When it comes to clearing out the home of a hoarder, half the battle consists of convincing the hoarder to part with the piles of junk choking the hallways and rooms of their home. However, while a difficult task in its own right, the convincing may well pale in comparison to the clearing. When you can barely see the light of day for the junk surrounding you, it's easy to lose hope.
However, at this point you need to step back, take a deep breath, and start planning. Over 400,000 Australians are hoarders to some degree. That means you won't be the first to conquer this task but you can be one of the fastest.
If time is limited, you'll need a foolproof plan. Do the following when clearing out a hoarder's home.
Hire a Skip Bin Service
It goes without saying that you'll need a team for this. Before you start, scout out the interior of the house. Make a checklist of the junk. Don't make it too detailed. That would take forever. Once you know what you will be throwing away, call a skip bin hire service and arrange for them to drop off a skip bin. Clear an area in the driveway and arrange for immediate drop off of the skip bin.
You will probably need a skip bin for household waste, but as you check the house, keep an eye out for chemical waste such as old paint etc. If you throw chemical waste, medicines, old syringes etc, into the skip bin with general waste like paper and old appliances, you could receive a hefty penalty.
If in doubt, check what is acceptable before beginning.
Equip Yourself with the Necessary Protection
If you are working on a hoarder's house in the midst of a hot summer, be prepared for bugs, rodents, heat exhaustion and of course, filth. Equip yourself and your team with:
- Fire Protection: Ideally have two fire extinguishers, one upstairs, and one downstairs.
- Protective Clothing: Wear face masks, gloves, goggles, boots and hard hats.
- First Aid: Make sure you have insect repellent and a first aid kit ready.
- Refreshment: Cold water is a must to keep heat exhaustion at bay.
Create an Assembly Line
Now that you have everything you need to start, naturally, you'll need to sort the junk from the treasure. Rather than doing it on the spot, you should create an assembly line. This will allow you to quickly clear out space around you as you work. Have a sorting team outside, on the lawn or driveway, ready to identify and throw junk into the waiting skip bins. Inside the house, have a team waiting with wheelbarrows or trolleys to cart the things outside quickly. This will clear space fast, and simultaneously take care of the sorting issue. Otherwise, you may be forced to do the job in stages, which will slow you down considerably.
With careful planning and an ounce or two of determination, you can make short work of a hoarder's mountain. Be prepared to invest in one or more skip bins, however and ideally enlist the help of a friend to drive non-skip bin friendly items to local waste depots for disposal.