Hoarder Clean Outs Made Easy: Where To Start

How To Tackle An Intimidating Hoarder Clean Out

If you’ve been hoarding or have a loved one who’s been hoarding in their home, it may be extremely overwhelming to start cleaning this mess.  While it’s a daunting task to start with, there are some ways to ensure success throughout the process.  JunkMD has some strategies that may make this large project less stressful and more productive.  Having a strategy is the most important thing you can do when tackling a large mess!  Otherwise, you’ll feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and lost.  Try implementing these tactics:

Divide The Home Into Sections

If you’re walking around your house looking at various messes, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to transform this space.  If you look at the house in sections, it’ll seem much more manageable.  You won’t see progress if you jump from pile to pile or room to room.  You’ll look around and still see a mess.  However, if you segment the messes into small sections, you’ll be able to see progress quicker.  Even if it’s only one drawer, shelf, or corner, you’ll be able to step back and see that one area cleaner than before!  Tackling small sections is much better for motivation and productivity than putting away random objects from all over.

Have Destination Bins Ready

If you have a lot of stuff, there’s a good chance you won’t hold on to all of it.  If you plan to get rid of anything, you need destination bins.  Destination bins are a way to organize unwanted stuff according to their final destination: trash, recycling, donation, and other categories if they’re applicable to you.  It’s hard to keep track of what unwanted things go where when you don’t have an effective strategy to organize them.  We recommend buying large storage bins that will make it simple for you to transport items later.  Now you aren’t just moving unwanted things from one random pile to another one.  They have somewhere to go.

Only Touch Each Item Once

As you’re working in your sections, don’t pick up an item and set it back down for later.  Decide right then and there what you’d like to do with it and where its home is.  If you let yourself set items down “for later,” your progress will move very slowly.  It’s very important to deal with it right then and there once its in your hand.  Don’t put it in another pile or section.  Figure out where it’s home is.  If you can’t think of where it’s home could be, there’s a good chance you don’t need it.

Box Uncertain Items for Six Months

While we suggest handling each item only once, we know that you might come across some items you just don’t know what to do with.  If you just can’t make a long-term decision about the item yet, put it in a box for six months.  If you don’t touch the item during that time, you have to get rid of it.  Similarly, you can keep the items that you did use during the six month period.  This strategy keeps items out of your way for a while and gives you a good way to determine whether you use the items or should let them go.

Cutting Down on Clutter

There will be a lot of things you think you need, and don’t want to let go of.  Here are some ways to minimize the messes created by some of your stuff:

  • Digitize your paper items.  Like most people, you probably have a lot of paper that’s taking up room in your house.  You can free up a lot of space if you turn these items digital.  Scan all of your family albums so that all of your pictures are in one easy-to-access location on your computer.  Now you can recycle the pictures that have taken up entire boxes in your home.  Download your CDs on to your computer, as well, so you can get rid of these items.  Additionally, you can probably change any of your magazine or newspaper subscriptions to online subscriptions.  All of these tips help you keep piles of paper out of your home, making it feel cleaner and more organized without sacrificing any of those items.
  • Put everything away immediately.  When you use an item in your house, you should out it back in it’s home as soon as you’re done using it.  It’s easy to set something down on a counter or table and tel yourself that you’ll put it away later.  However, that often doesn’t happen and things start to pile up.  Don’t wait until another mess accumulates before you put your items up.  Keep the home organized as you go and you’ll find it’s much easier.
  • Utilize storage options wisely.  Avoid having messes by creating smart storage options throughout the house.  Don’t leave items out to get messy, have proper bins, dressers, and under-the-bed boxes for them to go.  This will make your house appear much roomier and more organized.  No more cluttered counter-tops or tables.

Ask For Help

Cleaning up after hoarding can be a very challenging and overwhelming project.  It’s okay to ask for help.  Recruit your friends and family to help you sort piles, upload your photos and CDs, bag up unwanted items, and help you decide whats worth keeping and what you should get rid of.  If your destination piles grow so large they start to get in your way, JunkMD can come pick them up so you can take advantage of that cleared space and get back to work.  Or, if at the end of your project you just want to enjoy your hard work and not deal with hauling tons of bins and bags off to the dump or donation centers, let our team help you out!  We do full service junk removal and can serve as a great resource during your hoarder clean out.