Hoarding Cleaning

Compulsive Hoarding

There is a psychological disorder in America today that gets much too little attention, especially in comparison with things like anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. It’s called compulsive hoarding, and more people have it or develop it than you might imagine. It can happen in response to a traumatic event or be a disorder present on its own, often as a part of another disorder such as OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) or ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). A person diagnosed with any disorder can be afflicted by a number of different side effects. For a hoarder, their dysfunction occurs due to a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions due to a perceived need to save them. They experience distress beyond reason at the thought of letting go of useless items, resulting in the excessive accumulation of them. Sometimes, this disorder occurs due to a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or loss of possessions in a fire or flood. Other times, it may develop as a part of another disorder.

The 5 Levels Of Hoarding

According to a 1993 “Clutter Hoarding Scale” devised by the National Study Group on Compulsive Disorganization, there are 5 levels of hoarding that go something like this:


Doors and stairways are accessible, normal household pet activity with light evidence of rodents or pests, and 1 to 3 pet accidents are evident. Clutter is not excessive and normal, healthy housekeeping with no odors.


One main exit is blocked. One major appliance or heating/venting/cooling device has not worked for 6 months or more. Some pet odor and pet waste evident. Light pet dander and limited fish, bird or reptile care. Light to medium evidence of common household rodents or insects. Clutter inhabits 2 or more rooms. Functions are unclear for the living room and bedrooms. Paths are narrowing slightly throughout the home. Housekeeping is limited and light but unpleasant odors present. Overflowing trash cans, light to medium mildew in bathroom & kitchen, moderately soiled food preparation surfaces.

LEVEL Three:

Visible clutter outdoors, including items normally stored indoors like sofas and T.V.’s. 2 or more broken appliances, excessive use of electrical cords. Light structural damage to 1 portion of the house has occurred in the last 6 months. Pets exceed local limits, stagnant fish tanks, neglected reptile & bird cages. Audible rodent evidence, light flea infestation, medium amount of spider webs present. Indoor clutter, narrower pathways and 1 bedroom or bathroom not fully usable. Small amount of obviously hazardous substance spilled, excessive dust, dirty bed linens, no recent vacuuming or sweeping, heavily soiled food preparation surfaces. Full and odorous trash cans, dirty laundry exceeds 3 hampers per bedroom and strong, unpleasant odors throughout the house.

LEVEL four:

Structural damage is more than 6 months old, mold and mildew present, inappropriate use of appliances, damage to 2 or more sections of wall boards, faulty weather protections and hazardous electrical wiring and odor or evidence of sewer backup. Pets exceed local limits by at least 4 animals, aged animal waste, pet dander everywhere and pet damage inside home, flea infestation, excessive spiders and webs, bats and raccoons in the attic. Bedroom is unusable and hazardous materials are stored inside the home. There are flammable and packed materials in living area or attached garage. Rotting food on counters, 1-15 aged cans with buckled surfaces evident, no clean dishes or utensils, no bed covers and lice in the bedding.

LEVEL five:

Obvious structural damage, broken walls, disconnected electrical service, no water service or working sewer or septic system. Standing water indoors, fire hazards and hazardous materials exceed local ordinances, pets are dangerous both to occupants and guests. Rodents in sight, mosquitoes or other insect infestations, regional critters such as squirrels inside the home. Kitchen and bathroom unusable. Occupant sleeping outside the home. Human feces, rotting food and more than 15 cans with buckled surfaces inside the home.

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Progressive Disorder

As you can plainly see, compulsive hoarding is a progressive disorder or disease. A person with this diagnosis can be in serious trouble if no help is sought. Sometimes, a person who compulsively hoards can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Here are some of the symptoms or behaviors they may exhibit:

  • Inability to throw away possessions
  • Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
  • Great difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions
  • Indecision about what to keep or where to put things
  • Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
  • Suspicion of other people touching items
  • Obsessive thoughts and actions: fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future; checking the trash for accidentally discarded objects
  • Functional impairments, including loss of living space, social isolation, family or marital discord, financial difficulties, health hazards

Hoarding Cleaning

Hoarding Cleaning Obviously, this kind of behavior can create a huge problem, both for the person affected as well as for anyone who cares about them and ever comes in contact with them. If a person with this disorder does not get help and dies in a home like we discussed earlier in this article, Crime Scene Cleaners gets called in as the place who does the best hoarding cleaning Seattle has to offer. A home that was occupied by a compulsive hoarder is a huge biohazard. Do not attempt to try and clean a place like this yourself, as it can be extremely dangerous. Let the pros handle this situation, like the ones here at Crime Scene Cleaners, where we have nearly 25 years of experience with all levels of professional cleaning. Even if the person has not died in the home, a compulsive hoarder’s house is often structurally damaged, as well as poses serious fire hazards and health risks. We have the protective gear and the experience needed in dealing with hazardous waste and materials to tackle this kind of job, where others do not. For the really tough projects like hoarding cleaning, Seattle uses Crime Scene Cleaners.
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