Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) characterized by stockpiling items. Hoarders are compelled to obtain more and more belongings and refuse to throw anything away due to the fear of losing something valuable, important or useful. As a result, hoarding can take over living spaces, thwart everyday activities, and cause sanitary and safety issues. Consider the dangers of hoarding and why you may need a professional to restore a hoarder’s home.

Health Risks

Hoarders can develop poor personal hygiene and unhealthy eating habits as the extreme clutter makes bathing and cooking difficult or impossible. Rotting trash, piles of unwashed dishes and neglected home maintenance lead to bacteria, mold and pest infestations. It’s even worse if animal hoarding is involved since this introduces pet food, animal waste, fleas and other problems. These issues can cause hoarders to develop illnesses, infections and chronic diseases.

Physical Harm

Belongings scattered across the floor increase the chance of tripping and falling. This may cause sprained ankles, cuts and scrapes, and even fractured or broken bones. Hoarding also often involves piling belongings nearly to ceiling height to make room for it all. This creates a risk for toppling junk that can cause serious injury or bury and trap the hoarder.

Fire Hazards

The increased possibility of fire in a hoarded home is among the greatest safety concerns of all. First, a fire is more likely to start when flammable items are piled near stoves, heaters and light bulbs. Rats chewing through wires and a general lack of electrical maintenance are additional hazards. Then, if a fire breaks out, the flames and smoke spread faster because there are so many combustible items lying around. Blocked pathways and exits also make it more difficult to evacuate.

Property Damage

Excessive clutter can harm the very home in which hoarders live. Technicians may be unable to reach HVAC equipment, plumbing and electrical systems for maintenance and repair work. Rodents may chew through wiring, woodwork, walls and insulation. Water damage may rot wood and lead to mold growth, compromising the structural integrity of the building. Even the sheer weight of everything in the house may cause the structure to collapse.

Quality Of Life

Hoarding is a mental disorder that can degrade the hoarder’s quality of life, as well as that of relatives, friends, neighbors, social workers, medical staff and others. The condition can lead to financial difficulties, legal issues, possible evictions, social withdrawal, embarrassment and depression. Unless treated effectively and promptly, the symptoms and outcomes of hoarding will only get worse.

The dangers of hoarding extend to anyone who enters the house, even those who are trying to help. That’s why relying on a professional hoarding cleanup service is the safest way to restore the structure. DKI Services can remove clutter, clean up mold, sanitize the home and make the space livable again. Our technicians are highly qualified and respectful of difficult situations, making us a great choice for hoarding cleanup.