Compulsive hoarding can be defined as the excessive accumulation of possessions without the ability to discard of useless items. Although it is normal human behaviour to acquire possessions and hold onto things of value, the compulsive hoarder cannot distinguish between worthless and priceless. The simple act of placing a possession into the trash can cause great anxiety and discomfort; regardless of the items value or practicality. To the hoarder, each and every possession is important “just in case;” even if the item is actually useless or of limited value. The inability to discard of accumulating junk can lead to various complications for the sufferer, neighbours, and landlords alike.
We understand that hoarding is a serious and potentially debilitating mental disorder. Excessive amounts of clutter in the home makes living conditions impractical and unsanitary for the sufferer, dependents, and pets. The home can become a breeding ground for pests such as mice, rats, cockroaches, and bed bugs. These pests can spread to neighbouring apartments thus becoming a nuisance for housemates and landlords. Unfortunatly, such unimaginable living conditions can have far reaching effects for the sufferer; often leading to embarassement and reclusion. Having guests into the home no longer becomes an option, as the ability to physically move throughout the residence becomes obstructed. Sanitation and odour becomes a serious problem, as vacuuming and cleaning prove to be an overwhelming chore.
At Extreme Cleanup, we understand the issues related to hoarding, and we’re here to help! If you suffer from compulsive hoarding syndrome, are feeling overwhelmed, and are ready to make a change for the better… you’ve come to the right place! If you are concerned about a family member or friend affected by hoarding in Toronto and the GTA, contact us today!
That being said, we deal primarily with Not-For-Profit Housing Organizations, Mental Health Organizations, Government Assisted/Supervised Housing Organizations, Co-Ops, and similar institutions. Having a hoarder in a shared residence can have serious repercussions for landlords and other housemates:
- Odour can become overwhelming for housemates and neighbouring tenants due to clutter and lack of sanitation.
- Pests such as rats, mice, and cockroaches thrive in a hoarders environment. Forgotten food, crumbs, and other eatible particles provide a food source for the pests. Cool, dark, damp conditions are a suitable hideout for nesting mice, rats, cockroackes and bed bugs.
- Hoarders often feel compelled to salvage items that might be of use to them “one day.” Unfortunately, this means sometimes bringing items back into their apartment from street corners and garbage dumpsters. Often, these garbage items will be infested with bed bugs… thus perpetuating the problem back into their own residence. Front entrances, lobbys, elevators, hallways, common areas, and other neighbouring bedrooms/units are at high risk for bed bug infestation when infested items are carelessly brought back into a building.
- Hoarding is a potential fire hazard which endangers not only the sufferer, but fellow tenants. A unit filled roof-high with “stuff” is like tinder waiting to be ignited. Harboured cats, mice, and rats are known to chew through electrical wiring, which is a major fire hazard. Clutter can render doorways, windows and fire exits unuseable, which is a major concern. How can one check the batteries in their smoke alarm if it is unaccessible?
The sad reality is that these problems can be more than just a nuisance for neigbours – it can become a huge financial headache for landlords as well. The longer it perpetuates, the harder it is to effectively bring the problem, and the related consequences, back under control (A female adult bed bug will lay between 1 and 5 eggs per day – this can spiral out of control quite rapidly). Worst yet – Somebody can become seriously ill living in these types of environments, and the risks associated with the potential fire hazard can be deadly.
Let our professional team turn the situation around. Our system is simple and effective:
- Educate the sufferer and their loved ones in order to initiate the discarding process. We strive to keep the anxiety level for the sufferer as low as possible; this is our number one priority.
- Begin the junk removal procedure. Support/re-assure the sufferer in their decisions and create a trusting relationship between them and our team. Ensure that the sufferer understands that nothing, except for obvious garbage will be discarded without their consent. Bed bug-infested items are vacuumed and shrink wrapped to ensure responsible disposal that will not spread the problem along the exit path of travel.
- Help the sufferer organize and label their remaining belongings to ensure a successful recovery.
- Clean, sanitize, and deodorize the residence to ensure that conditions are sanitary and conducive towards healthy living going forward.
- Leave the sufferer feeling empowered, in control, and educated. Once the job is complete, our priorities shift to ensuring that the sufferer has made progress in their thinking. We don’t want to see them back in the same predicament a couple of years down the road.
Using our proven 5 point plan, Extreme Cleanup has been successfully helping hoarders of all severities in Toronto and the GTA. If you are a landlord, property manager, social worker, or a friend/family member of a person affected by hoarding in Toronto, please call us for a free phone consultation. We are confident that together, our team will make a difference for everyone affected by this unfortunate disorder!
Free Phone Consultation (416) 578-9071