The Horrors of Hoarding
by Adam Bailey
The term brings to mind images of people letting things collect and get messy instead of just throwing trash away. But there is more to it than that, both in terms of what is going on with the person who is hoarding, as well as in their home. Hoarding is a serious problem that has some horrific effects on the people who are afflicted with the disorder.
What is Hoarding?
According to the American Psychiatric Association:
People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.
This clutter goes well beyond a normal mess, to the point here hoarders will tend to have piles of accumulated items that form incomplete walls throughout rooms in the home, giving the home a claustrophobic, labyrinthian feel, as well as many dangers to the people that occupy the space.
What are the Dangers of Hoarding?
A home affected by hoarding is not only difficult to look at, there can exist numerous hazards that make the home unsafe, including but not limited to:
Collapses – As a hoarder’s collection grows, so, too, do the piles made by the collection. Eventually, massive piles and towers form that are taller than the occupants of the home. At this point, there is the very real danger that at any time a pile might topple over onto a person, pinning and possibly injuring them.
Fires – The more things that accumulate in a house, the more of a fire hazard develops, as there are more materials lying around to catch and spread fire quickly. And if trapped in a burning house, a search/rescue effort will have a more difficult time due to the accumulation of the contents of the home.
Structural Integrity – Houses are built to hold a certain amount of things, but when that amount is exceeded, a stain is put on the physical structure of the house. In time, the load bearing parts of the house will wear out and give way, sometimes leading to incidents such as top floors falling in under the weight they were supporting, crushing anything beneath.
How is Hoarding Related to Mold and Mold Remediation?
We’ve written before about how mold in the home can seriously endanger your health, but add to that a hoarding situation and the mold becomes more dangerous. This is because the accumulation of items in a house make it difficult to notice when a pipe bursts or a pile of refuse becomes wet, leading to massive breeding grounds for mold. For this same reason, it can also be difficult to spot when mold colonies start growing around the house. This leads to a perfect situation where mold can negatively impact your health from the shadows for a long time before being dealt with.
The danger can last even longer if you take into account that the clutter of the house must get cleared before remediation can take place, a risky prospect for the remediation team, both for the abundance of mold spores being released into the air, as well as the above listed hazards in play with the home of a hoarder.
Our recommendation, should you come across mold sites in the home of a hoarder, use MoldHold to contain the mold while the rest of the cleaning can take place, and get the mold remediated as soon as possible.