|Hoarding behavior is the uncontrolled collecting of newspapers, clothing or other materials, new
item purchases, rotten food and even animals (animal hoarding). It can be confined to a single
room, or expand to encompass the entire residence, outbuildings and property. Hoarding is a
disease which some experts believe may be a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Hoarding
can put the occupants and others at risk. The collection of objects can build up so much that it
becomes impossible for the hoarder to do even rudimentary cleaning. Then dirt, food scraps and
other debris build up, mold, insects & rodents move in and conditions only get worse. The sheer
weight of the mass can cause severe structural damage, even collapse. Hoarders can become
trapped by and actually die when heaps topple over.
We at Bowdecon understand this and empathize with the occupant(s), realizing all the while the
dangers involved in this type of setting. As far as possible, we will work with the occupant to
ensure that family heirlooms and truly valuable items are retained and properly cared for.
In some extreme cases, however, the entire contents of a hoarding house must be disposed of. At
the very least, a sorting of the items should be done to identify any salvageable property which
can then be kept, donated, or sold.
"A rescue effort"
In many cases, the mess is simply a gradual build-up over time, until it gets to such a state that the
occupants simply can't cope. They just stop trying because they are overwhelmed by the sheer
magnitude of the mess and then it really gets out of hand. The result is a mountain of debris that
can attract rodents, bugs, mold, fungus and a host of other undesirable pests. It can be a health
hazard to the occupants, their guests, and even the surrounding neighborhood, as the pests tend to
spread to other areas nearby. The clutter can also be a fire hazard, posing an immediate danger
to the residence and possible collateral damage to close neighboring residences.
More than 80 percent of hoarders suffer from physical health problems relating directly to the
clutter. Imagine trying to get a stretcher in and out of such a place in an emergency and you can
see yet another not-so-hidden danger associated with these environments.
Bowdecon staff is properly trained and fully certified to safely remove and properly dispose of the
unwanted items (furniture, garbage, carpet, sharps, drugs, etc.) and return the residence to a safe,
comfortable, useful 'home' that no longer presents a danger to all who enter or live nearby.
We will clean, decontaminate and remove any associated odors and biohazards (blood, body fluids,
feces, urine, etc.) from the residence and items to be retained, to make the property habitable
and/or ready for resale. To the best of our ability, items to be discarded will be recycled rather
than simply disposed in a landfill.
We can do anything from cleaning a single room to total content removal, or any level in between,
depending upon the client's needs and wishes.
|Before and after photos shown below. See the Job Photographs page for more pictures.
|900 square foot condo, trash 6 feet deep throughout. We removed 160 cubic yards (nearly 9 tons) of trash.
|This picture shows the cleared hallway with a bedroom to the right which was yet to be done.
The whole house was hoarded as deep when we started, with no pathways whatsoever.
So much trash built up, it was
impossible to shut the sliding door or
open it any further (left). This was the
hoarder's only means of ingress and
egress. The other doors and all
windows had been hoarded shut. The
job was done in the winter. The
furnace could not run because the trash
covered all heat registers. The only
source of heat was from space heaters
amongst the trash heap. The only
source of electrical power (for lighting,
heating, cooking, etc.) available to the
hoarder was via a single extension cord
that had been plugged into a wall outlet
prior to it too being hoarded over. We
found several such cords and space
heaters (still plugged in) that had been
hoarded over and lost in the heap. If
the breaker had blown, there would
have been no way to reset it because
the door to the basement had also been
hoarded shut nearly to the top of the
door. Imagine if one of the heaters had
shorted out! There would have been
no stopping the fire and no way for the
occupant to get out in time!
More before and the 'after' pictures of
this job are on our Job Photos page.
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