There are varied reasons people hang on to things they don’t need based on their circumstances or deeper-lying struggles. A cluttered home—even one that would qualify as a Level 5 situation—doesn’t stem from laziness or lack of willpower.
More often than not, a cluttered home is the result of a difficult-to-control situation, which is part of normal life.
What’s the source of your clutter? Following, are a few factors that may be contributing to your at-home clutter:
Having children can bring an abundance of joy, but also plenty of clutter.
Baby gear that is only used for a short period of time, rapidly changing clothes sizes, and piles of toys accumulate quickly.
It doesn’t end with the baby phase, though. As all guardians know, older kids and teens bring their own messes into the home.
Food-related messes combined with sleep deprivation can make it difficult to keep up with housework.
With children leaving clutter everywhere and food-related messes needing immediate care, it can be difficult to keep up with housework. Especially when you consider the sleep deprivation that also comes with kids.
Between art and science projects on the counter and smelly gym bags and laundry
left around the house, things can get (or stay!) messy.
It doesn’t help that children aren’t well-known for cleaning up after themselves!
As adults age, they may struggle to keep up with their housework.
Think of all the reaching and bending over. Consider all the hard scrubbing. With health issues, simple cleaning tasks take much longer to accomplish, if it can still be done.
Decreased mobility and increased health issues can make cleaning overwhelming or even impossible.
In addition, it can be difficult to let go of possessions accumulated over a lifetime.
Anxiety can make it difficult to throw away possessions.
People with anxiety may hold on to items in excess in case of a feared emergency or indecision about what to do with items.
Finding the motivation to clean and declutter is often a struggle for someone suffering from depression.
The stress of an out-of-control home situation (whether it’s actually out of control
or simply perceived to be) can create a negative feedback loop.
For example, maybe you’re struggling with depression and lack the motivation to do the dishes. This means the dishes quickly pile up and within a week or two every surface in your kitchen could be covered in dirty dishes.
Now, you’re facing an overwhelming mess that can make you feel even worse—piling on exhaustion, guilt, and shame—and making you even less likely to find the motivation to clean up.
This cycle can leave those struggling with depression feeling more overwhelmed and less able to approach their home situation.
Individuals with ADHD often have intense, passionate interests and may accumulate items related to that interest. In addition, it can be difficult for a person with ADHD to create and stay focused on a plan for a big cleaning project. Anytime there are multiple steps involved, it’s easy for people with ADHD to get distracted.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by obsessive, intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. People with OCD sometimes deal with anxieties and emergencies by compulsively buying items. They may have obsessions about running out of essential items or a buying ritual that is difficult to break out of.
Trauma can be a trigger for accumulating clutter. If someone grew up without:
They may feel driven to hold onto things rather than throw them away when they are no longer needed. Research shows that childhood emotional abuse and physical neglect in particular predict higher levels of hoarding symptoms.
People who have experienced loss may also accumulate possessions to soothe the ache of missing their loved one. Buying new things triggers a brief dopamine high, bringing temporary emotional relief.
If you grew up in a home where clutter was common, you are more likely to show these behaviors yourself. You may have a genetic disposition toward it through related diagnoses like anxiety or depression. You may also be more used to an environment where clutter, mess, and even the higher levels of hoarding are the norm.
No matter the reason clutter starts, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed by the situation. Home maintenance is a big task under any conditions. Certain factors can make the situation feel impossible such as:
Stress can lead to disorganized homes, and disorganized homes can increase stress. Natalie Christine Dattilo, PhD, clinical health psychologist and instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, calls it a chicken-or-egg dilemma.
“Recent studies have shown that clutter in our homes is associated with higher cortisol levels [our stress hormone], but it’s still unclear which comes first,” says Dattilo.
“Is it that when we are under stress, our ability to maintain a well-organized home becomes impaired? Or when our home is in disarray, does that make us feel more stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious?”
Regardless of the root of the issue, there is a way out. Resources are available to help you deal with your home situation. Bio-One can help! Our services can help ease your stress. For more information on how we can help you with your clutter call (704) 645-0345.
The word “hoarding” probably evokes a particular image, made more common by shows like Hoarders that highlight extreme examples. In reality, not all hoarders have rooms full of items piled high to the ceiling.
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (now, there’s a relatable title!) has classified hoarding behavior into five levels on their Clutter-Hoarding Scale.Level 1 Hoarding
At Level 1, a home is not pristine, but the space is still easily accessible and sanitary. There is clutter, but no concern for safety. Most, if not all of us, have been in Level 1. Many people spend most of their time in this stage.
Here are the defining characteristics of this level:
At Level 2, the home is still very livable, but there’s more evidence of disarray. The home is in need of cleaning and may be starting to overwhelm the residents. The hygiene level isn’t optimal.
Most of us bounce between Level 1 and Level 2. However, here are the more defining characteristics of Level 2:
Level 3 is considered the turning point between manageable household disorganization and a more serious issue. Level 3 homes show extreme disorganization and indicate hoarding behavior.
Here are the defining characteristics of this level:
Level 3 households should consider hiring outside help. Although, it’s still possible to get it under control with a concerted effort from the whole family
At Level 4, the home shows excessive clutter.Those living in Level 4 conditions need professional help. At this level, part of getting help includes professional cleaning to transform the house into a safe, hygienic space where people can thrive. Mental health counselors and social workers may also step in to help residents change their habits.
Here are the defining characteristics of this level:
Level 5 is the highest level of hoarding behavior. Level 5 homes are alarmingly hazardous.
They require professionals with safety equipment and training to clean.
Here are the defining characteristics of this level:
If you or someone you know is struggling with these levels of hoarding we are here to help.
You can find more information at https://bioonerowancounty.com/ or contact us at (704) 645-0345
Hoarder clean up services and helping a person in a hoarding situation reclaim their living space is just the beginning of the recovery process. Hoarding is a complex issue rooted in deep emotional and psychological conditions. Therefore, it is essential to approach post-cleanup strategies with sensitivity, understanding and a focus on long-term change.
After using professional hoarding cleanup services, the real work begins - preventing a future relapse. Let’s explore various ways to sustain the cleanliness of the home, support mental health and promote ongoing recovery to prevent a return to hoarding behavior.
Hoarding is not simply a case of disorganization or laziness. It's a recognized mental health condition often linked to anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Hoarding may start small and gradually progress, or it can escalate quickly following a traumatic event.
Addressing the physical manifestation of the disorder, which is the clutter, is critical. But without treating the underlying psychological issues, the risk of relapse is high.
Professional hoarder cleaning services play an invaluable role in managing hoarding situations. Trained experts handle the cleanup process with sensitivity and respect. They understand the emotional distress associated with discarding possessions, even those of little to no value.
At Bio-One of Rowan County, we can provide you with comprehensive and compassionate hoarding cleaning services. Hoarding cleanup situations should never be handled by family members, friends, a landlord or even a general maid service.
Not only is this task too stressful for loved ones and landlords to handle, but we also typically encounter many dangerous and toxic items during the cleanup process. A professional biohazard remediation team is the best option to consider because we are detached emotionally from the person that hoards and we have the proper protective gear and equipment and cleaning supplies to fully remove all toxic materials.
We often encounter toxic materials such as dead animals, rodent droppings, human waste, rotten food and mold during the cleaning process. Toxins, such as rodent droppings and mold, require specialized cleaning techniques and cleaning products to ensure that they are handled and removed properly.
While we don’t have the same level of emotional involvement with the hoarder that friends and family do, we still strive to provide the most compassionate services possible. We understand how upsetting these sensitive situations can be and will do our best to handle items with care and salvage whatever is possible either to keep, donate or sell.
Once the cleaning process is complete, the home transforms from a hazardous, cluttered space to a safe and comfortable living environment. But the journey doesn't end there. Preventing future relapses involves ongoing work.
To sustain the progress made through hoarding cleanup services, consider the following steps:
Therapy or counseling services are crucial in helping individuals manage their hoarding behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective, as it helps individuals understand their thought processes and learn healthier coping mechanisms.
Scheduling regular follow-ups with the individual can provide the encouragement they need to maintain a clutter-free home. These visits can be performed by a trusted friend, family member or a professional organizer.
Encourage participation in hoarding support groups. Sharing experiences with others who face similar challenges can provide reassurance and practical tips for maintaining an organized home. There are also organizations to help support children of hoarders and it can be beneficial for those affected by hoarding to seek support and help, as well.
Help the individual establish simple organization systems. Having a place for everything makes it easier to avoid clutter accumulation. A professional organizer can be hired to help the hoarder and provide some helpful tips to make staying organized as simple as possible.
Define what is acceptable to acquire and keep. Setting limits can help manage the number of items that enter the home. You can even set a goal to donate an item if a similar item is acquired.
Loneliness and social isolation can exacerbate hoarding behavior. Regular social interaction can help provide the emotional support needed for long-term recovery. Make a plan for a weekly dinner or perhaps a weekly excursion or take time each day to call or text. This can help a person feel more connected to others.
It’s also good to encourage a hoarder to engage in some outside activities, such as going to church or joining a club or even taking part in charitable activities. Getting out of the house and interacting with others can improve every aspect of a person’s life.
Reading self-help books or watching relevant documentaries can provide insights into hoarding behavior and how to combat it.
Preventing relapses in hoarding situations is a long-term commitment. It requires ongoing mental health support and practical strategies to maintain a clean and safe living environment. Through these measures, we can help individuals in hoarding situations achieve a sustained recovery, improving both their physical surroundings and overall quality of life.
Remember, professional hoarding cleaning services can provide an essential first step in this journey. But the real work lies in the ongoing support, understanding, and patience that will help prevent future relapses. If you do need hoarder clean up services, contact the team at Bio-One at any time. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year. In addition to hoarding cleanup, we can provide you with crime scene cleanup, death cleanup, mold cleaning services and all other types of biohazard cleanup. We serve all of Rowan County as well as the entire Charlotte metro area.
As professional biohazard cleanup experts, hoarding cleaning services are one of our areas of specialization. We’ve seen firsthand the detrimental effects of hoarding, and we also know that there can be many legal issues associated with both hoarding and hoarding cleanup. Let’s take a quick look at hoarding disorders and what laws might apply to these types of situations.
Facts About Hoarding Disorder
If a loved one or tenant suffers from hoarding disorder, this is extremely upsetting for them as well as their family, friends and, of course, a landlord. Hoarding is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and typically it is recognized as being on the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) spectrum.
It’s wrong to assume that people with OCD are obsessed with organization and cleanliness because often an obsession or compulsive behavior has nothing to do with cleanliness or tidiness. With hoarding, a person compulsively and/or obsessively acquires possessions and has great difficulty parting with these items.
Often the items are acquired with little rhyme or reason, and this is generally one facet that separates hoarding from collecting. Collectors usually have specific reasons for acquiring each new item for their collection, while a hoarder simply continues buying or acquiring items and feels a compelling need to save these items even if they seem to have little to no value. Eventually, these possessions pile up throughout the home and make it impossible to maintain a healthy level of cleanliness and safety.
Keep in mind, that while hoarding can be hugely frustrating and upsetting for landlords as well as family members, the person with the hoarding disorder also is suffering greatly and usually feels immense shame about the condition of their home.
We’ve found that a caring, compassionate approach to hoarding cleanup, combined with treatment from a mental health professional is the best way to handle these situations. It can be tough, but we’ve seen many positive outcomes despite what might look like a hopeless situation.
What Does The Law Say?
Because hoarding is considered a disability by the United States government and is classified as such in the Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Act. Individuals with hoarding disorders are protected by the ADA as well as the Fair Housing Act, and this means that landlords cannot evict homeowners because they are hoarding.
However, hoarding often violates certain health codes and other local or state laws, and this is the point where a landlord or family member or local safety officials can take action and require that a property be restored to a clean, safe state.
For instance, hoarding can constitute a public health issue. Unfortunately, hoarding can encourage pests, such as rodents, to accumulate on a property and this can spread pests beyond the property line to other dwellings. This can pose a community health risk, but if children are living at the hoarder’s home, this may violate laws regarding the children’s safety, and local officials may be forced to act on behalf of these minors.
This also can be true if an adult person in the home is either elderly or disabled (or both). If it is determined that the conditions in the home are causing harm to an elderly person or a disabled person, Adult Protective Services may intervene in the situation and require that the home be restored to a safe condition.
We’ve found that, in many cases, there also may be animal hoarding happening on the property or perhaps animal neglect. This is a common issue, and if animals are being abused, the local animal control officers also might need to become involved.
Additionally, local housing and building codes also might come into play with a hoarding situation. Fire safety, for instance, often is affected when a hoarding situation is out of control. In this case, there may be a legal obligation to clean up the property. Hoarding also can cause general damage to the structure of the property, which can pose a danger to the inhabitants.
So, while a landlord and family members may have their hands tied to some extent, there may be legalities at play that can, at least, force the situation to be remediated. This actually can be an excellent opportunity to encourage a hoarder to seek treatment for their hoarding disorder, which is the best possible outcome, and it can prevent future recurrences of hoarding.
Bio-One Can Help!
The team at Bio-One of Rowan County is available 24/7 to help with hoarding cleanup or any type of biohazard cleaning. When it comes to hoarding situations, landlords, family members and general cleaning services should not be used to remediate the situation as there are simply too many health risks, not to mention the emotional toll of this daunting task.
During a hoarding cleanup, we encounter a wide range of toxic and dangerous items. This ranges from rodent droppings and dead animals to mold and other toxins. Rotting food and human waste also often needs to be removed, and this type of cleanup is dangerous unless it is handled by professionals using proper protective gear and cleaning techniques.
Our team has many years of experience handling hoarding cleaning as well as death cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, mold cleaning services, homeless encampment cleanup and much more. We are a local company, and we serve all of Rowan County as well as Buncombe County, Cabarrus County, Gaston County and Mecklenburg County. If you need hoarding cleaning services or any other type of biohazard remediation services, don’t hesitate to call us at any time. We are available 24/7 and 365 days a year to provide comprehensive and compassionate cleanup services.
At Bio-One of Rowan County, we often are called in to provide hoarding cleanup services. While cleaning up a hoarding situation is a crucial task, convincing your loved one to take this step can be difficult. Here are a few facts about hoarding disorder and some tips to help you lead someone out of this terrible and unhealthy situation.
Hoarding Vs. Clutter
Many of us have homes filled with clutter, but that doesn’t mean we have a hoarding disorder. We lead busy lives, and it can be tough to find time to weed out old clothes, books and belongings that we don’t need. Sometimes, we also have emotional attachments to items in our home and it’s tough to part with these objects, but most of us get around to donating or tossing old items eventually.
In some cases, a person who enjoys collecting might have what appears to be a cluttered home. Generally, however, collectors tend to display items and have them organized and take a good deal of thought when purchasing or acquiring objects for their collections. This also wouldn’t usually be considered a hoarding disorder.
With hoarding, objects are acquired with little thought and there is often no rhyme or reason as to why these items are purchased. The clutter is highly disorganized and begins to take over every room in the home, blocking hallways and doorways. Often, the home is barely inhabitable and can be dangerous for the residents.
Understanding Hoarding Disorder
While hoarding has been a common mental health issue for years, Hoarding Disorder was a recent addition to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This manual, created by the American Psychiatric Association, classifies a wide range of mental health and neurological disorders.
According to the DSM-5, for a person to be diagnosed with a hoarding disorder, several qualifications need to be met, including:
It's important to note that hoarding disorder can range in severity from mild to severe, and not all individuals who hoard meet the full criteria for a diagnosis.
How To Help Your Loved One
Helping a loved one who hoards to seek treatment and have their home cleaned can be a delicate situation. Here are some tips to help you convince a loved one to seek treatment for a hoarding disorder and to have their home cleaned:
Start the conversation gently: It's important to approach the topic with empathy and understanding. Let your loved one know that you care about them and want to help.
Express concern for their health and safety: Hoarding can be dangerous, and it's important to express your concern for your loved one's health and safety.
Offer support and encouragement: Let your loved one know that you're there to support them and that you believe in their ability to make positive changes.
Educate yourself: Educate yourself on the nature of hoarding disorder, so you can better understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them.
Seek professional help: Encourage your loved one to seek professional help from a therapist who specializes in hoarding disorder.
Emphasize the benefits of treatment: Let your loved one know that seeking treatment can improve their quality of life and help them live in a safer and healthier environment.
Respect their autonomy: It's important to respect your loved one's autonomy and allow them to make their own decisions about seeking treatment.
Offer practical help: Offer to help your loved one with the practical aspects of cleaning their home, such as sorting through items and organizing their space.
Be patient: Recovery from hoarding disorder takes time, and it's important to be patient and supportive throughout the process.
Celebrate small victories: Celebrate your loved one's progress, no matter how small, to encourage and motivate them to continue making positive changes.
Why Use Professional Hoarding Cleaning Services?
There are two reasons why you should always seek the services of a professional biohazard cleanup company for hoarding cleanup. First, this type of cleanup can be dangerous and second, this is a highly emotional and difficult experience for you and your loved one with a hoarding disorder.
During a hoarding cleanup job, we encounter a wide range of toxic or unpleasant materials. This often includes dead animals and animal waste, as rodents and sometimes other animals will become trapped and die in the home. We often encounter mold and mildew and rotting food, as well as sharp objects.
Our biohazard remediation teams wear personal protective gear and use special equipment to remove toxic or dangerous items carefully. This is not something you should try to handle on your own.
People with hoarding disorder often become highly agitated during this process, and it can be a difficult and traumatic experience for family members and friends, as well. It’s better to have detached professionals provide this service. While we are compassionate and caring, we aren’t personally involved with the situation, which can make it easier for everyone.
Keep in mind that we will always do our best to salvage valuable items or items of sentimental value as well as furnishings and other important belongings. Our goal is to remove anything dangerous from the hoarder’s home and restore the home to a safe state. Hoarding cleanup can ensure that all biohazardous materials are removed, that access routes are safe and clear and that the fire danger has been reduced.
Call Bio-One Any Time!
If you need a professional hoarding cleanup company, the team at Bio-One is always here to help. We serve all of Rowan County as well as the entire Charlotte metro area. We can provide 24/7 hoarding cleanup as well as any type of biohazard cleaning and trauma cleanup, including crime scene cleanup, death cleanup, mold cleaning services and more.
Bio-One teams across the U.S. answer calls to help their communities and remediate a variety of scenes. In our new blog series, we'd like to bring you into the Bio-One world by sharing stories of the unique and important work we do for local communities.
Here is Week 5 of our Bio-One Weekly Wrap-Up.
Chocolate Spill Makes for a Sweet Cleanup
In Scranton on March 25, Juan and Nicole Morales received a call for a "chocolate" cleanup. Assuming this was code for a sewage back-up, they rushed to scene to find a different situation entirely. Approximately 100 gallons of milk chocolate had spilled, covering asphalt outside a local business.
This is certainly the sweetest smelling job a Bio-One office has ever taken, but Nicole clarified, "That smell was nice for the first few minutes but at the end I felt sick. Good thing we had an awesome team that pushed through and got this done!"
After scraping the chocolate with a forklift and pressure washing the area, the Bio-One team received a five-star review. Well done!
Behind the Scenes with Citizen's Academy
Many Bio-One owners sign up for their local Citizen's Police Academy to acquaint themselves with the activities of their local police department. This week, Bio-One owner, Ginger Akemon, in Jacksonville, FL earned her Citizen's Police Academy certificate from the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
"Definitely a learning process. Each County has their own, my goal is to go to each county's classes. This was 10 weeks long and over an hour drive each way, but well worth it, " said Ginger.
Hoarding Transformation in Long Beach
Here is Week 4 of our Bio-One Weekly Wrap-Up.
New Start for New Haven Veteran
In New Haven County, Bio-One and Junkluggers answered the call to help a veteran and his disabled wife. The couple were overwhelmed with a hoarded home and much of their furniture would need to be disposed due to biohazardous conditions. With Bio-One's Help First, Business Second motto in mind, Bio-One owner, Matthew Hill, teamed up with Junkluggers to re-furnish the home with gently used furniture at no cost to the client.
“Anytime we can give a little more to our clients, we always seize the opportunity,” said Hill. “Junkluggers has been an awesome organization with a great mission that fits nicely into what we are trying to accomplish.”
#HelpFirst for Heart-Breaking Scene
In South Carolina, Bio-One owner, Kris Elliott, was called to disinfect and clean a heart-breaking trauma scene. After hearing the family's story, he generously decided not to request payment for his services and shared their GoFundMe page on Facebook. As of March 20, Bio-One offices in North Carolina and South Carolina have contributed just under half of the total donations. This is #helpfirst at it's finest.
If you'd like to learn more about the family and donate, please visit their GoFundMe page.
Poker Run Supports Law Enforcement
Supporting local law enforcement is a 24/7 activity at Bio-One! In Tuscon, AZ, the Bio-One team participated in the South Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation (SALEF) poker run. SALEF collaborates with law enforcement to understand their greatest needs, and work with businesses in the community to raise money by presenting community events and submitting for grants.
Looks like they were gifted a beautiful day for cards, corn hole, and backing the blue.
Here is Week 3 of our Bio-One Weekly Wrap-Up.
Five 30 Yard Dumpsters
The team in Pensacola has been working non-stop on a two story home that required Bio-One hoarding services. Over the course of five days, they filled five 30 yard dumpsters, and found multiple antique pieces, photographs, sentimental items and cash that was promptly turned over to the client.
Look through the transformation photos on their Facebook page!
Backing the Blue in Omaha
The Bio-One team in Omaha dropped off bagels at the Omaha Police Department just before roll call, and Vanessa Urbach, the civilian crime and prevention specialist, tweeted a "Thank You" with shoutouts to Bio-One. Joining the conversation was our own Bio-One Twitter handle, Deputy Chief Ken Kanger, host of the What's Up Omaha Podcast, and a number of other officers in the department.
Kudos to the Omaha team for backing the blue!
Before Bio-One teams can help first, we have to ensure safety for every technician on the job site. This week, Bio-One owners took part in conversations about safety. Topics ranged from preventing common injuries on the job to attending OSHA training with Bob Easter. Jared Lafferty, Bio-One owner in Gwinnett County, even took the conversation to Twitter and featured safety protocols his team uses while on the job.
We couldn't be prouder of our teams for putting safety first!
Here is Week 2 of our Bio-One Weekly Wrap-Up.
14,000 lbs of Clothing Removed from Hoarded Home
In Indiana, the Marion County team remediated over 30+ years of hoarded clothes in a home. The team calculated that approximately 14,000 lbs of clothing were removed.
Bio-One’s teams know that every job represents a unique experience for our customers, who may have difficulty parting with deeply personal items that can range from clothing, video tapes, trash, and even animals.
We work with all of our clients in a step-by-step process that instills trust while properly ridding the space of items that can prove harmful. Learn more about Bio-One's hoarding services.
Bio-One Welcomes Two New Offices in Wisconsin
Two Bio-One offices launched in Wisconsin this week, and we are very excited to welcome Angela, David, Andrew, and Viktoriya to the Bio-One family. Learn about these amazing teams below!
Angela Welbes and David Levin are the owners of Bio-One of Madison. Both were born and raised in the midwest, and they met in 2015 while they were both living in Wisconsin. Their blended family consists of 3 daughters and a son. The COVID pandemic provided a personal reset that enabled an opportunity to join the growing Bio-One family and the ability to help the surrounding communities of Madison. They are excited to start this new venture together.
Andrew and Viktoriya Gonzales are the owners of Bio-One of Milwaukee. Andrew spent the last 24 years in the banking industry, in addition to serving on boards and committees for several Non-Profits, such as NAMI, Madison Development Corp and United Way. Viktoriya originally came to Wisconsin 16 years ago to further her education and loved it so much, she decided to stay. She has spent the last 12 years in telecommunications and management. Both have a passion for giving back to their community and have a drive to help those in the Milwaukee and surrounding area who are in need.
COVID-19 Disinfections Help Seniors in Charlotte, NC
This week, the Bio-One team in Charlotte, NC announced the renewal of a COVID-19 disinfection partnership with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. This unique #HelpfFrst service offers free disinfections to seniors, 60 years of age or older. See their Facebook post below to learn more.