Compulsive hoarding is a behavioural disorder that is simply defined as the excessive collection of items beyond the needs of a typical household, thus affecting the function of the home. Symptoms of compulsive hoarding can range from mild to to acute, and in most cases, will only worsen without proper help.
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If you or a family member in Hampshire or Surrey are suffering from compulsive hoarding issues then we can help with our de-cluttering service.
How Our De-Cluttering Service Works
We provide a slightly different service for the two main circumstances we encounter when de-cluttering a home. The main difference is whether the home owner/hoarder will be present or not when the de-cluttering service is conducted…
De-Cluttering With The Home Owner at The Property
With most compulsive hoarders, simply clearing the property whilst they are at home has a negative effect and doesn’t actually help the individual to deal with their problem. If the hoarder isn’t involved in the de-cluttering process, they are far more likely to simply ‘re-hoard’ the room once it’s been cleared so we work with the sufferer and encourage them to participate in the de-cluttering.
So what we do is conduct a room-by-room process, taking things slowly and engaging with the hoarder so they don’t become distressed or feel they’re losing control of the situation.
This process is broken-down as follows:
Step 1 – Start Small
We firstly identify a room in the home that the hoarder feels most comfortable initially dealing with. This could be a living room, a bedroom, a garage or even a just a few kitchen cupboards. The initial aim is introduce the hoarder to the process with very small steps so they don’t feel like they are losing control. Once they become comfortable with how we work and their own reaction to de-cluttering, we can move forward.
Step 2 – Keep or Move
Many hoarders will feel a loss of control when we talk of disposing of their hoarded clutter. To minimise this reaction until the hoarder is more comfortable, we don’t initially dispose of any of their clutter. As the clutter is sorted, it goes into one of two categories – the ‘keep’ category where the items remain in the room or the ‘move’ category where the items are bagged or boxed and moved either to an external storage facility, the garage or shed, or a designated storage room in the home.
Step 3 – Installing Positivity
It is important that the hoarder continually sees benefits to the process and those benefits are reinforced with small but tangible landmarks. A positive landmark could be that their sofa is cleared and they can sit comfortably on it again. It could be that a bookcase is cleared and family photos can be properly displayed. The idea is to break the whole process down into a number of smaller tasks that all have a positive outcome and tangible benefit to the hoarder.
Step 4 – Building Confidence
With many hoarders, once they follow the steps above, they’ll become increasingly comfortable and confident in de-cluttering their home. As long as the momentum is continued, we can continue to de-clutter the rest of the home with the confidence that the hoarder will by now, be confident enough to deal with their clutter.
De-Cluttering a Vacant Property
There are times, especially with the elderly, when the home owner has moved from their home into residential care, or sadly passed away. In such circumstances the scope of our de-cluttering service changes to focus on returning the property to a clean and clear state.
The process for dealing with a vacant property is as follows:
Step 1 – Sifting & Sorting
The first step when dealing with a cluttered home is to ascertain what is to be disposed of and what is to be kept so that important items are not accidentally thrown away (such as legal documents, items of sentimental value, etc). This involves a thorough sorting of each room one by one. Obvious waste is bagged and removed from the property and anything that potentially needs to be kept is put aside for inspection by the customer.
Step 2 – Bagging & Boxing
Before we start de-cluttering, we’ll clarify with you what you’d like us to do with all of the non-waste items in the home. It may be that some items will need to be transported to another location such as a storage facility or a family members home, or taken to a charity shop. As all the clutter is sorted, it will be bagged & boxed and then organised for transportation to it’s relevant location.
Step 3 – Cleaning
Once the property/room is emptied, our staff will then thoroughly clean it so that is habitable once again. In some situations where the hoarding has been severe or cleaning has been neglected for some time, it may be necessary to set-up a separate visit after the home is cleared. We’ll be able to advise you on the best way forward once the property is clear of clutter and we can ascertain the level of cleaning required. You cna see more information about our home cleaning service here (opens in new tab/window)
Dealing With The Clutter
Regardless of whether the home owner/hoarder is present or not, there will be a large amount of clutter that needs to be removed from the home. We can help by dealing with this clutter in one of two ways:
STORAGE: We can arrange local transport and storage of all possessions that are not required in the home and can be sorted or disposed of at a later date.
DISPOSAL: If you require the disposal of unwanted possessions and general household waste, we can arrange for it to be collected and disposed of at a recycling centre.
With both options, we can also conduct a full clean of the property or room once the clutter has been removed. This service is included in our overall price, subject to the level of cleaning required.
How Much Does Our De-Cluttering Service Cost?
We use specialist staff for all our de-cluttering services – staff that are trained to be sympathetic, patient, understanding yet effective when dealing with hoarding issues. All staff have undergone a criminal background check and are insured.
Because every de-cluttering case is different, it’s impossible to set a fixed price without inspecting the property so for convenience, we provide our de-cluttering service on a half and full day basis as follows:
Rates per staff member
Daily rate = £200
The prices quoted would also include cleaning the property/room once the clutter is removed, subject to sufficient time being available after the clutter is removed. If a second visit is required to clean, we’ll provide a quote at the end of the allotted time based upon the remaining work required.
For situations where the home owner/hoarder is present, we would recommend a single staff member for the first visit so they can build a relationship and trust with the customer, without the process being too intimidating. Once the first visit is completed, we can re-asses the situation and decide if another visit is required and what level of additional work (if any) is required to totally de-clutter the property.
The only additional costs beyond those quoted above would be for any packaging materials used such as packing cartons, transportation & storage, or for transporting and disposing of unwanted items or waste. These additional costs can be quoted once the first visit is completed and we’ve got a better understanding of the customers needs.
If you would like us to provide a fixed quote then please submit your details in the form below and we’ll confirm a fixed-price once we understand the scope of your de-cluttering requirements.
In the first instance, all you need to do is complete the enquiry form below, in complete confidence and without any obligation. We’ll then call you and discuss your specific circumstances and propose the best way forward. Equally, if you have any specific questions you’d like to ask before we call you, simply check the relevant box in the form or you can call us on 01252 416 260.
The following link provide additional information about compulsive hoarding, including clinical support. All links open in a new browser tab/window.
Clinical help for sufferers of compulsive hoarding syndrome should only be provided by a suitably qualified medical practitioner, helping the sufferer address and treat the root problem behind their hoarding but it obviously won’t help to deal with the hoarded effects in the home – that’s the solution we provide. We do not provide, nor do we claim to provide any clinical solutions to the root cause of compulsive hoarding which can only be provided by a qualified medical expert.