Home » Blog » Hoarding Clean-Up » What You Should Know about Hoarding Clean-up: Disaster Restoration Services in Chicago

What You Should Know about Hoarding Clean-up: Disaster Restoration Services in Chicago


Earlier this spring, ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons discussed some of the primary symptoms of hoarding. It has been estimated that between five million and fourteen million people in the U.S. fit the description of a compulsive hoarder. Hoarding is a complicated disorder, with cases ranging from mild to severe. No matter the severity, the act of hoarding is emotional, and something that should not be dealt with lightly.

If a loved one, neighbor, or tenant experiences hoarding compulsions, unless you are a trained professional, you may not know how to best deal with it. It’s overwhelming!

And we get it.

That’s why we would like to answer some of your questions about hoarding and appropriate hoarding clean-up services.

Let’s review, what is hoarding?

According to Mayo Clinic: “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

Oftentimes with hoarding you will see spaces with stacks of clutter, with only narrow pathways for getting around.

Hoarding is different than collecting, because hoarding is excessive accumulation of “stuff” to the point of harmfully impacting one’s daily life.

What are the dangers of hoarding?

Hoarding presents a number of hazards to the inhabitants as well as those trying to clean-up the space, including:

  • Exposure to disease spread through animals (cats, rats, other vermin, etc.)
  • Exposure to disease spread through feces (animal and/or human)
  • Stepping on or handling sharp objects (knives, broken glass, hypodermic needles, etc.)
  • Long-term psychological stress and trauma

 How long does hoarding clean-up take?

Every hoarding situation is different and should be treated as such. Some clean-ups take only a day, while others can take as long as a week. Timing depends on how many items must be removed and hauled, and what kind of cleaning the space needs once the clutter has been cleared.

 Restoration after The Clutter is Removed

Once the space has been cleared of items, we work with you to ensure it has been thoroughly restored.

Walls, carpet and flooring, and other areas may have incurred damage as a result of bio hazard issues. We have found stains, water damage, mold, rotting floors, dead animals, feces, and a number of other grime encrusted things. If not removed or handled correctly, the damage can worsen and the space will not be safe or habitable.

Upon request, we offer full repair and reconstruction services after the initial clean-up.

The Emotional Side

Hoarding behaviors are complex and can take an enormous emotional toll on the person exhibiting the behaviors. Getting rid of items can feel like getting rid of part of yourself, making it extremely difficult for those who hoard to commit to the clean-up process.

Families and friends are also impacted, as many times people who hoard will isolate themselves from any human interaction. This can feel as though you have lost the person entirely, and many find themselves experiencing intense feelings of grief and loss.

The emotional difficulties are also present during the actual clean-up. Sometimes cleaners are the first to enter the home in many years, and that can feel invasive to those who live there. Can you imagine a stranger going through your stuff? That can be hard for anyone, even if you are not experiencing compulsions along with it.


Our professionals understand the need for respectful, sensitive, and prompt cleaning services. We are trained to do so with high quality results and will partner with you to ensure that you, your family, and other loved ones are treated with the utmost respect.

While we consider ourselves experts in hoarding clean-up, we are not experts in hoarding behaviors. If you or a loved one has symptoms of a hoarding disorder, it may be in your best interest to also consult with a doctor or mental health professional.

For a complete list of our hoarder clean-out services, check us out on our webpage. ServiceMaster Restoration by Simon provides a number of disaster restoration services in the Chicago area, and is ready for you 24/7. Contact us today for any of your restoration needs, and feel relieved that we will handle all requests with professional quality work that cares.


  • Nasutsa Mabwa

    Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.