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hoarder clean out

For those suffering from hoarding disorder, the sheer volume of clutter filling their homes can feel overwhelming and inescapable. Performing daily tasks amidst the mess becomes enormously difficult. Social isolation and shame are also taxing. Hoarding takes a huge physical and mental toll.

But there is hope. With compassion, patience, and the right support, recovery is absolutely attainable. Our team at Junk Relief specializes in assisting hoarders and their families to thoughtfully clean out and organize their homes in a sensitive, judgment-free manner. For over a decade, we’ve developed proven techniques to help hoarders tackle clutter room-by-room. 

In this blog, we aim to increase understanding of this often misunderstood disorder and provide expert tips for how professional organizers and junk removers can support successful hoarding clean-outs. We want to help transform chaotic spaces into calm, functional environments promoting well-being. Recovery is possible with compassionate guidance. There is light ahead.

Understanding Hoarder Disorder

Hoarding disorder is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty discarding possessions, intense urge to acquire and save items, and living spaces severely cluttered by these compulsive behaviors over time. An estimated 2-5% of the population suffers from hoarding disorder.

Unlike ordinary clutter or messiness, hoarding causes significant distress and impairment in daily functioning when clutter begins severely impeding normal usage of living spaces. Key areas like bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms become extremely filled with accumulated possessions, making basic tasks like cooking, sleeping, and bathing enormously difficult. Stovetops are covered in piles, beds crammed with stuff, and sinks inaccessible. Even pathways through the home become dangerously blocked by clutter.

This level of hoarding goes far beyond a lack of organization. Sufferers often have a tremendous emotional attachment to their belongings, considering each item precious and an extension of themselves. 

Parting with possessions can feel excruciatingly painful, causing severe anxiety, grief, and even panic attacks. Throwing anything away feels like a loss demanding avoidance at all costs. Humans naturally form attachments to objects, but hoarders take this instinct to harmful extremes.

If the hoarder is still in the residence, a forced or covert clean-out may backfire, exacerbating a hoarder’s acquisition urges and worsening symptoms over the long run. The clean-out process requires tremendous empathy, patience, and a carefully planned approach. With compassionate support from trained professionals, recovery is absolutely possible. If an emergency cleanout has to be done due to health and safety hazards or to abide by local authorities requests. We can help plan the process to minimize stress for you and your family.

If you have inherited the home or the hoarder has moved out, we are experts in cleaning out the property to have the property listed for sale or have contractors hired for renovations and remodeling. We understand it can be difficult, but our team is here to help you through the process.

Planning the Clean-Out

Thoughtfully planning the clean-out process is a crucial first step. Rushing haphazardly with trash bags can cause more harm than good. 

We begin by having an open conversation with the family to better understand their situation and needs. We ask about the types of possessions being collected, the state of the home, and the ultimate goal of the project. What daily activities feel impacted by the clutter? Have they had any success decluttering so far? This information will help us plan ahead for challenges during the project and  helps us create a customized clean-out plan, so we can be sure to hit your deadline.

Next, we do a walkthrough assessment of the home to evaluate the level of clutter in each room, types of items accumulated, safety hazards, and viable starting points. For example, clearing entryways and kitchen surfaces may make the biggest impact on daily functioning. We take stock of how much needs to be sorted into keep piles, donations, recycling, or waste. 

Based on the hoarder’s needs and our home observations, we devise a realistic timeline mapping out priority targets.

Maintaining Support Throughout

The clean-out process can be emotionally taxing for hoarders and their families as they work to let go of cherished possessions. We make providing continuous communication a top priority. There is no judgmental attitude – only hard work and positivity in the face of a challenge to get your project completed

Partnering With Junk Removal Experts

Attempting to clear a severely hoarded home without professional assistance can be extremely challenging and completely overwhelming. This is where enlisting the services of expert junk haulers provides huge benefits.

A trusted junk removal company will have the manpower, trucks, tools, and waste management access to efficiently clear large volumes of debris in a short timeframe. They perform all the physically strenuous work for you. Just as importantly, a qualified company can connect you with  specialists trained in sensitively handling hoarding disorder clients if the client is still living in the property.

The right junk removal partner will take time to understand your needs, be patient and non-judgemental, provide support throughout the process, and dispose of items with discretion.

At Junk Relief, our hoarding clean-out teams have over a decade of experience. We handle the clear-out process with empathy and care from start to finish. Let us put our expertise into action so you can reclaim your home’s function and comfort. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Step-By-Step Cleaning Process

Our professional team uses a comprehensive process to gently yet efficiently clear hoarded homes. Here is a step-by-step overview:

Initial Walkthrough and Onsite Estimate

We do an onsite estimate to understand the scope of clutter and debris. This allows us to assess needs, provide accurate quotes, and plan logistics. We may take measurements of room dimensions, photograph the existing clutter, and document any safety hazards needing priority removal. The walkthrough allows us to give you an idea of the clean-out plan.

Sorting & Organizing 

Working room-by-room, we sort items into “keep”, “donate”, “recycle”, and “dispose” categories and haul items away accordingly.  We will aim to leave your property broom clean and free of junk, so that the space is cleared and safe. 

We will help with some minor organization tasks, but if you need extensive organization help we can recommend professional organizers or specialists. Read our previous blog post in which you can learn more about how to sort your items in a sustainable manner.

Heavy Lifting

We do all the physical labor of carrying bagged debris and boxes to the truck. Our team members are extensively trained in safe lifting methods to avoid injury. We have dollies and carts to transport heavy items. Teamwork allows us to efficiently remove many truckloads of clutter.

Waste Removal

Truckloads of debris are hauled away for responsible recycling and disposal. We have access to licensed waste management facilities. Donations of usable items go to local charities and shelters.  Whatever the type of waste collected by the hoarder, we will be able to dispose of it.

There Is Hope

If you or a loved one suffers from hoarding disorder, it is understandable to feel hopeless and alone sometimes given the immense challenge. But please know that the situation is absolutely treatable with compassion, patience, hard work, and the right support system. 

Countless individuals have overcome chronic disorganization and clutter through dedicated recovery efforts. Their stories show it is possible to transform chaotic living conditions into peaceful, livable spaces.

While the process requires commitment and courage, the sense of relief and personal growth on the other side is immense. You do not have to tackle this alone. Support groups and online resources provide community as well. With consistent treatment, maintenance plans, and self-kindness, recovery can become a reality. There is always light ahead – let us help you reach it.


In summary, hoarding disorder requires a compassionate, tailored approach to clean-outs. Partnering with professional organizers and junk haulers trained in sensitive hoarder decluttering techniques is key. With step-by-step sorting, responsible waste disposal, ongoing maintenance, and emotional support, recovery is absolutely achievable. 

For anyone currently feeling hopeless, please know there are always alternatives to living in clutter. Supportive resources and specialists want to help you reclaim your home’s peace and function. You do not have to tackle this immense challenge alone.

If you or a loved one needs assistance beginning the hoarding clean-out process, our junk removal experts are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your needs. 

Our team has over a decade of experience sensitively guiding hoarders through safe, stress-free home transformations. Take the first step and give us a call or request an appointment on our website. With compassion and diligence, you can rediscover order and comfort again.


Joe Weidman

Joe is a Chicago native, born and raised in Elmhurst. He founded Junk Relief more than 10 years ago and has worked with more than 20,000 homeowners and businesses throughout Chicagoland. His passion for starting a business in junk removal stemmed from seeing the need to do things differently. He prides himself on his company's model to provide unexpectedly professional service.


If you’ve got junk in Chicago or the Chicagoland Suburbs, we can help. CALL US or TEXT US at (312) 800-1940.


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