Hoarding And The Health Department- An Experts Point Of View

Did you know that anyone can report you to the health department? Yup. It could be your neighbor, a repairman, or even a random person walking down the street. And yes, the health department will come out and investigate. I have been involved in this situation several times. Its not my first time at the rodeo.

Several years ago, I worked at a home and decided to open the windows and air it out. It stunk up the street. A man came up to me, phone in hand said he was dialing the health department. In a split second I turned up the Southern Charm. He put his phone back in his pocket and went about his way. The next day I actually saw him cleaning out his own garage. He said I was inspiring.

If you get that call, don’t be afraid. The person will come out and take a look around your home/condo. More than likely they will tell you that you need to clear out the clutter and set up another appointment to meet with you. They may even put you on a schedule.

If this happens, its obvious that the condition of your space is not safe to yourself and your neighbors. Changes need to be made. While the health department will tell you to clean up your space, I have never seen them give specifics on what they want done. They may tell you to clean your bedroom. They don’t give you guidelines like telling you that you need to remove 50% of your stuff.

Here is some of my advice. This is my opinion on how to handle your clutter when the health department is involved.

1. Seek help! This could be from a clean out crew, professional organizer, or family/friends.
2. Set up a game plan. Tackle one room at a time.
3. Take a before picture. Take pictures after each session.
4. Keep track of how many bags of trash, recycle, and donations go out the door each day. You may need this in the future.
5. Work on one room at a time. If your place is severely cluttered, you may need to box up items in categories till you have room to sort them.
6. Eliminate multiple trash cans from each room. This enables trash to build up.
7. Recycle all those old computers and obsolete technology.
8. For safety, there should be a pathway from the door to the windows in each room.
9. At the end of your clean out, have a maid service come in a do a deep cleaning. Start off fresh.

Remember, Rome was not built in a day and your home won’t be cleared in one either. Take it one step at a time. You can do it.

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