Bio-One Of Orange decontamination and biohazard cleaning services

Are you just disorganized, or is it something more? Understanding the hoarding spectrum.

The word “hoarding” probably evokes a particular image, made more common by shows like Hoarders that highlight extreme examples. In reality, not all hoarders have rooms full of items piled high to the ceiling.

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (now, there’s a relatable title!) has classified hoarding behavior into five levels on their Clutter-Hoarding Scale.Level 1 Hoarding

At Level 1, a home is not pristine, but the space is still easily accessible and sanitary. There is clutter, but no concern for safety. Most, if not all of us, have been in Level 1. Many people spend most of their time in this stage.

Here are the defining characteristics of this level:

  • All stairways, doors, and windows are accessible, not blocked by clutter.
  • The home has good ventilation and is free of bad odors.
  • The number of pets in the home is appropriate and compliant with zoning regulations.
  • Pet hair and waste is cleaned up and disposed of properly.
  • There are no visible pests like insects or rodents.
  • Appropriate alarms like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed.

At Level 2, the home is still very livable, but there’s more evidence of disarray. The home is in need of cleaning and may be starting to overwhelm the residents. The hygiene level isn’t optimal.

Most of us bounce between Level 1 and Level 2. However, here are the more defining characteristics of Level 2:

  • One important exit is blocked with clutter.
  • Pet waste and hair can be found in the home.
  • Electrical and/or plumbing issues are present. There may be a major appliance that has been broken for more than one season.
  • Garbage containers are overflowing.
  • Some mild odors are present, related to overflowing dishes, laundry, uncleaned bathrooms, etc.
  • Occasional presence of household pests in the home are quickly dealt with

Level 3 is considered the turning point between manageable household disorganization and a more serious issue. Level 3 homes show extreme disorganization and indicate hoarding behavior.

Here are the defining characteristics of this level:

  • Mild insect infestations from pests like lice, cockroaches, ants, or bedbugs are present.
  • Piles of objects are obstructing key living areas.
  • Multiple appliances in the home are broken and unusable.
  • Spills may be left uncleaned for several days. Food preparation and eating areas are left visibly dirty.
  • One room is no longer being used for its intended purpose, like bedrooms being used exclusively for storage.
  • Noticeable unpleasant odors are present in the home.
  • Dirty laundry is left throughout the home.

Level 3 households should consider hiring outside help. Although, it’s still possible to get it under control with a concerted effort from the whole family

At Level 4, the home shows excessive clutter.Those living in Level 4 conditions need professional help. At this level, part of getting help includes professional cleaning to transform the house into a safe, hygienic space where people can thrive. Mental health counselors and social workers may also step in to help residents change their habits.

Here are the defining characteristics of this level:

  • Structural damage is present, such as water damage, broken doors, and plumbing issues.
  • Excessive pets and pet waste may be present.
  • Clutter is blocking access to stairs, rooms, and exits.
  • Expired and rotting food is present in the home and contributes to odors.
  • Multiple rooms are cluttered to the extent that they cannot be used for their intended purposes.
  • A medium level of insect infestation is present. There may be bats, squirrels, and/ or rodents in the attic or
  • basement.
  • Sewage is backed up

Level 5 is the highest level of hoarding behavior. Level 5 homes are alarmingly hazardous.

They require professionals with safety equipment and training to clean.

Here are the defining characteristics of this level:

  • Extreme indoor clutter makes important living spaces unusable.
  • There is no ventilation in the home.
  • Structural damage is irreparable.
  • Water and/or electrical services have been disconnected.
  • Pets living in the home are at risk due to living conditions.
  • Occupants of the home in danger due to pet behaviors, numbers, and/or health conditions.
  • Household appliances are unusable due to disrepair or being blocked by clutter.

If you or someone you know is struggling with these levels of hoarding we are here to help. 

You can find more information at or contact us at (714) 397-8375

What are common symptoms of someone with hoarding disorder? - Bio-One of Orange.

Things are not easy for someone struggling with hoarding disorder, their loved ones, and the people around them. Both parties must understand the dangers and the importance of approaching the situation with deep care and sensitivity. On the one hand, the hoarder will struggle with understanding what hoarding means and the impact that it has had on their life. On the other, there are the victim’s families and loved ones, who also need to understand that hoarding is related to multiple mental health conditions that must be treated. 

For someone who hoards, items have a different meaning, a more “emotional” value, and while it is ok to keep things that have a personal meaning for us when the accumulation and buildup of things affect your daily activities, that’s when help from professionals is required. 

Everyone needs help. Bio-One of Orange's specialists can help remediate hoarding scenarios. Serving Orange County and surrounding communities, we are prepared to help you restore the property from all the biohazards that result from a buildup of possessions and clutter. Now, what are the common symptoms of someone living a hoarding lifestyle? How is their relationship with themselves and their environment? Here’s a list that can help you identify a potential hoarding scenario. 

Common symptoms of someone struggling with Hoarding Disorder 

  • A constant difficulty with parting with personal belongings: Anything from clothing, food, household appliances, books, and old newspapers/mail can have a different meaning for someone struggling with hoarding. 
  • The need for saving things turns to distress and anxiety when attempting to discard them: Hoarding situations usually become overwhelming because of the high amount of clutter accumulated in the property. As we mentioned, if families and loved ones don’t know how to approach the individual, the outcome will be adverse for everyone.
  • Social isolation is very common: Hoarding comes with a stigma of shame and embarrassment. Admitting the condition might be difficult for someone struggling with hoarding, so they’ll choose to distance themselves from family and friends. That is why most hoarders live alone.
  • Difficulty with daily activities: If hoarding were just about compulsive buying or collecting things with no consequence, it would be easier to deal with. Unfortunately, hoarding poses multiple hazardous situations for the individual, and sometimes, it can turn into a public safety issue.  
  • Struggle with other mental health conditions: Hoarding is often associated with other mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even schizophrenia. Hoarders tend to neglect themselves, and it is partially because they just can’t do normal things like showering, cleaning, or cooking a meal in the kitchen due to the clutter. This, combined with a history of mental health conditions, makes for a potentially life-threatening situation for them.

Bio-One of Orange can help!

These symptoms help us better understand hoarding and the importance of approaching these situations with care, compassion, and a genuine desire to help. Bio-One of Orange's team of specialists is here for you. We understand that sometimes things get out of control, and we will prioritize restoring your property from all the potential biohazards and having you or your loved one return to a safe, clean, disinfected environment that provides a fresh, positive outlook for the hoarding disorder.

We will work with you, step-by-step, to ensure that we keep all the items of value and discard those that may be dangerous to your environment. 

Hoarding cleanup with Bio-One of Orange - Before and after scenario.
Our specialists can help you tackle hoarding disorder safely and effectively.

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Bio-One of Orange offers a quick solution to life’s most difficult and unexpected situations. Locally owned, we provide top-quality, industry-leading cleaning, sanitation, and decontamination services in:

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Hoarding Cleanup & Clutter Removal Services


Locally owned, Bio-One of Orange is proud to serve Orange County and surrounding Southern California areas: 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 professional technicians are ready to help you restore your home or business. Bio-One of Orange, a proud member of the Orange Chamber of Commerce, is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Contact us at 714-397-8375.