The Different Levels of Hoarding & How They Can Affect People’s Life

The Different Levels of Hoarding & How They Can Affect People’s Life

Hoarding disorder is a mental disorder characterized by the persistent inability to get rid of or dispose of possessions, regardless of their actual value. The hoarded items often fill up the person's living spaces and cause significant stress and impairment. Although HD has been associated with OCD and anxiety disorder, it is now considered a specific mental health condition.


There are five levels of hoarding, and each presents its challenges for both the hoarder and the professionals who provide support. In this article, we'll explore the different levels of hoarding, what each entails, and how a professional cleaning company like Bio-One can promptly help you address these situations.

Image shows a cluttered bedroom. It is still possible to walk around.

Level One Hoarding


This is typically the least severe case of hoarding. Although there are some indicators that the person may be living in a hoarding situation, there is still room to move around the home. Signs of disorganization like packed-out cabinets storage rooms are visible.


The hoarder has a lot of stuff, but it's all manageable and doesn't cause any real problems. The individual may feel some discomfort or anxiety around getting rid of anything, but it's not impairing their life in any significant way.


Key elements to identify Level One Hoarding situations


  • Manageable clutter.

  • There is room to move around the house or property.

  • There aren't visible signs of decomposed food or dead animals.

  • No noticeable odors.

Level Two Hoarding


There is limited space to move around. Hoarders may have difficulty using appliances or may not be able to use one or more rooms in the home for their intended purpose. Hoarders are most likely isolated from family and friends or won't allow anyone to visit their house due to embarrassment from the clutter and disorganization.


There are significant amounts of trash and debris blocking exits or hallways. The hoarder may have started to store things outside the home, in their yard, or garage.


Key elements to identify Level Two Hoarding situations


  • Piles of clutter block hallways or staircases.

  • There is limited space to move around.

  • At least one home appliance is out of order.

  • At least one of the rooms inside the property is completely blocked.

  • There is poor ventilation or broken HVAC systems.

Level Three Hoarding


There are little to no usable spaces left in the home. Hoarders may be unable to cook or bathe, and there may be health and safety concerns such as mold or vermin. The hoarding situation has progressed to the point where it is visible from the street. Hoarders may also be living in filth and squalor, surrounded by their hoarded possessions.


Key elements to identify Level Three Hoarding situations



  • There are no usable spaces left in the home.

  • Piles of litter and garbage are present in several areas of the house.

  • There are signs of rodent or insect infestation.

Image shows another bedroom impacted by hoarding. This time, it's not possible to walk inside or around the room.
  • There are signs of odors from decomposed food and animals.

  • Multiple home appliances are out of order, making it difficult to accomplish everyday activities.

  • Multiple rooms are entirely blocked and useable.

  • There are signs of structural damage in at least one key area of the house.


Level Four Hoarding


At the fourth level of hoarding, the hoarder's possessions have become a danger to their health and safety. The accumulation of things could fall on them, expired food that has likely turned moldy, or live animals are living in the trash. Hoarders cannot accomplish simple tasks like bathing, cooking, or walking around the house, and they're typically at the edge of collapse.


Key elements to identify Level Four Hoarding situations


  • Piles of objects are so large and heavy that they could fall and hurt the hoarder.

  • Expired, rotten food is present.

  • There is an excessive number of live animals living in the hoard.

  • There is evidence of rodents, insect infestation, and other pests.

  • There is evidence of mold growth and mildew.

  • Unsanitary conditions are present throughout the house.

  • The hoarded possessions have caused structural damage to the house.

  • Structural damage like sewage problems and unusable rooms are typical.


Level Five Hoarding


The final level of hoarding is when a hoarder's home represents an imminent danger to their life due to clutter and waste. At this point, the hoarder is typically living outside of society, wholly isolated and incapable of taking care of themselves and exposed to health, fire hazards, risk of falls, and even electrocution. The individual needs to be taken out of the dangerous environment.

Image shows a bedroom completely impacted by clutter. It's hard to walk inside and it's not possible to use the bed for its intended purpose.

Key elements to identify Level Five Hoarding situations


  • Piles of hoarded objects reach the ceiling.

  • Waste and debris are blocking exits and hallways.

  • Significant health and safety concerns present, such as fire hazards, risk of falls, or electrocution.

  • There are signs of mold, rotten food, and dead animals.

  • The hoarded individual is living in complete isolation from society.

  • Human and animal feces are noticeable and accumulated in several areas of the property.

  • The rooms of the house are entirely unusable.

  • The hoarded possessions have caused significant structural damage to the house.

How Hoarding Disorder Affects People's Lives and How a Professional Cleaning Company Like Bio-One Can Help


The levels of hoarding can range from mild to severe, and the condition can have a significant impact on an individual's life. The hoarded possessions often take up so much space that the individual is unable to use their home for its intended purpose. This can make it difficult to cook, clean, or even sleep. The hoarded items may also be unsanitary, which can lead to health problems. In severe cases, hoarding can result in homelessness or even death.


Hoarding can be a challenging disorder to overcome, but it is possible with the help of therapists, support groups, and professional cleaners. There are many resources available to help hoarders. If you, a family member, or someone you know is dealing with hoarding, a qualified mental health professional can provide support and guidance on how to manage this condition


Bio-One can help you with the hoarding cleanup process!

Image shows a cleared bedroom after an intervention from Bio-One specialists.

Help First, Business Second!


Bio-One of Orange offers a solution to life's most challenging and unexpected situations. We guarantee a quick response time, so you can rest assured that help is on the way. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Bio-One aims to provide top-quality service and support. If you're facing a difficult situation, don't hesitate to contact the Bio-One team. We'll be there to help you every step of the way, all the time.

Our customers' well-being and peace come first, and our business always follows. That's why we always offer a free consultation to all potential clients. We want to ensure that customer who needs our help knows exactly what to expect from our services.


Our company provides top-quality, industry-leading cleaning, sanitation, and decontamination services in:


  • Blood and biohazard cleanup services

  • Crime and trauma scene cleanup services

  • Bodily fluids cleanup services

  • Feces and urine cleanup services

  • Undiscovered death cleanup services

  • Homicide/Suicide cleanup services

  • Virus Disinfection

  • Fentanyl cleanup services

  • Mold remediation services

  • Odor removal services

  • Sewage backups cleanup services

Image shows Bio-One technician entering a cluttered room in safety gear (PPE).

Additionally, our hoarding cleaning services are reliable and professional. We understand that, for many people, letting go of their belongings can be a difficult decision. Our team of experts works closely with clients to meet their needs, consulting with them through the cleanup process to return their environment to one that is safe and comfortable.


We provide the most professional hoarding cleaning service in the area:


  • Hoarding cleanup services

  • Animal hoarding cleanup services

  • Gross filth cleanup services

  • Declutter and junk removal services

  • Deep clean

  • Hazardous waste removal services

Serving Orange County and surrounding communities


Locally owned, Bio-One of Orange is proud to serve Orange County, California, and surrounding communities: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda!

Our certified, professional technicians are ready to help you, your loved one, or your friend in their greatest moment of need. Bio-One of Orange is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Contact us at 714-397-8375.

Published by:

Rafael Alemán.

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