Do you need a hoarding overhaul? Here is one formula that might work for you. Run don’t walk to Facebook and get your group going right now – your first Hoarding Overhaul starts this weekend.
Don’t worry about trying to figure it all out, you will figure it out as you go, and you will create new rules for your group. You will also as make life-long friends as you remove the clutter from your life.
Listen: Hoarding Overhaul
Watch: Hoarding Overhaul
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
What is a Hoarding Overhaul?
What is a hoarding overhaul, and how do you become part of it? If your life has gotten completely out of control, and your staff has gotten completely out of control, maybe it’s time for you to have a hoarding overhaul. Now there’s a caller that called in and asked this question.
“Hello, my name is PJ, and I have a client that has a hoarder house, hoarder yard, and hoarder huge garage that needs to be cleaned out. They don’t have the funds to do that. I’m wondering if you know of a company or something that can assist in that. I will say the house has had the electricity turned off because the fire department says it’s unsafe, due to the hoarding issue.“
All right, what I recommend in this situation is a hoarding overhaul. And you’re not going to like what I have to say so brace yourself, don’t judge it, just sit and listen to it. And then as you work through it in your head, you’ll say, “Wait for a second, this might work for me.” Okay, this is just one of the many solutions.
Hoarders Usually Won’t Help Themselves
All right, so a hoarding overhaul is this. I have to stop and back up for a second and say that most hoarders… and this is based on 30 years in the industry, running into all kinds of hoarding homes, knowing lots of hoarders. There are people who live in hoarding situations, where they have hoarding tendencies, that will go to the ends of the earth for other people, but they do not do it for themselves.
So they would go to someone else’s house and they would clean someone else’s house. Yet they will not clean their own. Why is that? I don’t know, but I do know that they would go to the end of the earth for someone else. Here’s why the hoarding overhaul works.
So what you do is you go to Facebook, create a Facebook group, Hoarding Overhaul with your city name. So if you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hoarding Overhaul Charlotte, North Carolina. You create a group that then draws in people in your area.
Facebook Finds People With Similar Interests to You
Now what’s cool about this is Facebook has this fancy algorithm where once you create the group, it will start finding people that have similar interests to you. So if the concepts and the talk in your group are about hoarding overhaul… and I would use those two words, hoarding overhaul… what happens is. Facebook will start bringing to you people that are also hoarders.
Again, these are people that will give you the shirt off their back, and they will help you. So what we need is they need their help to help us get out of our hoarding situations with the reciprocity that we will help them get out of their situations.
Help Each Other Get Out of Your Hoarding Situations
So on Saturday and Sunday of every week, what happens is you go to one day one person, one day the next person. And you work your way around the group. So if there are eight people in the group, then once a month, everyone comes to your house. Once a month, you go to everyone’s house if there are eight people in the group.
If there are 16 people in a group, it might take a little bit longer. But what happens, everyone in the group gets a team of people that comes to their house on the weekends, and this is the cool part because we are attached to our own stuff.
We don’t want to get rid of our own stuff. But other people will come in and they go, “Well, that’s just a paper plate. No reason you should have a paper plate. Let me throw away the paper plate.” And they will get rid of stuff that you just left for whatever reason. We get too busy to move our own stuff, but other people will come in and they’ll go, “Oh, I know what to do with this. This is a dish. This goes in the kitchen sink.”
Break Up Into Teams During a Hoarding Overhaul
What you do is this. You break up into teams. And so there’s a team that only specializes in dishes. That’s all they do. They do paper cups. They do soda cans. They do water bottles. They do napkins that you used for a meal, pizza boxes, food dishes, all that kind of stuff. That’s all they do. They don’t deal with laundry. They don’t deal with trash. They don’t deal with mail. They don’t go with anything else, just the dishes.
So when they come to a house and it’s the same team, when they come, all they do in everyone’s house every other week, or whenever the rotation works, is they just go in and they knock out the dishes. But what that means to them is in order for me to do my job, I need to show up with a bunch of garbage bags.
I’m going to be throwing away a lot of paper cups and paper plates and paper bowls and big gulp cups and soda cans and stuff like that. So they start bringing that stuff with them because that’s their job. And they end up knowing that specialty. The next person might be focused only on laundry. And so if you have two adults in your house, but you have children’s clothing, the children have obviously grown. You don’t need those anymore. And so what’s going to happen is they’re going to come in because they recognize the situation. Hoarders understand hoarders.
Hoarders Understand Other Hoarders
And so what happens is they’ll come in and I’ll say, “Oh, I know exactly what to do with these clothes,” and they’ll make piles, and then you will have a disposal pile that just goes to the dump. You’ll have one that goes to the landfill, one that goes to the consignment store, one that goes to the thrift store.
There might be things like that. And so they get good at doing the clothes at every single person’s house. It’s clothing, it’s laundry, it’s linens, it’s extra towels, onesies that don’t match anything, all that kind of stuff. And they will deal with that.
Your Support Group Can Become Great Friends
And so my focus is to have a support group that becomes this really tight-knit group of friends that instead of saying, “I’m really ashamed. I don’t want anyone to see my house.”
They all have houses just like yours. And if you’re still really ashamed and it’s your week, you can sit back a week and just say, “Hey, can you cycle back to me next week? I’m uncomfortable this week. Let’s focus on someone else’s house.”
You go out and help that other person that week, and then on your week, or when they cycle back around to you, then it’s your week and everyone gets to help you clean.
Wear PPE on Every Hoarding Overhaul Job
So the cool part about it is this. I recommend personal protective equipment for everyone on every one of those jobs. So what that is, is a face mask. That’s going to be your gloves, just for personal protective reasons. I also recommend that everyone show up with a roll of garbage bags, everyone.
The next thing I recommend is that someone… and you may rotate. It might be the person whose house you’re cleaning… that somebody gets a rental U-Haul van, and they’re usually about $20 for the day plus gas or plus miles. And so work that out with the local U-Haul place. I don’t know what they do there.
But you want to make sure that you have a van so that as you cart the stuff away, you can then take it to the landfill or you can take it to the dump or you can take it to the thrift store or whatever it is that you’re dispersing it. There’s a place for it.
Hoarding Overhauls Can Be a Positive Experience
But if you know a van is showing up and you know that you have eight friends that are showing up, you’re going to be there and you might even have coffee for them. Maybe you order pizza or something like that. Maybe the person whose house you’re cleaning that week pays for the pizza and the van.
But then everybody shows up and everybody helps, and it becomes this weekend warrior project where everyone helps everyone else. And because you have a networking group inside your Facebook, all during the week, you can be checking in with each other on what’s going on, who need, what, what supplies you need, what to be on the lookout for, if there are family members that are going to be helping you, as well, things like that.
And so you can navigate those situations as a group. You guys will become the best of friends.
There is One Important Rule in Hoarding Overhauls
Now having said that, there is one rule that before you do a hoarding overhaul program, you must all commit to this one rule. It will not work if you do not follow this one rule. And the one rule is no one, no one can take home anything that was cleaned up or removed from the property that day.
No one takes anything home. Everyone goes home empty-handed for all the obvious reasons. But you have to agree to that before you show up to the hoarding job. Everyone goes home empty-handed, and that must be a rule of your Facebook group. It must be a rule of every work project that you do.
This way you’re going to get a bunch of volunteer help. You’re going to make a bunch of friends. All of you are going to be in this for the same reasons. And you will all hold accountability to each other to not get back in the situation that got you here right now. Does that make sense?
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