The Essential Hoarding Clean-Up Checklist

Dealing with a hoarding situation can be overwhelming for individuals and their loved ones. Whether you’re tackling this daunting task for yourself, helping a family member, or are a professional cleaner specializing in hoarding scenarios, having a comprehensive hoarding clean-up checklist is crucial. This step-by-step guide aims to simplify the process, ensuring safety, efficiency, and respect for all involved.

Understanding Hoarding

Before diving into the cleanup process, it’s important to recognize hoarding as a complex emotional disorder that affects not only the individual but also their environment. Effective cleanup goes beyond mere decluttering; it requires a compassionate understanding of the person’s attachments to their possessions.

Hoarding Clean-Up Checklist

Preparation Stage

  1. Assess the Situation: Carefully evaluate the extent of the hoard to plan the necessary resources and time allocation.
  2. Set Realistic Goals: Establish clear, achievable objectives for each cleanup phase.
  3. Gather Supplies: Ensure you have gloves, masks, garbage bags, cleaning products, and pest control materials if necessary.
  4. Arrange for Dumpster Rental: For extensive cleanups, having a dumpster on-site is essential for efficient waste disposal.
  5. Secure Support Services: Consider hiring professionals for deep cleaning, pest control, and repairs as needed.
  6. Ensure Safety: Assess the home for structural damage or biohazards. In severe cases, professional evaluation may be necessary before cleanup begins.

Cleanup Process

  1. Start with a Small Area: Choose a contained area to begin the cleanup. Success in a small area can motivate further efforts.
  2. Sort Items into Categories: Create designated areas for items to keep, donate, recycle, and discard.
  3. First Pass – Trash Removal: Focus on removing obvious trash and items that are broken, expired, or otherwise unusable.
  4. Deep Cleaning: Once a section is decluttered, perform a deep clean before moving to the next area.
  5. Organize and Declutter: Work through the remaining items, deciding what to keep and what to part with. Use the one-year rule: if it hasn’t been used in the past year, it’s likely not needed.
  6. Pest Control: Address any signs of pests or infestations immediately to prevent further damage or health hazards.
  7. Repairs and Maintenance: Tackle any necessary repairs to the home’s structure, plumbing, electrical systems, etc.


  1. Continued Support: Encourage ongoing mental health support for individuals struggling with hoarding behavior.
  2. Maintenance Plan: Develop a straightforward, manageable plan for the individual to keep their space clean and organized.
  3. Follow-Up: Schedule follow-up visits or check-ins to provide continued encouragement and support.

Tips for a Successful Cleanup

  • Be Patient and Compassionate: Understand that each item might hold significant emotional value to the hoarder.
  • Stay Safe: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment and be cautious of hazards.
  • Keep the End Goal in Mind: Focus on the benefits of a clean, safe living environment.
  • Celebrate Small Victories: Acknowledge progress, no matter how minor, to provide motivation.

Final Thoughts on Our Hoarding Cleanup Checklist

A hoarding cleanup is a challenging but ultimately rewarding process. This checklist provides a roadmap to navigate the complexities of decluttering, cleaning, and restoring a hoarder’s home to a safe and livable condition. Remember, the journey is not just about cleaning up; it’s about offering support and understanding to those in need.

Contact us today if you need hoarding cleanup professionals to help you or a loved one in the Niagara region or GTA.

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Carmine Mastropierro

Carmine is a life-long Niagara Falls resident, marketing expert, and the Co-Founder of Contractors Niagara.

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