Hoarding; The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When De-hoarding a House

I should have known better. I work with alot of hoarders. This has happened twice in the past to me. You would think that I would not have gone for a three-peat!

The biggest mistake you can make when de-hoarding a house is the leave any trash after you are done with the session or day. Twice in the past, I have staged bags of trash in a garage(the client was taking care of disposal) and the hoarder has gone in there and emptied them out. One time it was twenty five bags. As you can imagine, it was not a good scene. In one of the cases, I got the blame. The wife called me up and ripped me a new one!

So last week after spending the day in a basement, and bagging heavy bag after bag, I staged them in the one open area. The steps are half rotted and I was a little afraid to carry all them up the stairs. A clean out company was scheduled to pick up the trash the next day.

Then as I was leaving, I saw a glow in the client's eye. "I can't believe all this was trash. Where did you get all these full bags," she said.  We were both working in the basement but in different rooms. I was in an area that had been flooded and had a lot of ruined items due to mold and water damage.

For four hours, I bagged empty  detergent bottles, junk mail, and ruined clothes.

I had a bad feeling the whole weekend. I knew I was going to come back and find all the bags ripped open and all over the place. As I was leaving, the client tried to pull a badly molded duffle bag out of the pile and nearly knocked down the wall of bags.

When I came back on monday,  the client told me that she didn't trust my judgement so she opened and went through every bag. She found 3 pieces of paper that she wanted to save(not bad for 20 plus bags).  A friend ended up taking out the rest of the bags to the trash. It could have been alot worse.

So the moral of the story is, never leave the trash when you are clearing out a hoarded home.

1. Throw what you can in the trash cans

2. Arrange to have a dumpster outside ( I have only seen one person try to climb in)

3. Have a junking company make a pick up that day

4. Put the trash in your car and get rid of it

Yesterday, we worked in the garage. I hauled out every bag myself. I filled the trash cans. A nice neighbor let me use one of their cans as well. Then the construction crew offered to take a few bags. I loaded my car with 12 bags of donations. Till next time!

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