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Compulsive hoarding: Put safety first when helping a hoarder with cleanup

WACO, TEXAS (JUNE 11, 2014) – Compulsive hoarding affects one in every 300 people in the United States. Recognizing the seriousness of this issue and offering assistance and safety tips to hoarders as they fight with the physical and mental needs of cleanup is important to Rainbow International®. The safety and comfort of household members is number one. 

Hoarders generally have an inability to let go of unnecessary items and clean up their environments. The most common hoard items include: books, pictures, clothes, mail, recipes, souvenirs and magazines. Mental stress and emotional exhaustion make it difficult for hoarders to decide what to throw away, making cleanup efforts overwhelming and difficult. 

Rainbow International reminds that when cleaning a hoarder’s living space, it’s important to keep safety in mind. 

Cleanup efforts 

Be prepared for animal (rats, mice, vermin) droppings and live animals running through the items and trash. Be careful of sharp objects and wear pants, long sleeves and gloves when cleaning. Begin cleaning in small places like bathrooms and linen closets. Next, empty the refrigerator and remove perishables and opened boxes of food from the pantry. Separate clutter into four piles, “Keep”, “Donate”, “Trash” and “Recycle” to avoid becoming overwhelmed. 

Health impact 

The effects of hoarding are harmful physically and mentally. Hoarding is harmful physically because rodents, cockroaches, rotting food and waste can carry a multitude of diseases. An occupant can potentially contract a variety of communicable diseases, viruses or other health related problems. Occupants can also slip on clutter or clutter may fall on occupants. Be aware of your surroundings as you move around. Hoarding is harmful mentally because it can lead to family strain, conflicts and isolation. 

Structural integrity 

Structural integrity of the house can be jeopardized because of the weight of the clutter. Floors can collapse, and liquids can clog pipes and cause decay. Mold and mildew can ruin furniture and decay walls. A house filled with papers, boxes and clutter is also a fire hazard and often prevents medical emergency teams from accessing victims in need of help. 

As a solution, Rainbow International offers a class called “Hoarding: The New Challenge for Restoration,” that addresses the dangers associated with hoarding and offers Rainbow International franchise owners guidance and safety tips for working with property and facility managers and hoarders as they clean up their space. 

About Rainbow International®: 

Established in 1981, Rainbow International is a global franchise organization providing residential and commercial restoration and cleaning services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its 

“Franchise 500,” Rainbow International franchisees offer a broad range of damage restoration services (ranging from water, smoke and fire damage to carpet and upholstery cleaning and deodorization) to more than 400 locations worldwide. The new Rapid Structural Drying Network of Rainbow International has established a network of elite water loss mitigation franchises across the United States. Rainbow International is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc., family of service franchises. For further information or to find the location nearest you, visit RainbowIntl.com

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