Losing a loved one is hard. Losing a parent might just be harder. But what if that parent has amassed a collection of stuff over the years? Cleanup becomes that much more difficult when you’re having to go through the home of a hoarder parent.
If you are dealing with the death of a hoarder parent, you probably spent years trying to get them to clean up their home while they were living. While the prospect of going through years and years of accumulated garbage and piles may seem overwhelming, it can actually be a whole lot easier after death.
Before You Start Cleaning
How can an adult child go through a hoarder parent’s home and make sense of all the mess? It’s not easy, but there are some things you can do to make the process smoother.
- A hoarder’s home is essentially a biohazard. After all, if they haven’t cleaned in decades, it will be filled with rotting trash, bugs, rodents, and droppings. The home is also likely to have mold and bacteria colonies. Make sure you are up to date with your hepatitis, tetanus, and RBI shots to protect against dangerous infections such as staph, E.coli, Hantavirus, and histoplasmosis. It’s also a good idea to have the home inspected by a biohazard specialist before starting.
- Get ready with heavy-duty trash bags, cardboard boxes, tape, and markers. You’ll also need rubber gloves, a dust mask, and a pair of boots. Be sure you have a mop and mop bucket, stepladder, broom, dustpan, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and a vacuum cleaner.
Get Organized for a Smoother Cleanup
When you start the cleaning process, you will want to allocate four separate, organized piles to separate everything you find:
- A trash pile. A general rule of thumb is if it’s broken, worn, very used, or clearly trash, it should be placed here.
- A donation pile. All items you can recover that are still in good, useable order for which you have no use should be placed here and donated to your local charity.
- A keep pile. This pile is for all items that you have some use for, or items of value such as heirlooms and family photos.
- A recycling pile. Many hoarders keep newspapers, glass bottles, and cardboard boxes. You would be doing the world a favor by recycling these items rather than throwing them in the trash, not to mention you may get a little bit of cash for it!
One last tip:
- Clean the bathroom first! Cleaning up after a hoarder parent is an extremely long process, likely taking days or even weeks. You will need to go to the bathroom, not to mention you will probably feel the urge to clean your hands 50 times a day.
When a Hoarder Parent Problem Is Too Much
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may look at this challenge as something exciting that you can handler. But if the thought of finding dead critters and piles of garbage doesn’t appeal to you, it might be time to outsource.
AZ Floodmasters offers hoarder removal and cleanup services to relieve you from this daunting task. Contact us to learn more.