When it comes to dealing with a fire there are many challenges. And if you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with a homeowner who has been hoarding, there will be unique challenges that you will need to navigate.
There are lots of articles that have been written going in-depth on the psychological side of hoarding and its impact. It would serve you well to read some of them if you are going to tackle contents cleaning jobs that involve a hoarder so you are better equipped to help your client on a psychological level in these types of scenarios.
People become hoarders for many reasons:
- Depression (by far the most common)
- Trauma (death, divorce, abuse, loss of some kind)
- Heredity (grew up in a hoarding home) and Genetics
- Fear of becoming poor
- Fear of forgetting (items hold memories)
- Perfectionists (until they find the perfect spot for something….)
- Don’t want to be wasteful
- Brain Injuries/Stroke/Anneurysm
- To Push Others Away/Safety
- Kleptomania/Impulse Control
- And literally hundreds of other reasons
Understanding these reasons will go a long way in helping you understand your client and how best to handle the cleanup with them.
Here is a recent article that I wrote for Restoration and Remediation Magazine where I go into the steps that are necessary to be able to handle a job like this.
Check it out and let me know what experience you have had working in a home where someone has been hoarding.