usually) a seven-day rental period. Disposal costs can add up quickly, especially if several dumpsters are necessary to complete the job. If a junk removal service is hired for the job, expect to pay at least double the cost of renting a dumpster.
To ensure you’re getting the best price on a dumpster, use the tips below:
- Call several dumpster providers and get a quote from each. Use the information gathered to negotiate a discount or a longer rental period.
- Choose the larger dumpster if you're on the fence between sizes. The difference in price is less compared to having to potentially rent a second dumpster to finish the job.
- Some dumpster rental companies offer discounts for seniors, military, veterans, etc.
Learn more about saving on dumpster rental costs.
Benefits of hoarding cleanups
There are so many benefits to cleaning up a cluttered house, and it goes beyond that of the house itself. It can help promote a calm, uncluttered state of mind. Here are some other benefits:
- Vastly increased property value
- Decreased risk of fire, falls, and disease
- A safer living environment for children, as well as adults
When getting started on a hoarding cleanup project, begin by conducting research online at reputable websites specializing in hoarding disorders. It may be necessary to contact a health professional with expertise in treating hoarding conditions. That can be one of the best sources of information.
When the project is ready to get underway, plan ahead and contact several dumpster rental companies or junk removal companies at least 1 - 2 weeks in advance. This will ensure availability as well as getting the best service at the right price.