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The Different Levels of Hoarding & How They Can Affect People

The Different Levels of Hoarding & How They Can Affect People

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

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.

Level One Hoarding

This is typically the least severe case of hoarding. Although some indicators indicate 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 and 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 discomfort or anxiety about getting rid of anything, but it's not significantly impairing their life.

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 storing things outside the home, in their yard, or in their 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 live in filth and squalor, surrounded by 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.
  • 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 accumulated things could fall on them, expired food that has likely turned moldy, or live animals 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, 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.

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 are 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 accumulate 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 Hoarder Cleaning Company Like Bio-One Can Help

The levels of hoarding can range from mild to severe, and the condition can significantly impact an individual's life. The hoarded possessions often take up so much space that the individual cannot 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

Hoarder cleaning before and after - Bio-One of Orange.
Bio-One of Orange can help you with the hoarder cleaning process!

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. 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
  • Mold remediation services
  • Odor removal services
  • Sewage backups cleanup services

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:

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 professional hoarder cleaning technicians are ready to help. 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.