Identifying Hoarding & How Professionals Can Help In These Situations

Identifying Hoarding & How Professionals Can Help In These Situations

Hoarding disorder is a condition marked by the persistent difficulty of getting rid of or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. People with hoarding excessively save items and often experience distress at the thought of discarding them. The result is usually a cluttered living space that impairs basic activities like cooking, cleaning, and sleeping.


While most of us can relate to holding on to sentimental items or being a bit of a packrat, the behavior is much more severe for people with hoarding. It can have a significant impact on their quality of life. If you or someone you know may be struggling with hoarding, it is crucial to seek professional help. With treatment, people with hoarding can learn to manage their symptoms and live a more clutter-free life.


Let's explore the common symptoms of hoarding disorder, the risk factors associated with this condition, how a hoarder's house can become a hazardous place to be around, and what to do if a family member or loved one is struggling with it. If you need help, remember Bio-One is always available to address hoarding scenarios with a caring and compassionate team of specialists.

Image shows a cluttered living room. It's impossible to walk through the clutter.

Hoarding Disorder: What It Is, How To Identify It, and What To Do About It


Hoarding is a pattern of behavior characterized by the excessive accumulation of items, even if those items are of little or no value. People with hoarding often struggle to get rid of things, even if they're useless. The inability to throw away possessions typically results in cluttered living spaces and significant distress.

Image shows different angle of the same cluttered living room.

Hoarding was finally recognized as a mental health condition in 2013, and it's estimated that up to 6% of the population may be affected by it. While hoarding can develop at any age, it's more common in older adults.


If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone you know, it's essential to seek professional help. Compulsive hoarding can significantly impact the quality of life, and it's often associated with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

How To Identify Hoarding Situations


Hoarding is a complex condition to identify because it often starts gradually and can be easily hidden from view. Family and friends may not notice the signs of hoarding until the situation has reached a critical point. If you are concerned that someone you know may be hoarding, look for these common indicators:


  • There are an excessive number of possessions, often to the point where rooms are cluttered and unusable. Possessions may go from old magazines and empty boxes to food, clothing, and even animals.

  • Hoarders demonstrate inability or unwillingness to throw away possessions, even those no longer needed or used.

  • Hoarders resist letting others enter the property due to embarrassment or fear of judgment.

  • Hoarders have an obsession with acquiring new items, even if they are not needed.

If you suspect that someone you know is hoarding, reach out to them and offer your support. Help them understand that hoarding is a delicate situation that can be treated and that you are there to help them through it. If the person is resistant to getting help, you may need to contact hoarder cleaning services like Bio-One to help get the situation under control. 


Bio-One specializes in hoarding cleaning and can help restore the property to safe living conditions.

Image shows a cluttered kitchen room. Kitchen counters are packed with trash and debris.

Risk Factors Associated With Hoarding


Several factors may contribute to the development of hoarding tendencies, including:


Genetic factors


Hoarding is more common in people who have relatives with the condition—suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition.


Brain function


People with hoarding may differ in how their brains process and store information, making it difficult for them to make decisions and let go of things.

Image shows a different view of a cluttered living room. Trash bags are scattered around the area.

Psychological factors


Hoarding is often associated with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. These conditions may contribute to the development of hoarding, but they are not the same. Mental health professionals praised the recognition of hoarding as its own mental health condition because it allowed them to have a more solid ground on the state and the methods used to identify and treat it.


Environmental factors


People who have experienced trauma or significant life stressors, such as the death of a loved one, might be more likely to develop hoarding tendencies.


If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with hoarding, reach out to a mental health professional for help. Hoarding is an actual medical condition that can be treated with the right support.


The Impact of Hoarding on Quality of Life


Hoarding can significantly impact the quality of life of those affected by the condition. The physical and mental clutter associated with hoarding makes it challenging to navigate the home, causing everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and even sleeping difficult or impossible. In addition, the emotional stress of living in a cluttered and chaotic environment can take a toll on one's mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and even social isolation.


A hoarder's house can also pose a severe safety risk. Pest infestations may be present clutter can increase the risk of falls and other accidents. In severe cases, piles of the trash usually block main hallways and exits, making it difficult to escape in the event of a fire or another emergency.

Image shows a messy room. Empty boxes, books and trash are piled up around.

Why professional help is essential for people with HD


Hoarding disorder is a serious mental illness that can cause significant distress and disruption to a person's life. Many people with hoarding struggle with chronic disorganization and often end up living in highly cluttered and dangerous environments.


Professional help is essential for people with hoarding, as they will be able to provide expert advice and support on how to declutter and clean up your home. They will also be able to offer guidance on how to prevent the disorder from becoming worse and can help you to develop healthy coping strategies.


If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding, the first step to recovery and moving forward to a better, healthier lifestyle is receiving help from professionals.

Image shows a cluttered closet area. It's impossible to go inside the room because of the piles of clothing and debris.

Diagnosing Hoarding: The Importance of Mental Health Professionals


There are a few different ways to be diagnosed with hoarding disorder. The first is through a clinical interview, which will help assess whether the person meets the criteria for the condition. Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists, can perform these assessments.


The second way is through self-report measures, which ask the person questions about their hoarding behaviors. The third way is through observation, which a family member or friend can do.

Finally, some people may be diagnosed with hoarding after coming into contact with a professional who provides hoarding cleaning or decluttering services.


If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be dealing with hoarding, it might be difficult to find professional help, as most hoarders are not willing or conscious of the hoarding problem in their house. There are treatments available that can help people manage their condition and live more normal lives.

Image shows Bio-One technicians attempting to enter a severely cluttered room.

Treating Hoarding: Know There Is a Way Out


There are a few different ways to approach hoarding treatment. The most important thing is to work with a professional who understands the condition and creates a personalized plan.


One approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps people change their thinking and behavior patterns around hoarding. This can be done in individual or group settings.


Another standard treatment is medication. Some people with hoarding may benefit from taking antidepressants or other medicines. These can help improve mood and ease anxiety, making it easier to address the hoarding behaviors.


In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Hospitalization is typically done voluntarily, but in some cases, involuntary hospitalization may be needed if the person is a danger to themselves or others. Treatment is often a long process, but with the right help, it is possible to make progress.

Image shows a severely cluttered kitchen room. Piles of rotten food and empty boxes reach the ceiling.

How Professional Cleanup Companies Can Help in Hoarding Situations


When it comes to a hoarder's home, the mess is only part of the problem. The real danger is the potential for fire, health hazards, and even structural damage. It's important to know that you're not alone. Bio-One's hoarding cleaning service specializes in helping people clean up and restore their homes after a hoarder has taken over.


Bio-One is a national leader in biohazard remediation and cleaning services. We have the experience and expertise to handle even the most extreme hoarding cases, and we can help you get your home back to a safe and livable condition.


If you're dealing with a hoarding situation, here are a few ways that Bio-One can help:

Image shows Bio-One technician entering a severely cluttered kitchen room where piles of rotten food and empty boxes reach the ceiling.

We can assess the situation and develop a customized cleanup plan


Every hoarding situation is different, so it's essential to have a professional assessment to develop the best possible cleanup plan. At Bio-One, we have years of experience dealing with hoarding cases, and we will work to create a program made for the victim's specific needs.


Bio-One's restoration technicians have all the hand tools and cleaning supplies to decontaminate and disinfect hoarders' homes.

We understand that this can be an emotionally draining process, which is why we focus on establishing trust while making sure the house is properly taken care of.



We can help you restore houses and properties to a safe and livable condition


Once the clutter and debris have been removed, Bio-One can help you restore your home to safe living conditions. We will assist you with any necessary repairs from the damage that has been done, and we will also help you put systems in place to prevent future hoarding.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution to hoarding, but with the help of professional cleaners like Bio-One, it is possible effectively clean hoarding from the house or property. If you or someone you know is dealing with a hoarding situation, don't hesitate to contact Bio-One for help.

Image shows Bio-One technician cleaning up a hoarded bedroom.



Bio-One of Pittsburgh is always ready to address problems that result from unforeseen circumstances, such as death and critical injury. Our certified technicians are always prepared to help you deal with extreme situations that may be emotionally and physically taxing, allowing you to concentrate on other essential tasks to begin the healing process in a clean environment.

Image shows a cluttered kitchen. Empty cans and trash are piled up in the kitchen counters.

Locally owned and operated, we provide:


Professional cleaning, disinfection, and decontamination services


  • Crime scene cleaning services

  • Blood and bodily fluids cleaning  services

  • Suicide cleaning services

  • Homicide cleaning services

  • Unattended death cleaning services

  • Biohazard cleanup services

  • Feces and bodily fluids cleaning services

  • Odor removal services

  • Virus Disinfection services

  • Fentanyl cleanup services

  • Emergency vehicle decontamination services

  • Sewage backup cleanup services

  • Medical Waste disposal services


Hoarding cleanup services


  • Hoarding cleanup

  • Animal hoarding cleanup

  • Junk removal

  • Deep cleanup

  • Gross filth cleanup

  • Hazardous waste removal

  • Homeless encampment cleanup



Bio-One works closely with victim support centers nationwide and local authorities, communities, emergency services personnel, hoarding task forces, apartment communities, insurance companies, and other organizations to accomplish each customer the most efficient and superior service possible. 


There may be several biohazard cleanup companies facing unexpected, unfortunate life events. Still, Bio-One is the right choice because of our expertise and profoundly caring and discreet specialists.

Image shows Bio-One technicians cleaning up a hoarded bedroom.

We are proud members of the NAPO Pittsburgh - National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals




Bio-One of Pittsburgh serves the following Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny County, Washington County, Beaver County, Butler County, Armstrong County, Westmoreland County, Lawrence County, Greene County, Fayette County, and Mercer County.

Image shows multiple plastic trash bags packed by Bio-One technicians, ready for disposal.

We also serve the following cities and surrounding communities: Allison Park, Aspinwall, Avalon, Bairdford, Bakerstown, Baldwin, Bellevue, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Bethel Park, Blawnox, Boston, Brackenridge, Braddock, Braddock Hills, Bradford Woods, Brentwood, Buena Vista, Bunola, Carnegie, Castle Shannon, Cheswick, Churchill, Clairton, Coulter, Crafton, Creighton, Crescent, Cuddy Curtisville, Dormont, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East Mc Keesport, East Mckeesport, East Pittsburgh, Elizabeth, Emsworth, Etna, Forest Hills, Fox Chapel, Glassport, Glenshawock, Harwick, Heidelberg, Homestead, Homewood, Indianola, Ingomar, Ingram, Jefferson Hills, Leetsdale, McKees Rocks, Millvale, Monroeville, Morgan, Mount Oliver, Munhall, Natrona Heights, Noblestown, Oakdale, Oakland, Oakland (borough), Oakmont, Pitcairn, Pleasant Hills, Plum, Port Vue, Presto, Rankin, Rennerdale, Rural Ridge, Russellton, Sharpsburg, South Park, Springdale, Sturgeon, Swissvale, Tarentum, Turtle Creek, Verona, Wall, Warrendale, West Elizabeth, West Homestead, West Mifflin, West View, Wexford, Whitaker, Wildwood, Wilkinsburg, and Wilmerding!

Our hoarding cleanup specialists are available 24/7/365 to help you in your most significant moment of need. Contact us at 412-414-3101.

Published by:

Rafael Alemán.